Iraq signs up to New York Convention amid economic recovery effort

Out-Law News | 01 Jul 2021 | 10:05 am | 1 min. read

Iraq has passed legislation ratifying the country’s accession to the New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

The Law on the Accession of the Republic of Iraq to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards came into effect on 31 May 2021, having been passed by the Iraqi parliament earlier this year.

Iraq was the 168th state to accede to the convention, joining Malawi and Belize as new signatories this year. Several of its close neighbours in the Middle East, including Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have already acceded to the treaty.

Construction expert Rita Allan of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said the accession was part of Iraq’s ongoing plan for economic recovery in the wake of past conflicts. In a 2018 report setting out a reconstruction and development framework (301 page / 4.3MB PDF), the Iraqi government committed to signing up to the convention amid other measures to strengthen the country’s dispute resolution system.

“The accession is in line with Iraq’s reformation plans and its goal of encouraging future investments in Iraq by both members of the local market and international businesses,” Allan said.

Allan said the ratification of the convention would give many international businesses comfort when doing business in Iraq if they are not familiar with the Iraqi legal system.

The 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) is an international treaty governing the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards made in other countries. Awards made in countries that have signed the convention are enforceable in all other participating states.

Mark Raymont, a construction disputes expert based in the Middle East, said: ”The ratification introduces much needed clarity to the process of enforcement of arbitral awards in Iraq, albeit this will only apply to awards issued after the date of ratification”.

Raymont also said that some uncertainty remains as to whether the new regime would apply to Kurdistan.