This article analyses a qualitative sample of recent judicial decisions from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Peru. Almost all decisions in the sample show ordinary courts’ deference towards arbitration. As long as the courts operate within the framework established by the UNCITRAL Model Law or the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, arbitral awards enjoy a high level of autonomy and protection against unjustified attacks. This allows for conclusion that Latin America isn’t ‘Going South’ on its path into global arbitration realm.
At the same time, in almost all jurisdictions included in the sample, Constitutional courts and Tribunals and constitutional actions for protection of fundamental rights play an extremely – indeed excessively – relevant role. Admittedly, these constitutional actions have been mainly unsuccessful and have not led to amendments of arbitral awards. Nonetheless, its sole availability generates legal uncertainty and undermines the reliability of arbitration as a mechanism of dispute resolution. It seems to be the last hurdle that Latin American countries will have to overcome before they are considered safe and appealing seats for international arbitration.Journal of International Arbitration