Has Spain´s fierce defence finally collapsed before the English shores?

The High Court has just handed down a groundbreaking ruling on state immunity and international arbitration. Spain’s challenge to recognising the ICSID Antin Award on the grounds of sovereign immunity and EU case law has been rejected.

This is a significant development in the field and one that is sure to have far-reaching implications.

Mr. Justice Fraser has upheld a Registration Order from June 29, 2021, which orders Spain to pay the claimants around €120 million for infringing the Energy Charter Treaty. This decision comes after Spain’s grounds of set aside were dismissed, as confirmed in the judgment published yesterday, May 24, 2023.

The High Court ruling brings largely-needed clarity to an ongoing global legal debate surrounding the validity of intra-EU arbitration awards after the EU’s Court of Justice decisions in the Achmea and Komstroy cases.

Interestingly, the High Court notes that these EU decisions don’t affect the enforcement of the Antin ICSID Award. This noteworthy development provides clarity and stability to the situation, at least in the English jurisdiction. It will have far-reaching implications for other claimants trying to enforce their award in the US or Australia.

The High Court has also ruled that Article 54 of the ICSID convention, combined with s.2(2) of the State Immunity Act 1978, serves as a submission by a signatory state to the jurisdiction for the registration of ICSID Awards in England.

Undoubtedly this decision highlights London’s status as a top destination for resolving international disputes and is proof of the English jurisdiction’s robust and reliable arbitration framework, which ensures fairness and impartiality in the resolution process.

La Justicia británica da un portazo a España y le obliga a pagar 120 millones por el recorte a las renovables

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