Monica Feria-Tinta examines State immunity issues in the recent High Court decision Gold Reserve Inc v Venezuela  EWHC 153 (Comm) concerning the enforcement of an ICSID award of US$713 million (plus interests and costs) against a Sovereign State, by reference to the wider context of State immunity principles under international law, as reflected in the State Immunity Act 1978.
The case brought to centre-stage important procedural questions tied to issues of State immunity concerning the recognition and enforcement of awards against foreign States under English law.
On 10 November 2015, the Court of Appeal handed down its latest decision in IPCO (Nigeria) Ltd v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( EWCA Civ 1144 and 1145). The case arises from a long running attempt by the claimant (IPCO) to enforce a Nigerian arbitration award from 2004 of some USD 152 million (current value with interest over USD 340 million) against the state owned defendant company (NNPC). The award is under challenge by NNPC in Nigeria.
The case is important in deciding that excessive delay in the determination of a challenge was sufficient to justify enforcement of the award without further adjournment under section 103(5) of the Arbitration Act 1996 (save in so far as the challenge relating to fraud was successfully made out in England under the section 103(3) public policy ground). Continue reading →