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U.S. Courts Will Not Review Arbitration Awards Set Aside by Courts of Other Nations
Description An appeals court upheld the verdict of a district court to dismiss a request by a party that U.S. courts enforce arbitration awards that were set aside by the Nigerian High Court. Since the parties to the contracts specified that Nigerian law would govern, the determination of that nation's court to set aside the awards is to be respected and the matter will not be reviewed.
Topic International Law
Key Words Arbitration, UNICTRAL, U.N. Convention
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Baker Marine and Danos provided barge services for Chevron in its oil operations in Nigeria. Their contracts stated that any dispute would be settled by arbitration in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The law of Nigeria was to apply and the process was governed by the U.N. Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards. Baker claimed that Danos and Chevron breached the contracts. Arbitrators agreed and awarded Baker damages from both parties. Baker sought enforcement of the awards in the Nigerian High Court. The court set aside the awards. Baker then sued both parties in federal court in the U.S., seeking confirmation of the awards under U.S. law, a party to the U.N. Convention. The district court denied the petitions to enforce the awards; Baker appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The U.N. Convention applies. It provides that a court may refuse enforcement of an award that "has been set aside or suspended by a competent authority of the country in which, or under the law of which, the award was made." The Nigerian High Court is a competent authority and the contracts were made under Nigerian law. Nothing in the agreements of the parties indicates that arbitration law of the U.S. is to govern the dispute, so the suit by Baker has been properly dismissed.
Citation Baker Marine (Nig.) Ltd. v. Chevron (Nig.) Ltd., - F.3d - (1999 WL 639708, 2nd Cir.)

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