On 17 January 2023, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste) became the 172nd state to accede the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (the New York Convention). This accession follows Timor-Leste’s approval of a new legal regime of Voluntary Arbitration, as approved by its National Parliament on 31 March 2021.

The New York Convention will enter into force for Timor-Leste on 17 April 2023, as per Article XII (2).

This will be a welcome development for Timor-Leste as foreign investors previously had to rely on Timorese procedural law for the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. As a result of its accession, Timor-Leste’s courts will be required to recognise and enforce awards made by other states and give effect to arbitration agreements. This is particularly noteworthy given Timor-Leste’s relations with significant trading states such as Australia, Singapore, US, Japan and Canada, which are also party to the Convention.