As part of the proceedings for the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration‘s (ACICA) Australian Arbitration Week 2019, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Level Twenty Seven Chambers co-hosted a seminar on “Best Practice International Arbitration in Australia: an Australian view on current issues affecting the arbitral mandate“.
The seminar was chaired by Joshua Paffey (Corrs Chambers Westgarth). The panel consisted of Stewart Webster, Bianca Kabel, Dr Jason Mitchenson (Level Twenty Seven Chambers) and Prof. Richard Garnett (University of Melbourne). Commentary was provided by The Honourable Justice Greenwood of the Federal Court of Australia.
In theory the arbitral mandate is easily defined. It is conferred by the parties’ arbitration agreement and terminates with the delivery of the final award. The arbitrator is then said to be functus officio. But in practice, things are often more complicated.
In this seminar, panellists addressed significant practical issues liable to arise in connection with the arbitral mandate including:
- What is the effect on the arbitral mandate of “interim” or “partial” awards and the operation of the doctrine of res judicata?
- Is a purported award rendered without mandate “void”, and can a party ever seek Court intervention to obtain a declaration to this effect?
- If in the course of rendering an award, an arbitral tribunal wrongly decides that a particular argument or claim has not been raised or pressed, is this an error within jurisdiction, or a failure by the arbitral tribunal to fully discharge its mandate?
- Can a challenge to the validity of an award in one jurisdiction preclude resolution of the same issues in another country? What strategies should parties employ when challenging awards where multiple jurisdictions are involved?
The panellists jointly dealt with these issues by reference to the UNCITRAL Model Law, the New York Convention, current international jurisprudence and a recent challenge in the Supreme Court of Queensland, with a focus on practical application for both practitioners and arbitrators.
Stewart, Bianca and Jason’s paper on the topics they covered during the event is available here.