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1 November, 2013 Time limits for respondents that do not participate in arbitral proceedings to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction or resist enforcement

London Steam Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association Ltd v Spain 2013 WL 4788858. QBD (Comm). Walker J. 20 September 2013

The case, a dispute between a London P&I Club and the Kingdom of Spain, involving one of the largest oil spills in recent years, raises the issue of when an applicant that took no part in the arbitral proceedings can challenge an arbitration award. The High Court’s decision to confirm the primacy of the “Dallah principle”, by giving Spain full opportunity to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction at the enforcement stage and granting the necessary extensions, emphasises the primacy that the English courts place on preserving a party’s ability to challenge a tribunal’s jurisdiction in circumstances where that party has chosen not to participate in the proceedings. The Court also considered the argument that no time limit was applicable to challenges under s. 72(2) and held that whilst a non-participating party wishing to challenge an award under s.72(2) is prima facie obliged to comply with the 28-day time limit set out in s.70(3), the Court will have regard to the Dallah principle in considering whether a time extension will be granted.

Sara Cockerill QC and Anna Dilnot acted for the defendant, the Kingdon of Spain; instructed by K&L Gates LLP.