3VB counsel team successful in upholding US$60 million investment treaty arbitration award in the Commercial Court

Acting for a group of Iranian investors, Ali Malek QC, Cameron Miles and Judy Fu have successfully opposed an application under s 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 by the Republic of Korea to set aside a US$60 million arbitral award.  The award arose from a London-seated arbitration under the terms of the Iran–Korea bilateral investment treaty and required issues of treaty interpretation and wider public international law to be argued before the Commercial Court.  The original dispute concerned a failed attempt by the Iranian investors to acquire part of the Daewoo group from entities affiliated with the Korean government in 2010.

In a judgment handed down on Friday, 20 December 2019, Butcher J rejected Korea’s arguments that the arbitral tribunal that heard the original claim lacked jurisdiction under the relevant treaty to determine the dispute.  In so deciding, the Judge concluded that the Iranian investors had made an investment under the terms of the treaty, that they qualified as investors and that questions concerning the attribution of certain Korean state-owned entities to the Korean state could not be relitigated in the contest of a s 67 challenge.  Korea’s application for permission to appeal was denied.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

Ali, Cameron and Judy were instructed by Gresham Legal.