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New York courts presiding over international disputes now have the authority to issue such provisional remedies as attachments and preliminary injunctions in both domestic and foreign arbitrations under legislation signed by Gov. George E. Pataki last week. The legislation, long promoted by the International Commercial Dispute Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, brings New York law into line with laws and customs of other states and nations, as well as the rules of international and national arbitration groups. It was drafted to address a longstanding but controversial interpretation of �7502(c) of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules in which the Court of Appeals said state courts could issue orders of attachment and preliminary injunctions only in the aid of purely domestic arbitration cases (see Cooper v. Ateliers de la Motobecane, 57 NY2d 408 [1982]). “This restriction prejudices the rights of New York citizens and companies whose international commercial disputes are arbitrated in New York because it denies them access to these vital provisional remedies, which currently are available only in purely domestic arbitrations,” Sen. John A. DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, sponsor of the bill, S4837, said in his justification message. DeFrancisco said the “lack of symmetry” meant that U.S. nationals “can be and are subject to these types of provisional remedies under foreign laws in foreign jurisdictions, but are deprived of the opportunity to seek the protections of these provisional remedies under New York law from New York courts.” That made New York a “less desirable jurisdiction for the resolution of international commercial disputes” and diminished the state’s role as “an important international center for the arbitration of major commercial disputes,” the senator said in his bill justification. The law, which is effective immediately, does not change the standards under which provisional remedies are granted under �7503. Rather, it permits New York courts to issue orders of attachment and preliminary injunctions in all appropriate cases. In a report last fall, the International Commercial Dispute Committee said the “narrow restriction on the power of the New York courts” essentially forced New York plaintiffs to “sue in federal court on a contract governed by New York law in order to obtain effective relief.” Lawrence W. Newman, chairman of the city bar committee and a partner at Baker & McKenzie in Manhattan, said the bar group had been seeking to amend the law for years.

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