News, Events and Updates

April 2024

Case Law Digestion Series

In the Sierra Leone mining licence dispute, significant developments have taken place regarding the suspension and cancellation of a large-scale mining licence and licence agreement granted to SL Mining Ltd (SL) by the government. This post highlights key rulings and issues that have emerged throughout the dispute.
Republic of Sierra Leone v SL Mining Ltd: Key Developments in the Sierra Leone Mining Licence Dispute
Implications and Future Outlook
The developments highlights the importance of clear contractual language, adherence to procedural protocols, and the proper interpretation of dispute resolution clauses in commercial agreements. The rulings provide guidance on jurisdictional nuances and the role of arbitrators in resolving complex disputes. They also set a precedent for future arbitration cases in the mining sector and beyond.

The judgments clarify that compliance with a multi-tier dispute resolution clause is a question of admissibility, not jurisdiction, and should be determined by the tribunal, not the court. This aligns English law with the positions taken in the United States and Singapore and favored by international commentary.

It has been also emphasised a purposive and commercially sensible approach to interpreting multi-tier dispute resolution clauses. If the purpose of a cooling-off period is not achievable, such as when an amicable settlement is highly unlikely, the court may not consider it an absolute bar to commencing arbitral proceedings.

However, the decisions do not suggest that claimants can ignore escalation requirements in dispute resolution clauses without risk. Tribunals still have the discretion to find that a claimant has breached the terms of the escalation clause, which could result in remedies such as a stay of proceedings or cost sanctions.

The consequences of breaching an escalation clause could be significant. A tribunal may order a stay of proceedings and impose cost sanctions, or even dismiss an RFA as premature. In the latter case, the tribunal's mandate would end, and the parties would need to appoint a new tribunal after complying with the escalation clause. This could have adverse effects on the suspension of limitation periods.

Therefore, parties are advised to comply with multi-tier dispute resolution provisions whenever possible to avoid potential risks and consequences associated with non-compliance.
Jurisdiction/Admissibility Issue
The court addressed the government's challenge regarding the alleged prematurity of the arbitration claim and clarified that it was not a jurisdictional matter but rather a question of admissibility. The court emphasised that determinations regarding compliance with conditions precedent should be made by the arbitrators themselves. The court relied on the guidance provided by the Chartered Institute of Arbitration Practice, recognising that arbitrators are in the best position to decide such matters. By deferring to the expertise of the arbitrators, the court affirmed the importance of allowing them to make determinations on issues related to the admissibility of claims in arbitral proceedings.

Consent/Waiver Issue
The court acknowledged that the claimant had given its consent to the jurisdiction of the emergency arbitrator. However, the court noted that by insisting on the service of the Request for Arbitration (RFA) on August 30, the claimant effectively waived the three-month settlement period provided for in the contract. The court emphasised that the claimant had a clear understanding of the contractual provisions governing the timing of arbitration proceedings. This highlighted the claimant's awareness and agreement to proceed with arbitration without waiting for the expiration of the settlement period.

Clause 6.9(c) Compliance
In analysing the case, the court focused on the interpretation of clause 6.9(c) of the mining license agreement, which specifically dealt with the parties' ability to achieve an amicable settlement. After careful examination, the court determined that as of August 30, it was objectively evident that reaching an amicable settlement by the specified deadline of October 14 was not feasible. Consequently, the court concluded that there was no breach of clause 6.9(c) by the party involved.
Ruling on Jurisdiction Challenge
On 2 February 2021, the government of Sierra Leone's challenge to the jurisdiction of the arbitrators was dismissed under Section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (Sierra Leone v SL Mining Ltd [2021] EWHC 286 (Comm) 2021 WL 00536678). The dispute centered around SL Mining Ltd's claims and the government's actions regarding the mining licence.

Application for Indemnity Costs
Subsequently, on 16 April 2021, SL Mining Ltd pursued an application for indemnity costs against the Republic of Sierra Leone following Sierra Leone's discontinuance of its second challenge under Section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (The Republic of Sierra Leone v SL Mining Limited [2021] EWHC 929 (Comm)). This application was based on Sierra Leone’s reliance on a foreign act of state doctrine after the dismissal of its initial challenge.

