Fiat S.p.A. v. The Ministry of Finance and Planning of the Republic of Suriname: Reaffirming the Policy of Limited But Effective Judicial Review of International Commercial Arbitration in the United States* – Vol. 1 No. 3

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Authors: Joseph T. McGlaughlin**, Henry Weisburg***, Joseph Haggerty**** and John P. Groarke*****

Published: October 1990

Description:¬†Arbitration in the United States is an increasingly favored alternative to litigation as a means of resolving international commercial disputes. Parties to a U.S. arbitration may benefit from the cost, time, and other efficiencies commonly associated with arbitration and from due process protections afforded by United States courts. Nevertheless, there has been some reluctance in the international business community to designate the United States as a forum for arbitration out of concern that judicial confirmation of an arbitral award entails excessive litigation time and expense. The recent decision in Fiat S.p.A. v. The Ministry of Finance and Planning of the Republic of Suriname demonstrates that this perceived tension between the efficiency of the arbitral process and the feared delay and intrusiveness of judicial review is unwarranted. The decision underscores a uniformly pro-enforcement policy articulated by U.S. courts, which generally do not permit in arbitration the intrusive discovery and motion practice so often associated with litigation in the United States. Indeed, the scope of judicial review of arbitral awards has been narrowly confined by statute and case law to the parameters set forth in the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“New York Convention” or “Convention”) and the United States Arbitration Act (“Arbitration Act”).

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*Arbitral & Judicial Decisions
**Head of Litigation Department, Shearman & Sterling. Mr. McLaughlin specialises in international dispute resolution.
***Partner, Shearman & Sterling. Mr. Weisburg’s practice includes international arbitration.
****Associate, Sherman & Sterling.
*****Associate, Shearman & Sterling.