Rezensionen juristischer Literatur

New York Convention – A Commentary

Wolff (ed.), New York Convention. Commentary, 2012, C.H.Beck-Hart-Nomos

A review about:

Wolff | New York Convention | Cover

Reinmar Wolff (ed.)

New York Convention

Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement

of Foreign Arbitral Awards of the 10 June 1958


Second Edition

 Munich-Oxford-Baden-Baden: C.H.Beck – Hart – Nomos, 2020, 721 p.

ISBN 978-3-406-71445-0 (Beck)

ISBN 978-1-5099-2385-4 (Hart Publishing)

ISBN 978-3-8487-4592-0 (Nomos)


We are living in a world which is more and more characterised by globalised trade and commerce, surely with well known social restrictions. On the other hand national judicial services in such cases are deteriorating, with exemptions and great differences from State to State. Without any doubts, for more than 50 years arbitration has become a central dispute resolution mechanism of choice in crossborder commercial transactions. Most of all trade – agreements exclude Jurisdiction by State – as far as possible – in favour of international arbitration. ICC – Courts are a good example for this and they are doing very fine work. These Arbitration Courts facilitate transnational enforceability of awards far beyond the enforceability of state court judgements. This is one of the reasons why there are a lack of decisions in international Trade Law by State Courts more and more.

The New York Convention is probably the most widely used (and most important) treaty in the field of international trade law. This Commentary offers – in a second edition; the first one dated from the year 2012 – a detailed and in-depth, and also fundamentally international, review of all sixteen articles. Even the first edition has become a renowned working tool for lawyers, scholars and courts all over the world. The second edition brings all articles up to date with the latest developments in science and practice.

The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“New York Convention“) of 10 June 1958, entering into force one year after, is the major instruments of international Arbitration worldwide. Meanwhile the NY Convention has been ratified by 147 states, including all States of the western world and the worlds leading Trade – States. Since 1959 the NY Conventions is labelled the Magna Charta of international arbitration and has become the main model for other rules comparable to this Concention.

Just to say something about the History: The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards – better known as “New York Convention” -, was adopted by a United Nations diplomatic conference on 10 June 1958. The Convention entered into force on 7 June 1959. Since that more and more international trade agreements choose this arbitration rules as legal binding for all partners to the contract. Although is it not the only model of such rules for arbitration worldwide, because there are some other international conventions, the New York Convention is by far the most important and works as an example for some other conventions.

The New York Convention has celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018. It has become the most successful (and most important) treaty in the field of international trade law and one of the cornerstones of international arbitration. The specific challenge that comes with the Convention’s global importance is ensuring that it is uniformly interpreted and applied in its roughly 160 Contracting States, especially since no single court has the power to authoritatively determine the proper understanding of the Convention.

This completely updated commentary makes the wealth of global case law and scholarly writing accessible and provides a comprehensive in-depth discussion of the Convention’s sixteen articles. It contributes to the Convention’s uniform interpretation by outlining the contemporary global discourse surrounding each element of the Convention and providing the expert opinions of the authors. Its first edition has not only become a respected point of reference for legal professionals and academics, but has also been drawn upon by courts around the world. The present second edition has updated the entire work. This was neccessary on one hand because of many new developments (f.e. not least because of the growing importance of electronic commerce). On the other hand this was necessary because of the incorporation of new case law and legal writings.  Case law and literature are evaluated in great detail and critically questioned. At the moment there are only 35 states on this earth which have not accepted the New York Convention (Annex II).

All courts of any contracting state are required “to give effect to an agreement to arbitrate when seized of an action in a matter covered by an arbitration agreement and also to recognize and enforce awards made in other States, subject to specific limited exceptions” (UNCITRAL).

The New York Convention contains of 16 articles. This very interesting new commentary of this Convention has a clear structure.  Article-by-article the reader will be guided to the issue he or she is engaged with. The new commentary adopts the civil law commentary format, so it is neither a case book nor an anthology of essays. The Convention is very well anotated article by article, so the reader will find the needed informations very quickly. Of course, all judgements under the rules of this arbitration and the scholarly writings about it are evaluated in this clear and precise commentary. The reader can find a detailled overview about the jurisdiction concerning this Convention in the “Table of Cases and Awards”. Other Conventions – f.e. the European Convention – are included, if necessary.

In the “Preliminary Remarks” the reader is given a short and precise overview about the provisions of the New York Convention, it’s objectives, their relevance, the history of the Convention, the interpretation rules and the implementing Legislation. With 147 current Contracting States under this Convention it is no wonder that there are differences in the national rules of procedure. Article for article the commentary compares the national application of the rules of this Convention. All commentaries are very well written and easy to understand. Surely, this commentary will open more minds for the use of arbitration rules and their application around the world.

If one needs a precise and compact information about the New York Convention, one can find it here. On a very high level the commentary guides the reader through all structures of the New York Convention in a very understandable style.


The New York Convention is the most successful (and most important) treaty in the field of international trade law. This commentary provides comprehensive in-depth discussion of the Convention’s sixteen articles while outlining – and contributing the expert opinions of the authors – to the contemporary global discourse surrounding each. Its first edition has not only become a respected point of reference for legal professionals and academics, but has also been drawn upon by courts around the world.

The second edition brings the treatise up to date and reflects the most recent developments. Its target group includes lawyers, in-house counsel, judges and academics.

About the editor and authors:
Dr Reinmar Wolff is an assistant professor at the University of Marburg and a practicing lawyer as well as an experienced arbitrator. The authors are specialists in arbitration and related matters:
Prof Dr Christian Borris, LL.M., Cologne; Dr Bernd Ehle, LL.M., Geneva; Todd J. Fox, LL.M., Stuttgart; Rudolf Hennecke, Cologne; Dr Angela Kölbl, Erlangen; Dr Christoph ­Liebscher, Vienna; Dr David Quinke, LL.M., Düsseldorf; Prof Dr Maxi Scherer, London; Dr Stephan Wilske, LL.M., ­Stuttgart; Dr Reinmar Wolff, Marburg.

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