Whether ICC arbitration award could be enforced after “summary judgment” by tribunal
The claimant applied to enforce an ICC arbitration award in its favour. After judgment was entered by the English court, the defendant applied under section 103 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for an order setting aside the judgment, or an adjournment of the decision on recognition and enforcement of the award, pending the determination of proceedings being brought in the US (challenging the award). The claimant challenged the award on the grounds of due process and breach of agreed procedure.
Blair J rejected the argument that (in the absence of an express power) a summary judgment process by arbitrators necessarily amounts to a denial of due process. In any event, he held that the tribunal had had the power to adopt this procedure. The arbitration agreement had provided that the arbitrators could hear any dispute “in accordance with such procedure as the arbitrators may deem appropriate” and this gave them a wide power. Furthermore, the 2012 ICC Rules also allows tribunals to adopt such procedural measures as they consider appropriate, whilst also ensuring that each party has a reasonable opportunity to present its case. The judge held that there had been such an opportunity in this case, since oral testimony had been received: “so far as it was summary, the procedure fell within [the arbitration agreement]”.