August 30, 2017 Articles

Confirming Arbitration Awards Made Abroad

The Second Circuit clears up the confusion under the New York Convention

by Stuart M. Riback

Most litigators are quite familiar with the procedure for confirming an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Basically, it involves seeking a confirmation order under section 9 of the FAA. Once the award is confirmed, it has been reduced to judgment and can be enforced in American courts just like any other judgment. This process is in many ways old hat.

Where the arbitration took place in a foreign country, though, section 9 of the FAA does not apply; Chapter 2 of the FAA does. Con­gress passed Chapter 2 of the FAA in 1970 to implement the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention). In a nutshell (and in simple terms), under Article III of the New York Convention, a signatory state will accord to foreign arbitrations at least the same respect it accords to domestic arbitrations. Before the conven­tion, a party to an arbitration could confirm it in a foreign country only if he or she first confirmed it in the country that was the "seat" of the arbitration. The convention eliminated that "two confirmations" requirement: Arbitrations now can be con­firmed in any signatory country.

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