Sojuznefteexport v. JOC Oil Ltd.: A Recent Development in Theory of the Separability of the Arbitration Clause* – Vol. 1 No. 1

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AuthorJonathan S. Sanoff**

Published: March 1990

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
New York Convention

Description: In early November 1989, in a small town near Dusseldorf, a confidential settlement was reached between prominent international oil trader John Deuss and the head of the Soviet oil export monopoly, ending the twelve-year litigation of Sojuznefteexport v. JOC Oil Ltd. Besides the U.S. $200 million at stake, the case resolved interesting questions of the separability of the arbitration clause under Soviet law and of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. It was exhaustively litigated by two eminent teams of counsel and expert witnesses, and, but for the settlement, would ultimately have been decided on appeal to the British Privy Council. The case turned on the significance of the fact that a purported contract had been signed by one representative of SNE, instead of two. This article reviews the Bermudian decisions — which exceeded three hundred pages — on the enforcement of the Soviet arbitration award in SNE v. JOC.

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*Current Developments
**J.D., L.L.M. Formerly Associate General Counsel, Transworld Oil Group and, as such, adviser to JOC Oil Ltd, Currently in the litigation department of Whitman & Ransom. Member of the New York Bar.