Another Swing of the Pendulum: French Courts Confirm Expansive Review of Public Policy and Arbitral Jurisdiction

29 April 2022
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Key takeaways:
  • In a series of landmark decisions, French courts have confirmed their expansive approach to the review of arbitral awards on the grounds of public policy and jurisdiction, and provided additional guidance on their approach to allegations of illegality and the compatibility of intra-EU investment treaties with EU law.
  • In Belokon, France’s highest court confirmed that French courts will review allegations of illegality effectively de novo, and upheld the set-aside of the award as contrary to public policy. Two weeks later, in Santullo Sericom, the Paris Court of Appeal applied the same approach to annul an award involving allegations of corruption. In both cases, the French courts heard new evidence that was not before the arbitral tribunal.
  • Reviewing jurisdiction de novo, the Paris Court of Appeal also set aside two intra-EU treaty awards against Poland, which is the first reported annulment of an intra-EU award on the basis of the CJEU’s 2018 Achmea judgment since Achmea itself.