London Maritime Arbitration

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Enforcement of awards

A. Introduction

23.1 An award made in a London maritime arbitration will usually take the form of an order to pay damages or a sum of money, together with costs and interest, to the successful party. This chapter summarises the available methods of enforcing that order should the unsuccessful party fail to comply with it and will focus primarily upon enforcement of an award in England. As a matter of English law an arbitration award, unlike a court judgment, does not of itself entitle the successful party to levy execution against his opponent’s assets. To do so, the award must first be converted to a judgment. There are two methods of effecting that conversion: first, pursuant to the summary procedure contained in section 66 of the 1996 Act, and second (but much less commonly) at common law by means of an “action on the award”. These options are discussed at sections B and C of this chapter. 23.2 The enforcement of foreign awards in England is governed principally by the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards, given effect by sections 101–04 of the Act. This is considered in broad outline in section G below. 23.3 The enforcement of London awards abroad depends, ultimately, on the effect of local law. Where the country in which enforcement is sought is party to the New York Convention, then the mechanism for enforcement will be broadly similar to that for enforcement of foreign awards in England and Wales. However, the precise method of enforcement, and the scope of any defences to enforcement, will depend upon the construction which local law has placed upon the Convention, and it will usually be necessary to obtain advice from local lawyers as to the prospects of effecting enforcement. 23.4 Of course, a claimant in arbitration will usually be well advised to obtain security for its claims before any award is granted. After the award has been granted, obtaining security becomes more difficult, largely because the unsuccessful party may take steps to protect or remove its assets. Security for claims is discussed generally in ; the particular issues which arise in relation to obtaining security post-award are discussed at section F below.

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B. Summary enforcement: section 66

23.5 The most common method of enforcing a London arbitration award is by making an application to the court for permission to enforce the award1 as a judgment under section 66 of the 1996 Act. Section 66 provides:
  • (1) An award made by the tribunal pursuant to an arbitration agreement may, by leave of the court, be enforced in the same manner as a judgment or order of the court to the same effect.
  • (2) Where leave is so given, judgment may be entered in terms of the award.
  • (3) Leave to enforce an award shall not be given where, or to the extent that, the person against whom it is sought to be enforced shows that the tribunal lacked substantive jurisdiction to make the award.

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