Fiji has signed the 1958 Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Arbitration awards in Fiji may now be directly enforced in Convention countries, and vice versa.
1. On 25 September 2010, Fiji signed the 1958 Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). The Convention has 142 State parties, which include all of Fiji’s major trading and investment partners. It adds a necessary international dimension to Fiji’s (under-used) arbitration laws.
2. For decades, the New York Convention has been an important facilitator of international commerce. This long-overdue step should (theoretically) improve the confidence of offshore investors, infrastructure providers, financiers and other commercial parties doing business in Fiji who prefer arbitration to court proceedings as a means of resolving disputes.
What the Convention does
3. In brief, the Convention allows for courts in Convention countries (which now include Fiji) to:
(a) directly enforce, as though they were judgments, arbitration awards made in other Convention countries
(b) refer contractual disputes to arbitration if the contract in question has an arbitration clause.
What remains to be done
4. New York Convention processes can be legally technical, so the Fiji courts will have to develop the necessary skills and experience to effectively implement them. The Convention provides normal legal safeguards for parties who wish to resist enforcement. However this step could lead to an increase in the use of arbitration to resolve disputes and give confidence to overseas contracting parties that they will be able to recover money or other property in Fiji if they gain an arbitration award against a Fiji party. Effective implementation of the Convention processes will be the challenge.
Please contact any of:
Direct Dial +679 322 1816
Direct Dial +679 322 1843
Direct Dial +679 322 1812
if you need any further information on dispute resolution and arbitration.
The information and opinions in this Legal Alert are for general information purposes only. They are not intended as specific legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice. Munro Leys can accept no responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on the general information contained in this Legal Alert.