- Section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 remains an important guardian of integrity in the arbitral process of London-seated arbitrations.
- If there is evidence of fraud, bribery, or corruption affecting a London-seated arbitral process or any consequent award, then it may be possible to challenge the award if evidence of this can be found post-award.
- Bribery by its nature involves a deliberately concealed payment or benefit, which can be difficult to prove. An English Court is likely to be forgiving of a challenging party on matters of delay in bringing a challenge based on bribery and corruption and on the absence of such a challenge in the arbitral process itself. Even long after the award has been handed down, when usual time limits for challenge have expired, and where earlier timely challenges on other grounds may have failed, a challenge based on fraud, bribery, and corruption may succeed, as the commented case exemplifies.
- A claimant against a state may be disadvantaged in the long run if the state demonstrably does not dedicate the necessary legal and other resources in defense of its position in an arbitral process.
- Going to final judgment or an award against states where corruption is endemic, as the state itself in the commented case admitted, may be a perilous path even for an honest claimant.
In the introduction to its judgment of October 23, 2023, the English High Court held up the case as a warning to the arbitral community: “This is a highly unusual case, although one that draws attention to matters of wider importance. Quite apart from the consequences for the parties, the matter touches the reputation of arbitration as a dispute resolution process.”