Court’s Decision on Indemnity Costs
The court ruled in favor of SL Mining Ltd, ordering Sierra Leone to pay indemnity costs. Sierra Leone's persistent non-compliance with orders and failure to meet payment deadlines were cited as reasons for this decision. Despite having funds available for other purposes, Sierra Leone evaded agreed sanctions for non-payment. The court declined a summary assessment of costs but ordered an interim payment on account of £210,000. The parties were invited to agree on payment terms.

The core issue revolved around the interpretation of Clause 6.9(c) in the mining license agreement (MLA), which delineated the steps for resolving disputes. According to this clause, if a settlement couldn't be reached within three months of a written notice of dispute, either party could escalate the issue to a board of arbitrators following ICC rules.

After the mining company issued a notice of dispute on 14 July 2019 and subsequently requested arbitration (RFA) on 30 August 2019, the government contested the jurisdictional timing, arguing that arbitration could not begin before 14 October 2019, three months post the notice of dispute. Nevertheless, the arbitrators dismissed this argument, confirming their jurisdiction as outlined in Clause 6.9(c) of the MLA. This decision highlights the critical role of precise contractual language and adherence to established dispute resolution protocols within commercial agreements.

Key Issues and Rulings

Firm News / Events, Seminars & Conferences

We are delighted to announce that the highly anticipated English Law Day took place in Istanbul on 17 April 2024, against the backdrop of the captivating view of the Bosphorus.

Organised by the Eurasian Legal Professionals’ Forum, in collaboration with The Bar Council of England & Wales, this conference brought together legal professionals from all over the world.

The event kicked off with a video greeting from Sam Townend KC, Chairman of the Bar Council. Mr Townend emphasised the flexibility of English commercial law and highlighted the advantages of England & Wales as a key jurisdiction for litigation and arbitration.

English Law Day in Istanbul

A strong contingent of Belgravia Law team members, including Shantanu Majumdar KC, Ceyda Ilgen and Benjamin Wells had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the conference.

Throughout the conference, esteemed speakers delved into a wide range of topics that hold specific relevance to the ever-evolving landscape of arbitration in Europe and Asia. Engaging discussions covered emerging trends, recent case studies and best practices in arbitration.
We extend our appreciation to all of the speakers for their presentations and to the participants for their active engagement. Please stay tuned for further updates and developments.
The conference also served as a platform for networking, enabling participants to expand their knowledge and establish new connections within the international legal community.

Belgravia Law at Istanbul Arbitration Days

Belgravia Law had the privilege of participating in the İstanbul Arbitration Days between 18-19 April 2024, at the prestigious Çırağan Palace Kempinski. The event served as a platform to bring together esteemed panelists who shared valuable insights and expertise on the latest developments in the field of arbitration.

The side events organised during the conference were equally impressive, held at wonderful venues that added to the overall experience.

One notable highlight was Belgravia Law’s attendance at the opening reception of the event, held at the historic Pera Palace Hotel. This iconic hotel holds a special place in history as it welcomed Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the visionary founder of the Republic of Türkiye.

Additionally, renowned crime novelist Agatha Christie found inspiration within the hotel’s walls, authoring her famous novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ during her stays. Room 411 has been dedicated in her honor.
The hotel’s legacy also includes the stays of other notable figures such as Ernest Hemingway and Greta Garbo. The elegance and cultural significance of the Pera Palace Hotel made the event truly captivating.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the organisers for their exceptional efforts in bringing together such a remarkable run of events and allowing us to be a part of it.
Another memorable occasion was the GC reception at Yerebatan Sarnıcı, also known as the Basilica Cistern, a hidden treasure which takes you back in time, being the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lay hidden beneath Istanbul. Located 150 metres southwest of the Hagia Sophia it was built in the 6th century during the reign of Justinian the First. Its magnificent architecture, adorned with majestic columns and tranquil waters, creates an atmosphere of enchantment and wonder. The unique and historical features of Yerebatan Sarnıcı made for an exceptional evening.

