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What legal requirements are there for recognition of an award? Must reasons be given for the award? Does the award need to be reviewed by any other body?
According to the Code of Civil Procedure and Law 2735/1999, which incorporates the UN Commission on International Trade Model Law, an award must be in writing and signed by all arbitrators. When the arbitral tribunal has more than one arbitrator, the signatures of the majority of the tribunal are sufficient, provided that the award states the reason for the missing signatures. The award must state the place and date of the arbitration and will be deemed to have been made at that place. It must also include:
- the names of the arbitrators and parties;
- the arbitration agreement; and
- the arbitral tribunal’s decision.
The award must include reasoning, unless the parties agreed that this is unnecessary or the tribunal issues an award that records the settlement terms.
Arbitral awards are not subject to review, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.
Timeframe for delivery
Are there any time limits on delivery of the award?
An arbitral award should be rendered according to the time specified within the arbitration agreement, in the absence of which it should be completed within a reasonable period.
According to the Code of Civil Procedure, if there is a delay in the issuance of the award, either party can file a request to the single-member first-instance court to issue a decision imposing a reasonable deadline on the arbitral tribunal to deliver the award. This decision is not subject to appeal.
Does the law impose limits on the available remedies? Are some remedies not enforceable by the court?
There are no restrictions on the remedies to be awarded by an arbitral tribunal. The remedies that can be sought are similar to those pursued before a Greek court (eg, damages, specific performance and performance in kind).
What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending constitution of the tribunal?
Interim measures include:
- the granting of a guarantee;
- the conservatory attachment of assets; and
- any other type of appropriate injunction or application for the production of certain documents.
In international commercial arbitration, state courts and arbitral tribunals have concurrent jurisdiction to order interim measures. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the tribunal can, on the request of either party, order the interim measures that it deems necessary in connection with the subject matter of the arbitration. Such interim measures are enforced by state courts.
In domestic arbitration, arbitrators cannot order interim measures or modify or revoke provisional remedies granted by the courts. Only state courts can order such measures.
Can interest be awarded?
Interest is a matter of substantive law and will be granted in an award.
At what rate?
An award regarding interest should be cognisant of the interest rate limitations imposed by the substantive law chosen by the parties or, if there is no agreement by the parties, the tribunal.
Is the award final and binding?
Arbitral awards are final and binding and are not subject to appeal before a court. In domestic arbitration, the award becomes final and binding on its filing with the secretariat of the single-member first-instance court, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.
What if there are any mistakes?
The correction of any written mistakes is permissible without altering the operative part of the award. In international commercial arbitration, the interested party must file the request within 30 days of notification of the award.
Can the parties exclude by agreement any right of appeal or other recourse that the law of your jurisdiction may provide?
Before the issuance of an arbitral award, the parties cannot validly waive their right to file a claim for the setting aside of an arbitral award in court. Such waiver is void because it is a matter of public policy for arbitral awards to be subject to judicial review. A waiver of the right to challenge an arbitral award is valid when given after the issuance of the award, provided that the required corporate authorisations have been adopted in relation to legal entities waiving such right.
What is the procedure for challenging awards?
The annulment of an arbitration award is permitted in exceptional circumstances. A petition seeking to set aside an award must be filed with the court of appeal of the place of arbitration within three months from the date on which the arbitral award was received by the party filing the claim.
An arbitral award is not subject to appeal. However, in domestic arbitration cases the parties can foresee in the arbitration agreement their right to challenge the arbitral award before a different arbitral tribunal, provided that they determine the conditions, time limits and procedure applicable to the submission and examination of such a challenge.
On what grounds can parties appeal an award?
In the case of annulment of an arbitration award, the parties can file for recourse against the award on the basis of flaws emanating from the arbitration agreement or procedural flaws in the arbitral proceedings or award. The court will set aside an arbitral award if the party challenging the award proves that:
- a party to the arbitration agreement lacked the legal capacity to enter into such an agreement validly, pursuant to the substantive law; or
- the arbitration agreement is invalid pursuant to the substantive law.
Further, the award can be set aside if it is proven that:
- a party was not duly notified of an arbitrator’s appointment or the arbitral proceedings;
- a party was otherwise unable, without being at fault, to present its case;
- the award deals with a dispute that was not contemplated by or falls outside the arbitration agreement’s terms; or
- the tribunal’s composition or the arbitral process breached the rules of arbitration, the parties’ agreement or Law 2735/1999.
