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Extinctive Prescription and Public International Law - Chapter 3 - Essays on International Arbitration

Author: Kaj Hobér
Page Count: 98
Published: November 2005
Media Desc: PDF from "Essays on International Arbitration"
File Size: 324KB

Originally from: Essays on International Arbitration - Hardcover
                            Essays on International Arbitration - Electronic

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Extinctive Prescription and Public International Law 

Kaj Hobér

3.1 Introduction

      Under most municipal law systems the lapse of time may
influence the possibility to present claims in a court of law or before
an arbitral tribunal. Generally speaking, delay in presenting a claim –
however such delay is defined – may bar a party from presenting a
claim. Municipal law generally contains specific time limits in this
respect. Public international law does not contain any such time
limits. This notwithstanding, the principle of extinctive prescription is
recognized in public international law. Despite the general acceptance
of the principle of extinctive prescription there are a number of open
issues, indeed uncertainties, as far as the application of the principle is
      Extinctive prescription is an issue of decisive and legal importance
in any dispute. If a claim has been extinguished by the lapse of
time, that is usually the end of the dispute, or at least the arbitration.
The claim is no more, consequently the arbitration is no more. The
defense of extinctive prescription usually means that the issue of
applicable law is brought to a head, and the tribunal must address it
squarely and rule on it. Against this background, there has been
surprisingly little discussion and analysis of extinctive prescrip-tion in
international law during the last fifty years. Given the potentially
draconian effects of extensive prescription in interstate arbitration,
the issue deserves more attention. Extinctive prescription continues
to be of importance in interstate disputes where the tribunal in
question is applying public international law to resolve the dispute.

3.2 Does Extinctive Prescription Exist Under Public
International Law?

3.2.1 Introduction

      Even though Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court
of Justice strictly speaking is an instruction to the Court, it is
generally recognized as the most authoritative statement concerning
the sources of international law. There are no international
conventions of general applicability dealing with extinctive
prescription. The discussion below thus focuses on decisions
rendered by international tribunals and on writings of publicists.

Table of Contents

Full Table of Contents from "Essays on International Arbitration"




1.         History and Development of Interstate Arbitration


1.1       Introduction     

1.2       The Jay Treaty Arbitrations (1794) 

1.3       Post Jay Treaty Arbitrations (1795 - 1870)    

1.4       The Alabama Claims Arbitration       

1.5       The last decades of the 19th century (1875 - 1899)    

1.6       The Hague Peace Conferences and beyond (1899 - 1920)    

1.7       The Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations (1920 - 1940)  

1.8       Post Second World War Arbitrations and Developments  

1.9       Concluding Remarks    


2.         Choice of Law by the Parties in Interstate Arbitration        


2.1        Party Autonomy in interstate arbitration       

2.2        Party Autonomy and the International Court of Justice         

2.3        Unfettered party autonomy criticised          

2.4        The rationale of party autonomy

2.5        The obligation to respect party autonomy        

2.6        Restrictions on party autonomy        


3.          Extinctive Prescription and Public International Law      


3.1        Introduction     

3.2        Does extinctive Prescription exist under Public International Law?

3.3        Opinions of writers      

3.4        Decisions rendered by international tribunals          

3.5        The Rationale Underlying Extinctive Prescription in International Law     

3.6        When is the Principle of Extinctive Prescription Applicable?      

3.7        Extinctive Prescription distinguished    

3.8        Is Extinctive Prescription Procedural or Substantive in Nature?

3.9        Municipal Statutes of Limitation and Extinctive Prescription under Public International Law     

3.10       Extinctive Prescription and ius cogens 

3.11       Summary and Concluding Remarks         


4.          Ownership of the Oil and Gas Resources in the Caspian Sea: Problems and Solutions - International Arbitration and Contractual Clauses


