Supreme Court of Justice (Portugal) | Hierarchical Competent Court to Recognise Foreign Arbitral Awards | 25-02-2014 | Case #037

Supreme Court of Justice
Date: 25-02-2014
Case Nr. 29/13.9YRPRT.S1
LINK DGSI

Headlines

In proceedings commenced before the new arbitration law entered into force, all foreign awards and all decisions by foreign courts were to be reviewed and confirmed by Portuguese courts.

Similarly, in proceedings commenced after the new arbitration law entered into force, all foreign awards are to be reviewed and confirmed by Portuguese courts.

Summary:

  1. Originally, Art. 1094(1) of the CPC required all decisions by foreign courts and arbitrators to be ‘reviewed and confirmed’, before they could become effective in Portugal. Law no. 63/2011, of 14 December, changed this requirement, and turned the focus of this requirement upon any “decision on private rights, issued abroad by arbitrators“.
  2. Art. 978(1) of the new Code of Civil Procedure retains the same wording, and thereby waives the review requirement by the Courts of Appeal as a prerequisite for effectiveness in cases of foreign “court decisions”. However, this requirement continues to stand for any awards made abroad by arbitrators.
  3. In order to ascertain the court with the competence to decide upon the recognition of a foreign arbitral award, the date on which the arbitration proceedings have commenced ought to be kept in mind, instead of the date of commencement of the recognition procedure.
  4. The amendment introduced to Art. 1094, paragraph 1, of the CPC, by Law no. 63/2011, of 14 December has led to an alteration in the hierarchical competencies of various courts. In the case of a judicial decision coming from a state court, the court with competence to decide upon its revision is the court of appeal. On the other hand, the court with the competence to decide the recognition of a foreign arbitral award is the court of first instance.

NB – This understanding applies only to arbitral awards made in proceedings commenced before the enter into force of the new arbitration law (14-03-2012)

This case summary was kindly prepared by Sameer Thakur (sameerthakur@live.in, NALSAR University of Law), Rishabh Raheja, (rishabharaheja@gmail.com, NALSAR University of Law), and Abhishek Babbar (abhishekbabbar1996@gmail.com).

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