Developments in PIL PhD Theses

Two New Doctoral Theses on Arbitral Jurisdiction at the Stockholm University

In the space of two weeks, two doctoral theses on arbitral jurisdiction will be publicly defended at the Stockholm University. First, on 21 November 2022, Fabricio Fortese defended a thesis titled Early Determination of Arbitral Jurisdiction – Balancing efficacy, efficiency, and legitimacy of arbitration. On 2 December 2022, Monica Seifert will defend a thesis on Arbitral Jurisdiction in Multi-Contract Relations ­­– A Comparative Study of Swedish, Swiss and English Law.

Fortese’s thesis examines the timing of judicial determination of jurisdictional disputes under Article 8 (1) of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and Article II (3) of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The thesis argues that Article 8 of the Model Law does not require that national courts undertake either a limited (prima facie) or a full review of an arbitration agreement and objections to an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction. Fortese holds, as the main finding of his dissertation, that both approaches are permitted under the Model Law. The application of one or the other is “a matter of judgment (rather than opinion), based on the particularities of the case, and aiming to achieve the fair and efficient resolution of the jurisdictional and substantive dispute” (p. 282). Professor George A. Bermann of Columbia Law School acted as opponent at the public defense. A full abstract of the thesis can be read here.

The research question for Seifert’s thesis is whether an arbitration agreement contained in one contract can be considered to apply to disputes concerning other contracts between the same parties. For the analysis, the thesis focuses on the international arbitration prerequisites of (1) a defined legal relationship, (2) the scope of the arbitration agreement and (3) the identity of the matter in dispute. According to the abstract, “[t]he thesis concludes that the legal systems under analysis, despite their largely different procedural and contractual settings, have proven to be sensitive to the pressures of globalization and to the demand for more generous access to arbitration”. In the conclusions, Seifert stresses the importance of the seat of arbitration as it is the procedural law of this country that ultimately will determine arbitral jurisdiction (p. 285). Professor Giuditta Cordero-Moss of Oslo University will act as opponent at the public defense. A full abstract of the thesis can be read here.

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