Fifth Circuit Holds that Personal Jurisdiction is Required in New York Convention Recognition Proceedings


On December 21, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued its decision in First Investment Corporation of the Marshall Islands v. Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding, Ltd., in which that court addressed, for the first time, whether a proper basis of personal jurisdiction is necessary in order to grant a petition to confirm a foreign arbitration award under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act. It held in the affirmative, reasoning that the requirement of personal jurisdiction is rooted in the United States Constitution and must be satisfied regardless of whether the New York Convention or its implementing legislation explicitly included such a requirement.

Summary -

First Investment Corporation of the Marshall Islands (“First Investment”) obtained an arbitration award against Fujian Shipbuilding Industry Group Corp. (FSIGC) and Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd. (“Mawei”) (together, the “Fujian Entities”). FSIGC is 100%-owned by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Mawei is a private corporation of which FSIGC is a majority shareholder. The arbitration took place in London and was conducted by a tribunal of three arbitrators. First Investment sought to confirm the award pursuant to the New York Convention in the Chinese courts, but encountered several difficulties along the way. As an example, First Investment claimed that the Chinese embassies in London and Athens initially refused to authenticate documents that were necessary for First Investment to commence a confirmation proceeding in China; however, upon the intervention of the Greek government, the Chinese embassy in Athens eventually acquiesced to provide the necessary authentication. First Investment also claimed that it was deprived, without explanation, the assistance of its Chinese counsel and its translator during a hearing before the Chinese court; instead the court provided First Investment with a student translator with a limited legal vocabulary. The Chinese court ultimately denied enforcement of the award on grounds that the arbitral tribunal was not constituted in accordance with the parties’ agreement.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© King & Spalding | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


King & Spalding on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.