In a recent case, the Supreme Court held that the requirement that specific authorisation be obtained for the person acting as a legal representative for the valid conclusion of an arbitration agreement refers only to a person acting as a proxy or an agent of the legal entity and does not refer to an organ of the legal entity – the very function of which is to represent the entity, such as the board of directors or its substitute.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that a violation of the burden of proof rules did not constitute grounds to set aside an arbitral award. This ruling is consistent with the court's previous stance when deciding whether violations of the res judicata effect could form grounds to set aside an arbitral award. It is also in line with the legislature's clear intention to limit state court control in arbitration in order to enhance its effectiveness and finality.
A recent Supreme Court decision held that an arbitration agreement may validly refer to future disputes; in such cases, the agreement must determine the definite legal relationship out of which such disputes will arise, but it is not necessary to refer to specific disputes. Further, the court held that an arbitration agreement does not extend its scope to disputes arising out of a subsequent agreement between the same parties, even if the subject matter concerns the initial agreement.
Greek courts have consistently held that arbitrators sitting under the rules of the Technical Chamber of Greece do not have jurisdiction to decide non-technical disputes; if they do so, their awards may be set aside for exceeding the jurisdiction that was conferred on them by law. A recent judgment of the Supreme Court qualifies this rule by clarifying the position with respect to incidental matters that are of a legal nature.
When a national legal provision is fixed by means of a stabilisation clause in a concession agreement, it becomes a contractual term of the agreement. Thus, any dispute relating to the application of the provision will fall under the scope of the agreement's arbitration clause. Contrary to case law, the Supreme Administrative Court recently held that the provision need not be directly incorporated into the contract; an express reference is sufficient.
In a recent decision the Supreme Court held that the place of arbitration and the law governing the main contract are important factors for determining whether the parties made a tacit choice as to which law applies to an arbitration agreement. The court also held that, in the absence of a choice of law by the parties, Greek law governs the validity of arbitration agreements relating to international commercial arbitrations held in Greece.
The Supreme Court recently settled a longstanding debate over public policy as it relates to arbitration, holding that the concept of public policy as grounds to set aside domestic arbitral awards is that of international public policy that serves the public interest, not simply individual public policy provisions that serve private interests. The judgment strengthens the pro-arbitration stance of the Greek courts.
The Supreme Court has confirmed that the principle that a valid waiver of setting-aside proceedings before an award is rendered can be implied when it is contained in an agreement ratified by law does not apply to the state, which is subject to additional requirements. The case involved a dispute between the government and a concessionaire over the construction of part of a motorway.
In a recent decision the Athens Court of Appeal held that a valid waiver of setting-aside proceedings before an award is rendered can be implied, provided that it is contained in an agreement that is ratified by law and thus acquires legal force. The case dealt with domestic arbitration law, so it remains to be seen whether such a waiver will be held valid under Greek international arbitration law.
The non-existence or invalidity of an arbitration agreement cannot be raised as grounds to challenge an arbitral award if a court has previously issued a final decision in favour of the agreement's existence or validity in the course of staying court proceedings and referring the dispute to arbitration. The Supreme Court provided clarification on this principle in a recent case arising from a construction contract.
A recent decision confirms that state courts lack jurisdiction to issue a payment order for an unpaid cheque in a dispute between the issuer and the recipient when the parties have agreed to resolve the underlying dispute through arbitration. Although the parties are expected to appeal, the judgment has undeniable value.
A recent judgment has confirmed the pro-arbitration stance of the Greek administrative courts. This becomes even more significant considering that in the area of administrative law, state intervention and the Constitution may limit the parties' contractual freedom. For example, the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not prevent the Greek state and a taxpayer from submitting tax disputes to arbitration.
Court proceedings may be stayed in cases where a preliminary matter in the proceedings is also the subject matter of a pending arbitration that does not involve the same parties, in accordance with Article 249 of the Code of Civil Procedure. A recent court decision confirms the application of Article 249 to arbitration through analogy.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed once again a long line of decisions requiring an express reference to an arbitration clause contained in a document for its valid incorporation in a different document. However, the crux of the judgment related not to the requirement for an express reference, but rather to the way in which such express reference is achieved.
A Greek court has held that, in the enforcement stage of a foreign award in an arbitration, litispendence is not a valid ground for resisting enforcement under the New York Convention. It also held that the concept of public policy, perceived as international, should be given a narrow interpretation. The case related to the non-fulfilment of three agreements for the sale of cotton, entered into by two Greek companies.
A Greek court recently considered the relationship between the Hague Convention and the New York Convention. It held that the formality of the Hague Service Convention cannot be reconciled with the flexibility of the New York Convention, which inevitably has priority as a special set of rules designed exclusively for arbitration.
In a recent case the Supreme Court recognised the broad discretion enjoyed by the arbitral tribunal, failing an agreement by the parties, to determine the rules of the arbitral procedure. In such cases the tribunal has the right to determine the arbitral procedure by selecting a mixed procedural system, in light of the needs of the parties and the particular international arbitration, avoiding any peculiarities of Greek law.
The Supreme Court recently held that an amendment of claim or counterclaim in international arbitration is admissible, provided that a series of requirements are met. A request for preventive protection, even for future disputes that are conditional on the occurrence of a certain event, is not groundless, provided that future disputes fall within the scope of the arbitration agreement.
A recent judgment held that the grounds for resisting enforcement contained in Article V of the New York Convention are exhaustive; thus, any other ground (however framed) – including the full payment of an award – is inadmissible. It was also held that a claim to compensate for legal costs incurred as a result of a breach of an arbitration agreement is capable of being resolved through arbitration.
The Athens Court of Appeal partially refused enforcement of a foreign arbitral award that awarded punitive damages (in the form of a penalty) on grounds of public policy under the New York Convention. For the first time, the global economic crisis was held to be a contributing factor in determining the excessive nature of the punitive damages, which the court ruled had violated public policy.