Author: Tietie Zhang*
Published: November 2017
Public Policy Favoring Arbitration
Jurisdiction and Powers of the Courts in Matters of Arbitration Generally
Public Policy is a very important, albeit highly controversial, issue for the enforcement of international arbitration awards. According to Article V.2(b) of the United Nations Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention), a national court may refuse to recognize and enforce a foreign arbitration award if the court finds that doing so would be contrary to the public policy of the court’s country. The UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the Model Law) contains a very similar provision. There is, however, no clear definition on what public policy means under the New York Convention, nor does there exist a universally accepted definition of public policy among the world’s jurisdictions. This is largely because public policy essentially relates to the fundamental legal and moral policies of the country where recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitration award is sought, and, not surprisingly, each country is in a unique situation from that perspective.
*Tietie “Frank” Zhang is a Lecturer in Corporate and Commercial Law at the University of Sheffield School of Law. The author wishes to thank Professor John J. Barceló III, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law at Cornell Law School, and Professor Tamara Hervey, Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law at the University of Sheffield School of Law, for reading early drafts of this article and sharing their insightful advice.