4.1        Introduction     

4.2        The Legal Status of the Caspian Sea: Sea or Lake -- what difference does it make?          

4.3        International arbitration is one possible solution.          

4.4        Why arbitration?      

4.5        Is arbitration realistic?          

4.6        Proposed Arbitration Agreement      

4.7        Contractual approaches to reducing the political risk     


5.          Arbitration involving states   


5.1        Introduction     

5.2        State Immunity -- old Wine in new Bottles?

5.3        Confidentiality v. Publicity          

5.4        The growing Importance of Public International Law     


6.          Investment Arbitration in Eastern Europe: Recent Cases on Expropriation    


6.1        Introduction     

6.2        Expropriation   

6.3        Current state of International Law with respect to Expropriation   

6.4        The Minimum International Standard         

6.5        Bilateral Investment Protection Treaties

6.6        The Sedelmayer Case   

6.7        The 1998 Financial Crisis in Russia

6.8        The Land Use Permit Case   

6.9        The SwemBalt Case

6.10      Golden Shares in Russian Companies      

6.11      The Estonian Bank Licence Case   

6.12      The Lauder Cases   

6.13      The Energy Charter Treaty 

6.14      The First ECT Arbitral Award  

6.15      Concluding remarks     


7.          The First Energy Charter Treaty Arbitral Award   


7.1        Introduction     

7.2        The Dispute in a Nutshell

7.3        The Arguments       

7.4        The conclusions of the Arbitral Tribunal

7.5        The key legal issues      

7.6        Concluding remarks     


8.          Arbitration Reform in Sweden


8.1        Introduction     

8.2        The Arbitration Agreement      

8.3        The Arbitrators       

8.4        The Procedure        

8.5        The Award 

8.6        Finality and Enforceability of Arbitral Awards


9.          Advocacy in International Commercial Arbitration: Sweden


9.1        Introduction     

9.2        General Principles of Swedish Judicial Procedure        

9.3        Swedish Arbitration Procedure        

9.4        Written Submissions    

9.5         Evidence        

9.6        Production of Documents      

9.7        Hearing of Witnesses    

9.8        Hearing of Experts        

9.9        Inspection of the Subject Matter of the Dispute   




Appendix 1


Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea     


Appendix 2


Agreement between the Russian Federation, the Azerbaijani Republic and the Republic of Kazakhstan on the Point of Intersection of the Lines Delimiting Adjacent Areas of the Caspian Seabed


Appendix 3


Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan on delimitation of the seabed in the northern part of the Caspian Sea for the exercise of their sovereign rights to use the subsurface resources


Appendix 4


Protocol to the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan on delimitation of the seabed in the northern part of the Caspian Sea for the exercise of their sovereign rights to use the subsurface resources of 6 July 1998


Appendix 5


Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Azerbaijani Republic on Delimitation of Adjacent Areas of the Caspian Seabed


Appendix 6


Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Azerbaijani Republic on delimitation of the Caspian seabed between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Azerbaijani Republic          


Appendix 7


The Swedish Arbitration Act of 1999 (SFS 1999:116)        

Author Detail

Kaj Hobér is a Partner of Mannheimer Swartling, resident Stockholm office and Professor of East European Commercial Law at Uppsala University, Uppsala. His practice areas include: international arbitration, East European law, international investment and trade, international business transactions. He has been heavily involved in the legal aspects of doing business in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union for the last 20 years. His arbitration experience includes representing both eastern and western European, American and Russian parties as well as parties from developing countries in international arbitrations taking place in Stockholm, Moscow, London, Paris, New York, Vienna and elsewhere. Mr. Hobér  has also been involved in numerous oil arbitrations, relating primarily to northern Africa, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union and has acted as arbitrator in more than 150 international arbitrations (including chairmanships) and as counsel in approximately 150 international arbitrations.

Professional memberships include: member of the Swedish Bar Association; member of the American Bar Association; member of the Board of the Swedish Scientific Institute of Arbitration Law, the Board of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the International Arbitration Club (London) and member of the ICC Institute of International Business and Law (corresponding member).  He has been listed as arbitrator on the panels of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce, Vienna, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Moscow, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, Kiev, the American Arbitration Association and of the ICSID Arbitration Center, Washington DC. He is also a Commissioner at the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva.



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