Richard j howarth I. Introduction

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1958 New York Convention

The stated objectives of the United Nations sponsored140 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) were to 'unify the laws regarding the enforcement of awards and to enhance the procedure for enforcement'.141 Although drafted in 1958, ratification did not proceed in earnest until the 1970s. Now ratified by 134 countries,142 the New York Convention 'has done more than any other development to promote and establish the international effectiveness and character of arbitration'.143 Applying to awards made in a foreign Contracting State, 'a Contracting State must recognise and enforce such awards unless there is ground for refusal as provided in Article V of the Convention'.144 Such grounds may include an award not being binding upon the parties, or which has been set aside by a competent authority of the country in which or under the law of which it is made. However the 'mere fact that the arbitrator has relied on the Lex Mercatoria to decide the substance of the dispute is not one of the reasons for refusal listed in the article'.145 Accordingly, the New York Convention was relied upon in the English Court of Appeal (CA) when enforcing a Swiss arbitral award, where under ICC Arbitration Rules146 the 'arbitrators determined that the proper law governing the substantive obligations of the parties was "internationally accepted principles of law governing contractual relations".'147

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