New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type



The Second Circuit’s decision in Pemex is the first federal appellate decision to confirm a foreign Convention award that was set aside at the seat of arbitration. The question of how to treat an award set aside at the seat raises common questions for nearly all New York and Panama Convention countries. The authors situate the Pemex decision against the backdrop of the various approaches to those questions taken in different jurisdictions. Although the court in Pemex described its reasoning as consistent with prior U.S. federal appellate decisions in which courts have considered a set-aside award, Pemex in fact suggests a new approach. It moved towards embracing a “judgments” standard, which one of the authors had previously advocated. However, the opinion also left open serious questions and raised a few red flags, such as by suggesting that the standard of review for district court decisions confirming set-aside awards is “abuse of discretion.” The authors explore the significance of these and other aspects of the Pemex decision.

Date of Authorship for this Version

Summer 6-2017