The Orinoco Steamship Company case (United States of America / Venezuela)
Pursuant to an agreement dated February 17, 1903, a mixed commission was charged with deciding claims presented by U.S. citizens against Venezuela. All questions on which the commissioners were in disagreement were to be finally settled by an umpire. One such question was a claim presented by the steamship company Orinoco. The Government of the United States of America refused to recognize the umpire's decision in relation to this claim, as it considered it to be void due to the excess of jurisdiction and numerous errors of law and fact. The Government of Venezuela maintained that the decision was both valid and final. The two governments referred this dispute to arbitration.
First, the Tribunal was to decide whether the umpire's award was not void and, and whether it had to be considered so conclusive as to preclude a re-examination of the case on its merits. If the Tribunal decided that the award was not final, then it would re-examine the case and render a decision on the merits in conformity with justice and equity.
The Tribunal upheld the umpire's award on certain points, but ruled that in relation to other points the umpire's award was invalid due to excessive exercise of power because the umpire had misinterpreted the provisions of the arbitration agreement. Since the Tribunal's award resulted in upholding certain claims of the United States of America which the umpire had rejected, the Tribunal deemed it equitable to allow part of the sum claimed by the U.S.A. in counsel fees and expenses, which the Tribunal fixed ex aequo et bono at US$ 7,000. The Tribunal ordered Venezuela to pay interest at the rate fixed in Venezuelean law which was three per cent.
|Name(s) of Claimant(s)|
|Name(s) of Respondent(s)||()|
|Names of Parties||-|
|Administering institution||Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)|
|Type of case||Inter-state arbitration|
|Subject matter or economic sector||- Other -|
|Rules used in arbitral proceedings||- Other -|
|Treaty or contract under which proceedings were commenced||
|Language of Proceeding||English|
|Seat of Arbitration (by Country)||- N/A -|
Mr. H. Lammasch
Mr. A.M.F. Beernaert
Mr. G. de Quesada
|Representatives of the Claimant(s)||-|
|Representatives of the Respondent(s)||-|
|Representatives of the Parties|
|Number of Arbitrators in case||3|
|Date of commencement of proceeding||13 February 1909|
|Date of issue of final award||25 October 1910|
|Length of Proceedings||1-2 years|