The Nicosia District Court recently set aside two arbitral awards after it found that the arbitrator had misconducted himself in the proceedings. While instances of arbitrator misconduct are limited, the obvious disregard for procedure which restricts the fair treatment of parties will always be upheld by the courts. Practitioners should therefore endeavour to assist arbitrators to ensure that due procedure is followed.
In a recent case the applicant applied for the registration in Cyprus of two arbitral awards issued against the respondents. The respondents challenged the application on the grounds that the relevant documents had not been translated by an official, sworn translator, as required by law. The court agreed and rejected the application. Practitioners must ensure compliance with the provisions for the translation of arbitral awards during the application stage.
An arbitration award may be enforced under the International Commercial Arbitration Law, which covers all matters related to international commercial arbitration. Under the law an arbitral award is recognised as binding, irrespective of the country in which it was issued. The party seeking execution must file an application at court with an original copy of the arbitral award and the arbitration agreement.
The Cypriot courts have adopted a pro-arbitration approach and usually give effect to arbitration agreements. However, there are instances in which one party may be allowed to circumvent an arbitration agreement and take advantage of the court's jurisdiction. An effective arbitration clause or agreement should be in writing, be broad in scope and be as clear and unambiguous as possible.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed its pro-arbitration approach regarding applications for a stay of proceedings in a decision concerning a loan agreement with an arbitration clause stating that disputes between the parties would be resolved by the Norwegian Arbitration Court. The court rejected the claimant's argument that the arbitration clause was void due to uncertainty.
In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court held that the legal scope of the term 'arbitrator misconduct' does not cover the legal interpretation of documents. According to Article 20(2) of the Arbitration Law, an arbitration award may be set aside where an arbitrator has misconducted himself or herself or the proceedings, or when the award has been improperly procured.
The Supreme Court recently issued a certiorari decree to repeal an arbitration judgment from a Korean court. The applicant argued that a civil court decree which enforced the Korean ruling was unlawful, as a decision from a foreign court is recognised only when at least one of the parties stays within the territory of the civil court. The parties in question were registered in China and Korea.
In Uralmetprom v Besuno Ltd, the Supreme Court held that an application based on an arbitration award which had not been registered or recognised in Cyprus was destined to fail, since the award was not enforceable. The case concerned the filing of an application to wind up a company on behalf of a creditor whose capacity as such was based on an arbitration ruling which was not registered or recognised in Cyprus.
In a recent case the applicant requested an interlocutory order preventing the first respondents from disposing of assets of the second respondent's company until a full hearing before arbitration forums in Stockholm and London. The first respondents disputed the Cypriot court's jurisdiction to grant such orders as the applicants sought orders against respondents that were not parties to the arbitrations under consideration.
According to Supreme Court case law, registration of an arbitral judgment in order to be executed is procedural in nature. Therefore, the court is limited to examining the procedural requirements for registration and cannot address any substantive issues related to the correctness of the arbitral award.
In a recent case before the Nicosia District Court, the applicant requested a court order for the registration of an earlier arbitral decision for execution purposes. During the application hearing, the court noted that the Arbitration Act provides for the possibility of registering an arbitral decision, and determines the registration process after permission is granted by the court.
In a recent application before the Nicosia District Court, the applicant sought recognition and enforcement of a decision issued by the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC) at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in December 2011. The respondent filed an objection arguing that an original or true copy of the decision issued by the ICAC had not been submitted together with the application.
The Nicosia District Court recently outlined certain principles related to the institution of arbitration and mentioned various cases that determine the philosophy, spirit, level and manner of approach which the courts should apply when dealing with the identification, registration and execution of arbitration decisions, and also with decisions of international arbitration courts.
Arbitral decisions or awards that have been granted in foreign countries can be enforced in Cyprus by virtue of the International Commercial Arbitration Law, which covers all matters pertaining to international commercial arbitration. An order may be issued by the court in relation to the execution of any foreign arbitral decision once a written application to this effect has been filed by any of the parties.
As a member of the European Community, Cyprus is bound by the Regulation on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters. Therefore, a worldwide freezing order or other order issued by an arbitral tribunal of any EU member state will be recognised by the courts of Cyprus without the need for special procedures, subject to certain limitations.
The definition of 'commercial arbitration' under international law was the focus of a recent Nicosia District Court decision. Although the definition is very wide and encompasses a multitude of relationships, including professional cooperation, it is not exhaustive. The court therefore had to consider whether a shareholders' agreement was covered by the definition, despite not being explicitly mentioned in the relevant law.
In a recent judgment, the Nicosia District Court clarified important aspects of the International Commercial Arbitration Law and its application. The law provides a mechanism through which the Cypriot courts are given wide powers to issue interim mandatory, prohibitive and/or freezing orders in aid of international commercial arbitration that has been commenced or is about to commence.