SCOTUS Rules in GE v. Outokumpu That Non-Signatories May Enforce an International Arbitration Agreement

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - June 2, 2020
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In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) permits a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement to compel arbitration based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel. Chapter 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”), which governs domestic arbitration, has been interpreted to allow non-signatories to an arbitration agreement to compel signatories to arbitrate a dispute in certain circumstances.  The Court held that this doctrine also applies to Chapter 2 of the FAA, which applies to international arbitrations falling under the New York Convention.  The Court rejected prior appellate court decisions that had held that the Convention requirement of a written arbitration agreement, and related provisions, required that all parties to an arbitration have signed the arbitration agreement.