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ARBITRATION WORLD Obstacles When Arbitrating Joint Venture Disputes By Johann von Pachelbel and Tobias Kopp (Frankfurt) A. INTRODUCTION The opposing party’s financial standing is certainly one of the key considerations when choosing a respondent from several potential respondents for arbitration. If a claimant finds himself in the comfortable situation where more than one entity may be held liable for the claim in question, the claimant should still carefully consider whether all entities have been validly included in the arbitration agreement. Being liable for the very same claim does not necessarily mean that all debtors are at the same time parties to the arbitration agreement. At the stage of drafting the arbitration agreement, one needs to assess which entities have to be included in such an agreement to avoid future surprises during the arbitration or the enforcement of an arbitral award. This may particularly apply when the counterparty is a joint venture as a recent judgment of the German Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe (dated July 23, 2013—file no. 8 Sch 2/12) illustrates. B. THE CASE BEFORE THE HIGHER REGIONAL COURT KARLSRUHE The Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe’s judgment (the “Court”), referred to above, dealt with an application to enforce an ICC award rendered by an arbitral tribunal seated in Switzerland. The parties to the ICC arbitration were a Turkish subcontractor to a major construction project in Qatar as claimant and a German-Qatari joint venture as respondent. The claimant’s application for enforcement was solely directed against the German company being part of the joint venture. The Court rejected the claimant’s application based on the following reasoning: 37