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State immunity in arbitration: jurisdictional immunity and enforcement of awards

Arbitration Law Monthly

State immunity in arbitration: jurisdictional immunity and enforcement of awards

The English High Court in its recent judgments has affirmed that state immunity issues are crucial in arbitration-related enforcement proceedings. The court has clarified the scope of certain provisions of the State Immunity Act 1978 and the procedure to follow when filing an application without notice seeking enforcement against a state party.

Section 9 of the 1978 Act provides: “(1) Where a State has agreed in writing to submit a dispute which has arisen, or may arise, to arbitration, the state is not immune as respects proceedings in the courts of the United Kingdom which relate to the arbitration”; and “(2) This section has effect subject to any contrary provision in the arbitration agreement and does not apply to any arbitration agreement between States”.

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