For more than 50 years the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards has provided a common set of standards for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in a wide range of jurisdictions counting today 146 States. Since 1958 numerous judges and lawyers in one part of the world have been called upon to answer precisely the same questions as their colleagues located thousands of miles apart, often without having the benefit of sharing their colleagues’ knowledge or simply observing the diversity of approaches to the same problem as the one they are faced with.
The NewYorkConvention1958.org website, launched by Shearman & Sterling, UNCITRAL and Columbia Law School, is the product of their coordinated effort to create an online platform which disseminates and makes freely accessible case-law on the application and interpretation of the New York Convention from a widespread number of jurisdictions, namely several common law jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, India, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America) and several civil law jurisdictions (Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Switzerland and the OHADA countries). Cases from other jurisdictions will be gradually uploaded onto the website to offer users a wide and representative view of judicial practice in this field.
The NewYorkConvention1958.org website is part and parcel of the Guide on the New York Convention that UNCITRAL requested Professor Emmanuel Gaillard and Professor George Bermann to prepare. “By canvassing the richness of national case-law on the application and interpretation of the New York Convention, the Guide aims at promoting the uniform and effective interpretation and application of the New York Convention so as to limit the risk that state practice might distance itself from the Convention’s spirit,” said Gaillard, a partner and head of the International Arbitration Practice at Shearman & Sterling.
Although the Guide is expected to be presented to the Commission in 2013, the drafters of the Guide and UNCITRAL saw no reason why to delay the launch of the NewYorkConvention1958.org website, which in itself an essential tool to every judge, arbitrator, practitioner, academic and Government official interested in the application of the New York Convention. Through its user-friendly interface, the website gives free access to a significant number of judgments, each of which is reported in the form of a summary highlighting the interpretation and application of specific provisions of the New York Convention.
In addition to offering a wide range of national case-law, the website’s search engine allows users to tailor their research to the parameters they wish. For example, users can conduct a variety of searches that include searches by jurisdiction(s), New York Convention article(s), and simple word searches which run through the entirety of the platform’s data. Another significant feature of the website is the availability of judgments in their original language accompanied, where possible, by an English translation.
Going forward, as The Secretary of UNCITRAL, Renaud Sorieul, remarked, “UNCITRAL welcomes the aspiration of the drafters of the Guide to offer the public something more than a static depiction of national case-law on the New York Convention at a given time. It is hoped that through frequent and systematic updates the website will reflect judicial practice on the New York Convention as it continues to evolve.”