Iraq now a member of the New York Convention

16 March 2021 - Christian Steiner

The Iraqi Parliament ratified its accession to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards on 4 March 2021 (Law on the Accession of the Republic of Iraq to the New York Convention). The law will enter into force upon publication in the Official Gazette.

International arbitral awards now easier to enforce in Iraq

Accession to the New York Convention should facilitate the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Iraq. However, the Convention only applies to arbitral awards rendered after the promulgation of the law. Iraq also requires reciprocity for enforcement: Iraqi courts will only enforce awards from other signatory states if those states also allow enforcement of Iraqi awards. Moreover, the Convention applies only to arbitral awards for the settlement of disputes arising out of commercial contracts, as defined by Iraqi law.

Previous awards enforceable in Iraq under the Riyadh Convention

Until now, the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards has essentially taken place under the 1983 Riyadh Convention on Judicial Cooperation, which imposes conditions that delay the enforcement process, such as the requirement of a declaration by the local judicial authority confirming that the award has the force of law. The Riyadh Convention also did not allow enforcement proceedings against Iraqi government agencies.

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