Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards: Observations on the Efficiency of the Current System and the Gradual Development of Alternative Means of Enforcement* – Vol. 19 No. 3-4

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Author: Stavros Brekoulakis**

Published: December 2009

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
New York Convention



A. Scope of this Article

It was May 1958 when Professor Sanders inspiringly drafted within a weekend the famous “Dutch proposal” on a small portable typewriter at the house of his father-in-law in a suburb of New York. This proposal was presented the following Monday to the United Nations Conference on International Commercial Arbitration, and it provided the basis for the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”), signed in New York on June 10, 1958.

Not even Professor Sanders at that time could have foreseen that fifty years later the New York Convention would have attracted 144 signatory states and that it would become one of the most successful and celebrated conventions in the history of international law.

The New York Convention has never ceased to fascinate the arbitration community and it still remains at the epicenter of the discussion concerning the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Its strong academic appeal was evidenced by the numerous events, seminars and conferences dedicated to it in 2008, the year of its 50th anniversary.

It was within this festive context that the School of International Arbitration (“SIA”) of Queen Mary University of London conducted its second empirical survey, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, on International Arbitration – Corporate Attitudes and Practices, this time focusing on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards and Settlement in International Arbitration (the “Survey”).

The Survey canvasses the attitudes and practices of corporations with regard to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, focusing more on the effectiveness of the actual enforcement system of arbitral awards than on the New York Convention as such. Thus, it is essential at the outset to distinguish between the enforcement framework set out in the New York Convention, and the actual enforcement or execution system of arbitral awards determined by national legislation.

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*Special Section on the 2008 Survey on Corporate Attitudes Towards Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitral Awards
**LLB, LLM, PhD, Advocate, Lecturer in International Dispute Resolution, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. I would like to thank Professor Loukas Mistelis who critically read an early version of this paper. Many of his comments have been incorporated here.