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Arbitration is a legal dispute resolution process where the parties to a conflict / dispute settle their matter outside the Courts based on a mutual agreement, called the arbitration agreement between the parties. (Usually, the contract between the parties has an arbitration clause) This technique or process is over looked by one or more persons who is duly and mutually appointed by the parties. The arbitrator(s) adjudicate or arbitrate upon the matter at hand and come up with an order and decision that is mutually binding upon the parties. Benefits of resorting to this dispute resolution process is that it is consensual, unbiased, binding, faster, enforceable and less expensive.

International arbitration is nothing but an instrument to conduct the same process as above but keeping in mind the global trade scenario. International arbitration facilitates the settlement of any matter the parties of which are international, for example, if company ‘A’ from India gets in a service contract with company ‘B’ from the United States, then any dispute as to the service contract (condition to it having an arbitration clause) will be settled in an international arbitration center to which both the companies mutually agree to or have agreed to in the contract itself. International arbitration helps parties from various jurisdictional backgrounds to come to an international forum and get their dispute resolved based on their own commonly agreed procedure. This procedure or rules that govern the arbitration is based on the considerations of law governing the contract, the place of arbitration, the number of arbitrators, and the language of arbitration.

International Arbitration Rules:

International arbitration agreements itself dictate the rules, however these rules are governed usually by the arbitrating institution. Some examples of such institutions are:

  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC);
  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA);
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC);
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC);
  • World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID);
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL);
  • Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC).
  • International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association (ICDR);

Enforceability of International Arbitration Awards:

International Arbitration Awards or foreign awards in India can be enforced through two channels, the New York Convention and the Geneva Convention. The New York Convention has been in force since the year 1959 and any international arbitration award can be enforced in the countries that are member to the treaty. The treaty has 161 States that are party to it, which is more than 3/4th of the countries recognized by the United Nations. This makes the reach of enforcement of arbitration awards really vast. The provisions pertaining to enforcement of foreign awards under the New York Convention are enshrined under Sections 44 to 52 of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015. Similarly, the provisions pertaining to enforcement of a foreign award under the Geneva Convention are enshrined under Sections 53 to 60 of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015.

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