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Supreme Court to decide international arbitration case

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in BG Group PLC v. Republic of Argentina [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to decide whether a court or the arbitrator determines if a precondition to arbitration has been satisfied in disputes involving a multi-staged dispute resolution process. The case involves a Bilateral Investment Treaty between the UK and Argentina, signed into law in 1990. The treaty provides that a dispute between an investor and a host state will be resolved in the host state's courts, and if no timely resolution is reached, then the case proceeds to arbitration. British investor BG Group PLC invoked the arbitration clause against Argentina without first filing in Argentine court. The panel found that it had jurisdiction and awarded damages to BG Group. The district court denied Argentina's motion to vacate the award, but the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the award [opinion]. BG Group argues that it is for the arbitrator, not the court, to determine whether the precondition to arbitration has been satisfied.

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