23 - 03 - 2010


Yearbook Yearbook Commercial Arbitration, A.J. van den Berg (ed.), Vol. XXXV (2010)
Jurisdiction United States

US 696. United States District Court, District of Columbia, 23 March 2010

Related topics

The court discusses which awards are considered non-domestic even if rendered in the State of enforcement (international element, lex mercatoria).

Arbitral award not considered as domestic (paragraph 1)

The court discusses the impact of the nationality of the parties on the application of the Convention. 

Nationality of the parties no criterion

The court discusses whether the Convention applies to domestic arbitration and to proceedings for the setting aside of domestic awards. 

Convention's applicability in other cases

The court discusses issues relating to the quality of the parties, as physical or legal persons against whom enforcement of an arbitral award is sought, including the incapacity of a State to enter into an arbitration agreement, and questions relating to sovereign immunity. For the related defenses to enforcement, see Art. V(1)(a).

"Persons, whether physical or legal" (paragraph 1) (including sovereign immunity)

The court discusses the principle that the procedure for the enforcement of awards under the Convention is governed by the lex fori, as well as procedural issues (such as the competent enforcement court) not falling under the specific cases of ¶¶ 302-307.

Procedure for enforcement in general

The court discusses the overall scheme and/or pro-enforcement bias of the Convention.

Grounds for refusal of enforcement in general

Award not binding, suspended or set aside: The court discusses the difference between the exclusive jurisdiction to set aside an award (primary jurisdiction), which belongs to the courts of the country of origin of the award, and the jurisdiction of all other courts to recognize and enforce the award (secondary jurisdiction); issues relating to the determination of the “competent authority”; and whether an award that has been set aside in the country of origin can be enforced in another State under the Convention.

"Set aside"

Award not binding, suspended or set aside: The court discusses the meaning of an award having been “suspended” in the country of origin, including when the award has been suspended by operation of law rather than by a court decision.


The court discusses the conditions for granting adjournment of a proceeding relating to the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award, and the court’s discretionary power to do so, as well the determination of “suitable security” and the power to request it.

Adjournment of decision on enforcement