Announcement: English Law Day in Belgrade

Belgravia Law is thrilled to announce its participation in the upcoming English Law Day, scheduled to take place in Belgrade on 12 June 2024. This event provides a unique opportunity for legal professionals to meet and engage in meaningful discussions.
12 JUNE 2024

English Law Day

The English Law Day conferences are organised by the Eurasian Legal Professionals’ Forum in collaboration with the Bar Council of England & Wales, aimed at fostering professional connections among lawyers in Eurasia.

Each conference serves as a platform for open discussions on significant cross-border issues that arise in international practice, as well as an opportunity to exchange information on emerging concepts in the legal industry.
The conference will touch on a number of key themes, including:

  1. Sanctions and their impact on transport, trade, transactions and the disputes which arise from them;
  2. Investor state and international commercial arbitration in Serbia and further afield;
  3. Dispute resolution, awards and their enforcement through innovative investigations and funding;
  4. Combating corruption and fraud through the use of international legal mechanisms.
Following the latest success of the English Law Day in Istanbul, we eagerly anticipate participating in this remarkable gathering together of legal minds from diverse jurisdictions in Serbia. It promises to be an enriching and insightful event for all attendees.
We are particularly excited about the opportunity to connect with fellow legal professionals who will be attending the English Law Day in Belgrade.

FAQs Series: What are the Top International Arbitration Institutions?

In today’s era of alternative dispute resolution, various institutions have emerged globally to provide specialised arbitration services. These institutions bring their expertise in managing and facilitating arbitration processes, ensuring fair and efficient resolutions for commercial disputes.

In this blog post, we will delve into some of the prominent international arbitration institutions, their significance, and unique characteristics, through a series of questions and answers.

