Eastern Europe-focused junior energy firm JKX Oil & Gas announced Monday that it has launched arbitration proceedings against the Ukrainian government under the Energy Charter Treaty – a bilateral investment treaty between the UK and Ukraine. JKX is looking to recover more than $180 million in rental fees that its Ukrainian subsidiary has paid on production of oil and gas in Ukraine since 2011. JKX said it is seeking compensation for "losses it has suffered from Ukraine's treaty violations", including "Ukraine's failure to treat JKX's investments in a 'fair and equitable' manner and failing to comply with commitments made by Ukraine in respect of JKX's investments."
Ukraine is awaiting the ruling of the Stockholm arbitration court concerning the temporary gas price in the gas dispute with Russia to appear late in November 2014, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said.
Ukrainian state-run energy firm Naftogaz and Russian state-controlled gas firm Gazprom have both lodged cases with the Stockholm arbitration tribunal to review their gas transit contracts. All debt payments, on which Russia has been insisting, will be made only after a verdict from the International Court of Arbitration in Stockholm - (Reuters).
Ukraine - arbitration-friendly jurisdiction
There are countries whose legal system is very friendly to arbitration. Though Ukraine is a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 for a long time, we may find the statements of reputable lawyers that Ukrainian court system is not friendly to arbitration.
There are no grounded arguments against the Ukrainian arbitration legislation. Ukraine is a UNCITRAL Model Law country and a member of all major international arbitration treaties. Its International Arbitration Law was drafted based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. The main issue which created Ukraine the reputation of a country unfriendly to arbitration is the disputable practice of recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards by Ukrainian courts.
Herewith we start the discussion whether Ukrainian court system is friendly to arbitration. However, we will share the information concerning the court “attitude” to a particular arbitration institution (LCIA, SCC, ICC, etc.) so that you can have the full picture on what arbitration forums are “in respect” of Ukrainian courts. We will provide you with the details of the descision so that you can apply the court practice properly.