Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in Pakistan

The United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 allows foreign arbitration awards to be enforced in countries that have signed and ratified the Convention. There were 163 countries who were party to the New York Convention out of which 24 countries are signatories to the Convention.

Pakistan has signed and ratified this convention. The United Nations Convention has been incorporated into Pakistani law by the Recognition and Enforcement (Arbitration Agreements and Foreign Arbitral Awards) Act, 2011. As per this Act, Foreign arbitral awards are recognized and enforced in the same manner as a judgment or order of a court in Pakistan and the court enforcing the award will not go behind the evidence or act as an appellate court.  Under the act, a legal proceeding is required to be initiated before the concerned High Court in Pakistan to enforce a foreign arbitration award. Therefore, any Foreign Arbitral Awards obtained in the countries who are signatories to the Convention can be enforced as a foreign judgment in the courts of Pakistan.

However, if a country is not a signatory to the New York Convention it cannot procure the benefit of the Convention unless there is some bilateral recognition between the countries or the Arbitration was held under the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law.

Nonetheless, a foreign arbitral award can also be enforced by filing a suit in the country where the award was obtained and thereafter the judgment obtained from the courts of that country can be enforced as a foreign judgment in the courts at Pakistan.