When reviewing an application for setting aside an arbitral award, the court will also examine whether:
- the dispute’s subject matter is arbitrable; and
- the arbitral award conflicts with public policy or is contra bonos mores (ie, against good morals).
The annulment of an arbitral award differs from its declaration as inexistent (please see question 6.7.5).
What steps can be taken to enforce the award if there is a failure to comply?
An award will be considered final, binding and enforceable and will give rise to res judicata on its filing in the single-member first-instance court (as per the Code of Civil Procedure) and publication (as per Law 2735/1999). Enforcement of the award in case of failure to comply will be conducted on the basis of the code’s specific provisions that provide for compulsory enforcement.
Can awards be enforced in local courts?
An arbitral award issued in Greece gives rise to res judicata and is enforceable in Greece as of the date of the award. Res judicata is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure and concerns the merits of the dispute and the procedural issues that were finally adjudicated by the arbitral tribunal. Res judicata extends over the parties to the dispute and their successors. The only formality that must be observed for the enforcement of an arbitral award is the filing of the award with the secretariat of the single-member first-instance court in the place where the arbitration was held.
How enforceable is the award internationally?
An arbitral award issued in Greece can be enforced internationally, in accordance with the New York Convention 1958. Greece will apply the convention only to the enforcement of:
- awards made in the territory of another contracting state; and
- disputes arising out of legal relationships that are considered commercial under Greek law.
To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?
A common issue for commercial parties seeking to arbitrate disputes with states and state-controlled entities is that these state parties often attempt to raise the defence of sovereign immunity to challenge the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal and avoid the enforcement of an arbitral award.
The principle of sovereign immunity raised as a defence of state at the enforcement stage is determined by the Greek courts in an ad hoc procedure.
According to the Code of Civil procedure, an arbitral award against a foreign state can be enforced in Greece only once the minister of justice has authorised such enforcement.
Are there any other bases on which an award may be challenged, and if so, by what?
An arbitral award can be challenged by the parties only on the grounds concerning a claim to set aside an award.
Following the filing of a suit with a court of appeal, an arbitral award can be declared inexistent if:
- no arbitration agreement has been concluded;
- the award was rendered in relation to a non-arbitrable dispute; and
- the award was rendered in the context of arbitration proceedings initiated against a non-existent person or legal entity.
How enforceable are foreign arbitral awards in your jurisdiction?
Foreign arbitral awards issued in other countries that are signatories of the New York Convention are recognised and enforced in Greece in accordance with Decree-Law 4220/1961, through the enactment of which the New York Convention was ratified by Greece, subject to the rules and procedures of the Code of Civil Procedure. The enforcement of foreign arbitral awards must be sought before the single-member first-instance court of the district where the debtor’s domicile is located. Where no party is domiciled in Greece, the Single-Member Court of Athens is competent to exercise jurisdiction.
The party opposing the recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award must prove that:
- the arbitration agreement is invalid under the law chosen by the parties or the law of the state in which the arbitration was held;
- the arbitral award-adjudicated dispute falls outside or transcends the arbitration agreement;
- the party against which the enforcement of the awards is being sought was not duly notified of the appointment of arbitrators or the arbitration, and it was thus impossible for that party to participate in the arbitral proceedings, prepare its defence and produce evidence;
- the arbitral proceedings or the formation of the arbitral tribunal conflict with the arbitration agreement or, absent such an agreement, the law of the place of the arbitration; or
- the arbitral award is not yet binding on the parties or has been set aside or suspended by an authority having jurisdiction in the country under the law of which the award was issued.
A court can also reject a request for the recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award if it determines that the subject matter of the dispute is not arbitrable, or that the recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award would clash with public policy. The court will examine these two factors regardless of whether they are raised.
The recognition and enforcement procedure does not involve a review of the merits of the dispute by the court.
Foreign arbitral awards issued in countries that are not signatories of the New York Convention will be recognised and enforced in Greece without a review of the merits of the dispute if the Greek court determines that:
- the arbitration agreement is valid under the applicable law;
- the subject matter of the dispute is subject to arbitration under Greek law;
- the arbitral award is not subject to appeal or other means of redress or there is no pending request to set aside the award;
- the party that lost in arbitration was not deprived of its right to defend itself during the arbitral proceedings;
- the arbitral award is not contrary to a Greek court decision issued in the same case or does not give rise to res judicata; and
- the arbitral award does not contravene Greek public policy or bonos mores (ie, good morals).
Will an award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration be enforced in your jurisdiction?
An arbitral award that has been set aside by the competent courts in the seat of arbitration cannot be enforced in Greece.
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