France, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Court annuls billion-dollar award, finding Crimea investment was made before BIT applied
  • France
  • 27 May 2021

The Paris Court of Appeal has set aside an award against Russia for the expropriation of the Crimean branch of Ukrainian state-owned bank Oschadbank. The court held that the bank had made its investment in Crimea before the Ukraine-Russia Bilateral Investment Treaty's 1992 time limit and that, as such, the tribunal lacked temporal jurisdiction. As Oschadbank intends to appeal, the Court of Cassation will have to decide whether the decision adds a condition to jurisdiction that is absent from the treaty.

Court of Cassation finds that a BIT's limitation period relates to admissibility, not jurisdiction
  • France
  • 06 May 2021

France's top court has reinstated an arbitration award rendered in investment treaty proceedings between a Canadian gold miner and Venezuela. The Court of Cassation accepted the argument that the limitation period for bringing a claim under the Canada-Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty was a question of admissibility and not of the tribunal's jurisdiction to hear the dispute. The decision has sent a signal that a narrow view of jurisdiction should be adopted when reviewing investment arbitration awards.

Paris Court of Appeal maintains pro-arbitration stance by upholding ICC award
  • France
  • 29 April 2021

The Paris Court of Appeal recently confirmed its longstanding pro-arbitration stance by upholding a $646 million award against a company owned by an Angolan billionaire. In dismissing the application to set aside the award, the court accepted the legitimacy of a five-member tribunal appointed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court and dismissed allegations of bias against two arbitrators. This is understood to be the first time in the ICC's history that a tribunal was composed of five arbitrators.

Surviving COVID-19: arbitrations involving insolvent companies
  • France
  • 01 April 2021

Although the COVID-19 pandemic's full impact on the world economy remains unclear, a global surge in insolvency is expected in 2021 and 2022. A party's insolvency can affect pending and future arbitrations, which will generally depend on whether the insolvency occurs before, during or after the arbitration. However, early comprehension of certain basic factors might mitigate future risks ensuing from a counterparty's insolvency.

Parties to set-aside proceedings can rely on new arguments that they failed to raise before arbitral tribunal
  • France
  • 18 March 2021

The Court of Cassation recently issued its decision in the ongoing Schooner saga, agreeing with the applicants that the Court of Appeal violated the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) by preventing them from raising jurisdictional arguments in annulment proceedings. This appears to be the first time that the Court of Cassation has explicitly held that Article 1466 of the CCP does not prevent parties from raising new jurisdictional arguments at the annulment stage.


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