As many owners and contractors involved in the international construction industry are aware, international arbitration is a popular dispute resolution device for international construction disputes because, in part, international arbitration awards are, broadly speaking, enforceable in practically every jurisdiction in the world. This facet of international arbitration has been set out in the U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) — a multilateral convention that requires the courts of the contracting states to recognize and enforce arbitration awards made by tribunals seated in other contracting states. Now, with 160 signatory states and the increasing popularity of international arbitration around the world, the New York Convention is widely viewed as one of the most successful international conventions ever.

Recently, in July and August 2019, a pair of international organizations introduced two new international conventions — the 2019 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (the 2019 Enforcement Convention) and the U.N. Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the Singapore Convention on Mediation) — which seek to replicate the success of the New York Convention and create a system for the universal recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments and mediated settlement agreements.

While both conventions are in their infancy, as explained in this post, they are worth watching and, in some ways, may affect the manner in which international construction owners and contractors approach international dispute resolution in the future.