Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method and involves an impartial third party, the arbitrator (or in some cases arbitrators), providing a determination on the merits of a commercial dispute. Such determination is called an arbitral award which is binding on all parties involved in the arbitration proceedings. Indeed, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) rules state that “All awards shall be made in writing and shall be final and binding on the parties”.
Click on this link to read our previous article on how arbitration can help you take control of your commercial dispute and take advantage of the confidentiality and efficiency of arbitral proceedings, especially in terms of time and cost
As arbitral awards are final and binding, they do not need to be adopted or enforced by a traditional court nor converted into a judgment. Moreso, while a court judgment may find its enforceability restricted to the jurisdiction or authority of the court in which it was held, an arbitral award may be upheld internationally by virtue of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) which was prepared by the United Nations Conference on International Commercial Arbitration. Boasting 172 contracting states as at date, the New York Convention provides for recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, i.e., arbitral awards made in the territory of another contracting state. Therefore, in contrast to a court judgment, the arbitral award provided in one contracting state may be used in all the other contracting states without the need for re-trial, re-interpretation, or re-enforcement.
In a similar vein to most contracting states of the New York Convention, The Republic of Mauritius has given force of law to the entire provisions of the Convention, thus positioning itself as an ideal seat of international arbitration. Mauritius provides a well needed boost and an excellent platform for arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution in general, within the African region with its strategic geographical location, enhanced accessibility, professional bilingualism (English and French), high skilled legal workforce and ease of doing business (continuously ranked first in Africa). Moreso, the arbitration law in Mauritius (The International Arbitration Act 2008) is largely based on the UNCITRAL Model Law thus providing an internationally recognized set of laws which offers a higher level of certainty to parties choosing the island as the seat of their arbitration.
Choosing Mauritius as the seat of your arbitration and Centurion Law Group to assist you through your arbitration proceedings also alleviates the most recurring concern surrounding an arbitral award: “Can it be overruled or invalidated by a court of law?”. While arbitral awards do not require court enforcement, they could, in limited circumstances, be invalidated by a court where it can be shown that the award constitutes a violation of public policy or a violation of a party’s right to be heard, or that the arbitration proceedings were not conducted in a proper manner and without bias. While the recourse for invalidating an arbitral award is extremely narrow, Centurion Law Group offers just the right level of competency, skills, and legal advice to ensure that arbitration proceedings are carried out in strict compliance with the seat’s arbitration laws and internationally recognized standards and procedures.
Author: Ashiv Parianen, ACIArb
Senior Legal Advisor at Centurion Law Group