In a major decision, an arbitral tribunal in the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") has issued a ruling on the liability of YPF, the state-controlled energy company of Argentina, for its role in the suspension of natural gas exports to Brazil. The claim that YPF unlawfully rescinded its contracts was brought forward by AES Uruguaiana and by Transportadora de Gas del Mercosur in 2009. They are reportedly seeking $1.6 billion dollars in compensation. YPF is controlled by the Argentinian government following its nationalization last year - another dispute that is currently also in arbitration.
Alternative dispute resolution is rightly gaining steam as an efficient, fair mechanism for the resolution of complex business disputes. Many companies are redrafting their standard-form contracts to include mandatory arbitration clauses. This is particularly true for companies doing business across state or national borders, so that they might avoid being hauled into court in a foreign jurisdiction. But what if you agree to arbitrate a dispute and end up losing? Do you have any recourse?
Over the last eight months, the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary, University of London conducted a comprehensive and wide-ranging survey on issues germane to international arbitration - particularly on current and preferred practices in the field. The results of this study unsurprisingly point towards a great preference for autonomy and flexibility international arbitration.