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Singapore Convention on Mediation opens for signing

The Singapore Convention on Mediation (the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation) a multilateral treaty developed by the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) opens for signing in Singapore. The Convention provides a uniform framework for the recognition and enforcement of mediated settlement agreements that resolve international commercial disputes, similar to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. It provides for international mediated settlements to be treated in a manner comparable to arbitral awards.

Papua New Guinea accedes the New York Convention

Papua New Guinea deposited its instrument of accession with the United Nations Secretary-General to become the 160th state to accede to the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention). There are now four of the fifteen countries of the South Pacific region that have acceded to the New York Convention, consisting of the Republic of Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The New York Convention will come into force for Papua New Guinea on 15 October 2019.

UNCTAD and the China Silk Road Group to deliver ODR to e-commerce consumers

UNCTAD and the China Silk Road Group signed an agreement to deliver online dispute resolution to consumers in south-east Asia to improve international trade and electronic commerce. Under the agreement, the parties will jointly develop an online dispute resolution platform for cross-border e-commerce. China will share its expertise on blockchain, while UNCTAD will provide experience in consumer protection and technical assistance to developing countries. The aim is to reduce the difficulty of dispute arbitration and increase in  effective protection of consumer rights.

ARIN recovers 735,000 fraudulently obtained IPv4 addresses

The American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN) has successfully defeated a multi year scheme to defraud the Internet community of 735,000 IPv4 addresses. ARIN is responsible for assigning IPv4 addresses in the US, Canada and parts of the Caribbean. In the first arbitration ever brought under an ARIN Registration Services Agreement, ARIN was able to prove an elaborate scheme of utilizing 11 shelf companies across the US, and falsified documents, to induce ARIN into issuing the fraudulently sought IPv4 resources and approving related transfers and reassignments of these addresses.

HKIAC becomes first foreign institution permanently accredited to hear disputes in Russia

The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) has been approved as a permanent arbitration institution in Russia and became the first international arbitral institution authorised to administer international disputes seated in Russia. This includes disputes between parties from any special administrative region as defined under Russian law or disputes arising from agreements to carry out activities in any such region and certain types of corporate issues related to Russian companies.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has issued its annual release about how many cybersquatting cases it heard under UDRP and similar policies

In 2018, a record of 3,447 cases have been filed by the trademark owners under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center. the number of domains involved was only the third highest, of the 5,665 domains involved, 5022 were gTLDs and 633 were ccTLDs. In 2019, the number of cases is expected to rise again due to the GDPR regulations.

International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) and International Bar Association (IBA) have created a task force on data protection.

The ICCA and IBA react to the increasing relevance of data protection regulations, especially GDPR, to the arbitration procedures and parties. The aim of the data protection task force is to compose a guide that identifies the ways in which data protection may need to be taken into account during the course of an arbitration and how it would impact parties to the arbitration and the arbitration procedure. The draft Guide for public comment will be available in March 2019.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s (UNCITRAL) approves final drats of Convention on the Enforcement of Mediation Settlement Agreements and corresponding Model Law

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s (“UNCITRAL”) Working Group II approved final drafts for a Convention on the Enforcement of Mediation Settlement Agreements and for a Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (so called Singapore Mediation Convention). While these instruments need to be adopted and ratified by states, they strengthen the role of mediation as an alternative to arbitration for international commercial dispute resolution.

US Supreme Court rejected a “Wholly Groundless” exception to clauses delegating arbitrability

In Schein, Inc. v. Archer and White Sales, Inc., 586 U.S. the Supreme Court confirmed that when an arbitration agreement delegates to an arbitrator the question of whether the agreement applies to a particular dispute, courts have no power to decide this question, even if a court considers the arbitrability argument to be “wholly groundless.” The Supreme Court thus confirmed the Kompetenz-Kompetenz doctrine recognised in US law.

Prague Rules in effect for international arbitration proceedings

New Rules on the Efficient Conduct of Proceedings in International Arbitration (aka Prague Rules) launched as an alternative to the International Bar Association (IBA) rules on taking the evidence in international arbitration. Drafted by practitioners from more than 30 countries, the rules are now closer to the civil law approach to disputes. They allow wider rights for parties to call witnesses of facts and experts, as well as expanded use of case-law in the international arbitration proceedings.

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