King & Wood Mallesons

Asia-Pacific 100 position: 3

English Court of Appeal promotes arbitration... by setting aside arbitral award

In MRI Trading AG v Erdenet Mining Corporation LLC [2013] EWCA Civ 156, the English Court of Appeal upheld the enforceability of a supply contract despite the parties having failed to agree certain details. The Court of Appeal’s decision gives useful guidance on so-called ‘agreements to agree’, and promotes the use of arbitration by finding that contractual mechanisms for dispute resolution support certainty of contract.

MRI Trading AG v Erdenet Mining Corporation LLC [2013] EWCA Civ 156 concerned an arbitral tribunal’s finding that a cross-border supply contract was void for uncertainty. By setting aside the tribunal’s award, the Court of Appeal confirmed that arbitration clauses can cure apparently uncertain or incomplete terms. This is because arbitration clauses provide an agreed mechanism for giving content to the contract. The Court of Appeal‟s decision is a useful reminder of the benefits of arbitration for parties negotiating contracts for future performance…

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