Enforcement of International Arbitral Awards: Res Judicata, Issue Estoppel, and Abuse of Process in a Transnational Context
33 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2018 Last revised: 22 Nov 2018
Date Written: June 12, 2018
Beyond the effect of a judgment of the court of the seat setting aside the award, the relationship between a challenge of the award at the seat and enforcement under Article V of the New York Convention is unclear, as is the relationship between two or more sets of enforcement proceedings in different jurisdictions. The Article explores whether a judgment rejecting a challenge of the award at the seat of the arbitration or granting or refusing enforcement gives rise to an estoppel in further enforcement proceedings. An estoppel would preclude the party opposing enforcement from relitigating issues that have been decided in the previous judgment as well as issues that could have been raised, and ultimately decided, in the previous proceedings. Furthermore, this Article examines whether a party who does not challenge an arbitral award at the seat of the arbitration or does not oppose an application for enforcement of the award can raise, in further enforcement proceedings, a defense that could have been a ground for challenging the award at the seat or opposing its enforcement in previous proceedings. Broadly, the answer to these questions has been that a judgment rejecting a challenge of the award at the seat or granting or refusing its enforcement does not prevent the unsuccessful party from opposing the enforcement of the award in a foreign country and that the unsuccessful party can elect whether to challenge the award at the seat or to wait and raise any ground of invalidity of the award in enforcement proceedings. The Article challenges this general assumption and demonstrates how the doctrines of issue estoppel and abuse of process may prevent a party from opposing enforcement on grounds that have been, or could have been, raised at the seat of the arbitration or in previous enforcement proceedings. Consistency and finality are well served by a structured and predictable application of these doctrines on a transnational basis.
Keywords: arbitration, arbitral awards, enforcement, New York Convention, res judicata, issue estoppel, abuse of process
JEL Classification: K12, K33, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation