United States District Court, District of Columbia, 22 March 2018, Balkan Energy Limited v. The Republic of Ghana, no. 17-cv-005582 (APM)

On 22 March 2018, the District Court confirmed an arbitral award in favor of Balkan Energy Limited and dismissed Ghana’s objections in seeking to oppose the award’s enforcement. The arbitral tribunal had awarded more 11.75 million dollars in damages for the breach of a Power Purchase Agreement on the grounds that the company had legitimate expectations that the State would fullfil its obligations thereunder.

First, the Court was unpersuaded by Ghana’s argument on immunity of jurisdiction, forum non conveniens and the lack of standing of the assignee. Then, the Court rejected all of Ghana’s arguments under the New York Convention. Under Ghanaian law, the contract (and its arbitration clause), as an international agreement, required approval by the Parliament to be valid. The Court held that regardless of the validity of the main agreement, Ghana needed to prove that the arbitration clause in itself was invalid under Dutch law, the agreed upon applicable law to the arbitration agreement, which it failed to do.

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