Opposing Confirmation of International Arbitration Awards: Is it Worth the Sanctions?* – Vol. 17 No. 1

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Author: J.P. Duffy**

Published: October 2007

United States
Sources of Arbitration Law
Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration
New York Convention

Description: In B.L. Harbert International LLC v. Hercules Steel Co., (“B.L. Harbert”), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently ruled that parties appealing decisions that confirm arbitral awards can be sanctioned for undermining the twin aims of arbitration: (1) relieving congestion in the federal judicial system; and (2) providing a speedier and more economical method of dispute resolution. While B.L. Harbert involved a domestic award challenged on grounds that it was rendered in manifest disregard of the law, the decision has clear implications for international awards challenged within the Eleventh Circuit, as well as for international awards challenged on manifest disregard grounds in other federal circuits. This article examines those implications. First, this article considers how the B.L. Harbert decision impacts challenges to awards subject to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“New York Convention”) and the Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration (“Panama Convention”) in the Eleventh Circuit. Second, this article considers the impact that B.L. Harbert might have outside the Eleventh Circuit in those federal circuits that permit parties to challenge international awards on manifest disregard grounds. Such a review is important, because B.L. Harbert may, rightly or wrongly, provide an avenue for limiting manifest disregard challenges in those federal circuits.

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*Arbitral and Judicial Decisions
**Litigation associate, DLA Piper US LLP, New York offices. The author has participated in international arbitrations conducted under the ICC, ICDR, ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules and specializes in investment disputes, with a particular focus on the power and energy industries.