Key Questions and Answers on Most Popular International Arbitration Institutions

Why are these institutions significant?
These institutions hold significant importance as they meet the global demand for arbitration services. With their expertise, experience, and established procedures, they instill confidence in parties involved in commercial disputes. These institutions provide a neutral and structured environment for resolving conflicts, ensuring impartiality and efficiency.
What are the most preminent arbitration centres worldwide, their characteristics and importance?
There are several highly regarded arbitration institutions worldwide, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are some of the most prominent international arbitration centres, their positions and importance:
International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration (ICC)
The ICC holds a distinguished position in the field of arbitration. It is globally renowned for its influential role and expertise in resolving international commercial disputes. The ICC Court administers arbitrations under its own ICC Arbitration Rules, facilitated by a diverse panel of experienced arbitrators. The institution’s unwavering commitment to neutrality, confidentiality, and effective case management further enhances its reputation as the preferred entity for dealing with intricate cross-border disputes.
Established in 1923
Paris, France
London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
The LCIA plays a significant role in the field as a leading institution KNOWN for its impartial and efficient resolution of commercial disputes. With a rich history dating back to 1892, the LCIA offers a comprehensive range of services, including arbitration, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution. The institution operates under the well-crafted LCIA Arbitration Rules, providing a robust framework that ensures the smooth conduct of arbitration proceedings. The LCIA's global significance is further bolstered by its reputation for excellence, a distinguished panel of experienced arbitrators, and its advantageous location in London.
Established in 1892
London, United Kingdom
London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA)
LMAA is a renowned organisation established in 1960, located in London, United Kingdom. With roots dating back over 300 years, the LMAA plays a vital role in commercial maritime dispute resolution, offering a diverse range of expert arbitrators and governing arbitration procedures under the Arbitration Act 1996. The LMAA's reputation as a leading institution in the field is upheld through its commitment to fair and impartial arbitration, making it a trusted authority for resolving disputes in the maritime industry.
Established in 1960
London, United Kingdom
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
Hong Kong, serving as a prominent gateway between East and West, has emerged as a significant destination for arbitration. The HKIAC, founded in 1985, has played a pivotal role in facilitating international arbitration in the region. Operating under the HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules, this institution provides comprehensive services and is supported by a successful panel of experienced arbitrators. The combination of Hong Kong's robust legal framework, multicultural environment, and ease of accessibility contributes to its appeal as a preferred choice for the resolution of cross-border disputes.
Established in 1985
Hong Kong
Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
SIAC has played a pivotal role in establishing Singapore as a prominent arbitration hub. Founded in 1991, the SIAC provides a neutral and efficient platform for the resolution of commercial disputes. Operating under its own SIAC Arbitration Rules, the institution offers parties access to a pool of experienced arbitrators and a supportive case management system. With its strategic geographical location, robust legal framework, and dedication to innovation, the SIAC has become a preferred option for the resolution of international disputes. The SIAC’s characteristics of neutrality, efficiency, and accessibility, combined with Singapore's reputation as a pro-arbitration jurisdiction, have contributed to its importance in the field of international arbitration.
Established in 1991
American Arbitration Association (AAA) and International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR)
The American Arbitration Association (AAA) and its International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) are highly regarded institutions that facilitate both domestic and international dispute resolution. The AAA-ICDR provides comprehensive services, encompassing arbitration, mediation, and other dispute resolution processes. With a history dating back to 1926, it operates under various sets of rules, including the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules and the ICDR International Arbitration Rules. The AAA-ICDR's extensive panel of arbitrators and unwavering commitment to maintaining quality and efficiency further solidify its prominent role in the resolution of commercial disputes.
Established in 1926
New York, United States
Swiss Chamber's Arbitration Institution (SCAI)
Switzerland has a renowned tradition of excellence in arbitration, and the SCAI stands as a testament to this reputation. Established in 2004, SCAI is entrusted with administering arbitrations under its own set of rules. Operating from Switzerland, a country esteemed for its neutrality and stability, SCAI offers a reliable and efficient platform for the resolution of both national and international disputes. One of its distinguishing characteristics lies in its close association with the Swiss Chambers of Commerce, enabling SCAI to leverage their expertise and extensive networks to enhance its services.
Established in 2004
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
ICSID stands as the foremost institution dedicated to international investment dispute resolution. With its extensive experience in this domain, ICSID has administered the majority of international investment cases. Widely accepted by states as the preferred forum for investor-state dispute settlement, it is included in numerous international investment treaties, laws, and contracts. As one of the five organisations within the World Bank Group, ICSID provides a specialised platform for the conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes, ensuring fairness and neutrality. Its comprehensive framework, including the ICSID Convention and related provisions, contributes to the stability and predictability of international investment relations.
Established in 1966
Washington DC, United States
Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC)
The SCC Arbitration Institute, established since 1917, is characterised by its provision of arbitration and mediation services to Swedish and international parties seeking to resolve disputes outside of the public courtroom. It serves as a neutral, independent, and impartial venue for commercial dispute resolution worldwide. The institute has developed the SCC Arbitrator's Guidelines, which streamline and facilitate the arbitration procedure, serving as a practical tool and source of information for arbitrators presiding over SCC arbitrations. The SCC’s importance lies in its longstanding history, commitment to neutrality, and the guidance it provides to arbitrators in ensuring effective and efficient dispute resolution.
Established in 1917
Stockholm, Sweden
German Institution of Arbitration (DIS)
The DIS is featured by its longstanding promotion of arbitration as a preferred method for dispute resolution, both in Germany and internationally. Established in 1920, DIS administers arbitration proceedings under its own set of rules. It is recognised for its commitment to efficiency and procedural flexibility, offering parties a reliable platform for resolving commercial disputes. The DIS’s notable strength lies in its extensive experience in both domestic and international arbitration. The DIS's characteristics of promoting arbitration, emphasis on efficiency, and broad expertise contribute to its importance as an institution for resolving commercial disputes in Germany and beyond.
Established in 1920
Istanbul Arbitration Centre (ISTAC)
The Istanbul Arbitration Centre (ISTAC) is an independent institution providing efficient dispute resolution services for both international and domestic parties. The ISTAC’s dispute resolution services are available to all contracting parties, without any membership requirements. The ISTAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules, which came into effect in October 2015, incorporate modern institutional rules and address the contemporary needs of arbitration and mediation proceedings. The rules introduce innovative and efficient provisions, and ISTAC offers additional services such as Fast Track Arbitration, Emergency Arbitrator, and appointments of arbitrators in ad hoc procedures. ISTAC arbitral awards are binding and enforceable worldwide, underscoring their significance and efficacy in facilitating effective dispute resolution.
Established in 2015
Istanbul, Turkiye
In this blog post, we highlighted some of the most prominent arbitration institutions worldwide through question and answer series by emphasising their background, characteristics, and importance.

