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Dec 19, 2016

Will U.S. Supreme Court side with Belize in arbitration dispute?

Eamon Courtenay

Will the Government of Belize persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to listen to its arguments to dismiss an arbitration award granted to Belize Social Development Limited in 2009? A decision is pending, but a major blow came when the United States’ acting Solicitor General, Ian Heath Gershengorn advised the U.S. Supreme Court via affidavit to refuse to hear an appeal that the Government of Belize has asked to file so it does not have to pay out thirty-eight million Belize dollars to B.S.D.L., or failing that, have Belize assets in the U.S. seized. The award was given by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and upheld by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Financial Secretary Joseph Waight has confirmed that accrued interest now puts the figure owed at roughly at seventy-five million dollars. Following the Senate meeting on Thursday, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay spoke about Gershengorn’s intervention.


Eamon Courtenay, Senior Counsel

“The Solicitor General a couple weeks ago made his submission in writing to the Supreme Court and in a very compelling a persuasive submission said that there is absolutely no need for the Supreme Court to take up the appeal of the government. In effect he is saying there is no merit in the argument and that the sure court should refuse to give them permission to take the matter up in the Supreme Court. The answer to that question, whether the supreme court will take up the case will be know in the first quarter of next year.”


The Government is seeking a writ of certiorari, the right to file a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is not offered as of right and indeed in only a selected number of cases.


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