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ADR: endorsement of arbitral awards

Print publication

29/11/2013

The parties to Primera Maritime (Hellas) Ltd & Others v Jiangsu Eastern Heavy Industry Co Ltd [1] had sought to resolve their shipbuilding contract dispute at an arbitral tribunal. The tribunal found in favour of the defendants and, unhappy, the claimants mounted a court challenge under section 68 (2) (d) of the Arbitration Act 1996 arguing that the tribunal had failed to consider all the issues.

Rejecting the challenge, the High Court clarified that section 68 requires an applicant to demonstrate a serious irregularity (of the type exhaustively listed in that section) which has caused or will cause substantial injustice and it emphasised that the section is only to cover “extreme cases where the tribunal has gone so wrong in its conduct of the arbitration that justice calls out for it to be corrected” [2].

The court emphasised that the section should not be invoked where a party’s real complaint is simply that they consider that the tribunal reached the wrong result. The case is an endorsement of the validity and durability of arbitral awards and a clear indication that the courts will not allow themselves to be used as a second bite of the cherry for unmeritorious claims.

[1] [2013] EWHC 3066 (Comm)
[2] paragraph 6

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