PCA Case No. AA917
1. This challenge arises out of an arbitration between Zeph Investments Pte. Ltd. (the "Claimant") and the Commonwealth of Australia (the "Respondent", and together with the Claimant, the "Parties") under the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area, signed on 27 February 2009 ("AANZFTA"), and the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, as revised in 2021 ("UNCITRAL Rules").
COMMENCEMENT OF THE ARBITRATION AND CONSTITUTION OF THE TRIBUNAL
2. By Notice of Arbitration dated 28 May 2023 ("Notice of Arbitration"), the Claimant commenced arbitration proceedings against the Respondent pursuant to Articles 20 and 21(1)(d) of Chapter 11 of the AANZFTA, and Article 3 of the UNCITRAL Rules. In its Notice of Arbitration, the Claimant alleges, amongst other things, that the Respondent has breached its obligations under Articles 6 and 9 of Chapter 11 of the AANZFTA, in connection with the Government of Queensland's decision to grant an environmental offset to a direct competitor of the Claimant over land in which the Claimant's subsidiary had certain coal exploration permits.1
3. Further to Articles 18(4) and 23(3) of Chapter 11 of the AANZFTA, the Parties agreed that the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ("Secretary-General" or "I") shall act as appointing authority in the proceedings.
4. In its Notice of Arbitration, the Claimant appointed Dr. Charles Poncet, a Swiss national, as the first arbitrator.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Dr. Hab. Marcin Czepelak, the Appointing Authority in this matter, after having considered the submissions of the Parties and the comments of the challenged arbitrator, and having established to my satisfaction my competence to decide this challenge in accordance with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2021,
HEREBY dismiss the challenge brought against Dr. Charles Poncet.
Done at The Hague, the Netherlands on 26 September 2023.
Dr. Hab. Marcin Czepelak