Attachment of Debts Owed to Sovereigns - Chapter 8 - Enforcement of Arbitral Awards Against Sovereigns
Dana H. Freyer, Partner, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Originally from Enforcement of Arbitral Awards Against Sovereigns
I. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS IN ATTACHING SOVEREIGN ASSETS
When seeking to enforce an arbitration award against a sovereign a threshold task is to identify which types of sovereign assets are subject to execution in the jurisdictions where enforcement will be sought. Whether or not a specific asset is immune from execution is a highly fact-intensive inquiry that varies across jurisdictions and may turn on a number of factors, including (i) the purpose for which the asset is used or is intended to be used at the time of execution (i.e., for commercial or governmental purposes); (ii) whether a waiver of immunity exists; (iii) the location of the asset and the entity holding the asset; (iv) whether an asset held by an instrumentality of the sovereign may be attached; and (v) the burden presented by the requisite procedures for attaching the asset. This chapter analyzes these factors with respect to one particular asset—debts owed by a third party to a state or to an instrumentality of the state.
II. ATTACHMENT OF DEBTS IN SPECIFIC JURISDICTIONS
Judgment creditors typically seek to attach debts owed to a sovereign when directly held sovereign assets are lacking or not subject to attachment. The type of debts owed to sovereigns that are subject to attachment and the circumstances under which they may be attached vary among jurisdictions. This chapter provides an overview of the approaches taken to this issue in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland.