Privy Council Refuses to Set Aside Award on Natural Justice & Public Policy Grounds

In Peepul Capital Fund II LLC v VSoft Holdings LLC [2019] UKPC 47, the Privy Council refused to set aside an arbitral award on the basis of alleged breaches of natural justice and public policy arising out of an allegation that a sole arbitrator had improperly concluded, based on a submission by the appellant’s counsel at the hearing, that the appellant had abandoned its defence to the claim (alternatively, that the relevant submission by counsel had been preceded by an inappropriate intervention by the sole arbitrator, and this had prevented the appellant from presenting its case).

See the review of this case by Herbert Smith Freehills, who conclude:

“The case serves as a reminder of the high threshold that must generally be met to establish a breach of natural justice or serious procedural irregularity, and confirms that: the court will not intervene where the tribunal’s conclusion that a concession was made was reasonable; a party will be held to a concession made at the hearing, even if it later attempts to re-open the point in subsequent submissions; and a party will not be prevented from presenting its case merely because the tribunal expresses a provisional view on the party’s position.”

About Phillip Rompotis

Phillip practices as a barrister and arbitrator in Hong Kong. He has over 25 years’ litigation and arbitration experience in commercial disputes relating to construction & engineering, financial services, joint venture & shareholders agreements, technology, trusts, property and landlord & tenant. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators, the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of various lists/panels of arbitrators.

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