We are pleased to note that as Belgravia Law, we currently have active cases with prominent international centres, including the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) and Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC). This demonstrates our commitment to working with esteemed institutions and our dedication to providing exceptional arbitration services to our clients.


At Belgravia Law, we understand the significance of effective business-to-business (B2B) meetings in fostering mutually beneficial relationships and achieving your professional goals. Meetings that are properly organised can help keep colleagues’ attention and promote collaborative brainstorming opportunities to maximise the potential of every interaction.

In this edition of our newsletter, we aim to provide 7 practical tips and insights on how to conduct effective B2B meetings.

How to Make Successful Business-to-Business Meetings: Seven Practical Suggestions

Thoroughly researching the company or professional you are meeting with is significant. Familiarise yourself with their business model, industry trends, recent news and any relevant legal issues. This knowledge will demonstrate your commitment and enable you to tailor your approach accordingly. Being well-informed positions you as a valuable resource and helps build credibility during the meeting.

1. Research, Research, Research:

Clearly define your objectives for the meeting. Are you seeking new partnerships, negotiating contracts, or exploring potential collaborations? Defining your meeting objectives allows you to prioritise and allocate time and resources appropriately, ensuring that the meeting remains purposeful and productive. By setting specific goals, you can effectively communicate your intentions to all participants, align expectations, and work towards achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.

2. Define Your Objectives:

An elevator pitch is a concise and impactful introduction that effectively communicates who you are, what your law firm specialises in, and how your services can add value to the potential client's business. It should be brief enough to deliver within the span of an elevator ride, yet powerful enough to leave a lasting impression. Craft a concise and compelling elevator pitch that clearly communicates with participants. Practice it until it becomes second nature, allowing you to confidently present your firm’s unique selling points.

3. Prepare an Elevator Pitch:

Put yourself in the shoes of the other party and anticipate the questions, concerns, or objections they might raise during the meeting. By taking a proactive approach and considering their perspective, you can prepare well-thought-out responses that address their needs and showcase your expertise. This level of preparation will not only instill confidence in the potential client but also enable you to navigate the conversation smoothly and build trust.

4. Anticipate Questions and Objections:

Share a detailed agenda well in advance of the meeting. Include the topics to be discussed, time allocations for each item, and any pre-reading materials. This allows participants to come prepared and ensures that the meeting stays on track. Begin and end meetings on time to demonstrate respect for everyone's schedules. Allocate specific time slots for each agenda item and encourage participants to stick to the allocated time. This ensures that all important topics are covered within the meeting's timeframe.

5. Prepare and Share Agendas:

Dress appropriately for the meeting, considering the industry and cultural context. Aim for a professional appearance that reflects your law firm's brand and instills confidence in your potential clients. It will be also helpful for setting a positive tone during the meetings.

6. Dress Professionally:

During the meeting, practice active listening to demonstrate genuine interest and foster meaningful engagement. Create a welcoming environment where participants feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions. By attentively listening and being present in the conversation, you can tailor your responses and solutions effectively. Encourage active participation from all attendees to ensure a collaborative and inclusive discussion. Consider implementing techniques like round-robin discussions or designated speaking turns to ensure that everyone's input is heard and valued.

7. Practice Active Listening:

Staying in Touch
Going forward, we will use this newsletter to share insight and analysis of the legal landscape across our specialist areas of litigation, international arbitration, sanctions and more, and we look forward to working with you in the future!

For more information or any enquiries, please reach out here: [email protected].