Supreme Court of Pakistan, 17 August 2021, Civil Appeal No.1547 of 2019
(Orient Power Company (Private) Limited v. Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited)
The Supreme Court, hearing an appeal against a lower court's decision to enforce an LCIA award, regretted that in a commercially fast paced world, Pakistan had signed the UNCITRAL Model Law but had not yet incorporated its provisions into its domestic law. On the merits of the application, the Court agreed with the finding that the arbitration clause in a contract between the parties was applicable to disputes arising under another contract between them, because the two contracts were connected and interdependent, and that the arbitral tribunal had been empowered to decide on its own jurisdiction under the principle of competence-competence. The Supreme Court dismissed the contention that enforcement would violate public policy because the award amounted to unjust enrichment, holding that the opposing party failed to make out its claim. The Court stressed in this respect that the public policy exception in Art. V(2)(b) of the New York Convention acted as a safeguard of fundamental notions of morality and justice, and was never meant to be given a wide scope of application or become a back door to review the merits of a foreign arbitral award or to create grounds which were not available under Art. V of the Convention.