Newly engaged by a Hong Kong software/web design firm, Marc J. Goldstein Litigation & Arbitration Chambers last week commenced an action in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan for appointment of arbitrator under Section 5 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). The dispute involves a New York City firm for which the Hong Kong company supplied software and performed design and installation services.
The contract in question provides that it will be governed and construed in accordance with Hong Kong law. It further provides that the parties will settle disputes through arbitration, but specifies no method to appoint an arbitrator –neither directly nor by adoption of arbitration rules.
The petition alleges, among other things, that Hong Kong’s Arbitration Ordinance only designates a competent authority to make arbitral appointments in international cases (the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre) when the parties have agreed that Hong Kong will be the juridical seat of the arbitration. The petition further alleges that the U.S. court should enforce the agreement to arbitrate under the New York Convention, in accordance with the FAA, by appointing an arbitrator to hear the case.