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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?
Domestic arbitral awards are treated and enforced in the same way as court decisions. Foreign arbitral awards are subject to recognition and enforcement proceedings before the Romanian courts. In order to be granted the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award, the parties must comply with certain formal requirements – they must file a request to this effect before a competent court and attach legalised or apostille certified copies of the translated award and arbitration agreement. The court charged with hearing a request for the recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award is prohibited from reviewing the merits of the dispute; its examination is limited to the grounds for refusal of recognition and enforcement, as set out in the Code of Civil Procedure. The grounds for refusal of recognition and enforcement of the foreign award provided in the code follow those established in the New York Convention.
Timeframe for delivery
Are there any time limits on delivery of the award?
In domestic arbitration proceedings an arbitral award must be delivered within six months of constitution of the arbitral tribunal. In international arbitration proceedings, this is usually doubled to 12 months.
Does the law impose limits on the available remedies? Are some remedies not enforceable by the court?
The arbitration law imposes no limit on the type of remedies that an arbitral tribunal may award. However, to a large extent the admissibility of the remedies depends on the substantive law applicable to the dispute. Regarding procedural requirements, the arbitral tribunal is bound to assess all the parties’ requests, regardless of the nature of the claim. If the arbitral tribunal applies Romanian procedural law, it may consider a request for a declaratory judgment to be inadmissible to the extent that the claimant can bring an action to enforce its rights.
What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending constitution of the tribunal?
Before or during arbitral proceedings the local courts may grant, at the parties’ request, security and interim relief measures, as well as acknowledging or ascertaining facts and circumstances. After constitution of the arbitral tribunal, the tribunal may grant the same interim measures and, if necessary, may call on the local courts to assist with enforcement. The arbitration law makes no specific provision for emergency arbitral proceedings, but these may be available under the rules of arbitral institutions insofar as the parties have an agreement to arbitrate under those rules. The existing rules of the Bucharest Court of Arbitration make no provision for emergency arbitration.
Can interest be awarded?
The general rule is that the parties may be awarded pre and post-award interest on request. However, under the auspices of the Bucharest Court of Arbitration there has been a trend against granting post-award interest, which is viewed as a post-award remedy sought after the end of arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction.
At what rate?
If Romanian civil law applies to the merits of the dispute, the arbitral tribunal may award interest either at the rate contractually agreed by the parties or, failing such agreement, at the rate established in the relevant legal provisions. For international legal relationships, legal interest is currently set at 6% a year.
Is the award final and binding?
According to the Code of Civil Procedure, once served on the parties an arbitral award becomes final and binding, and is a writ of execution. Arbitral awards rendered in international arbitration proceedings conducted in Romania are also binding and enforceable once served on the parties.
What if there are any mistakes?
An arbitral award may be subject to correction, interpretation and supplementation. Therefore, depending on the type of mistake, the arbitration law provides a procedural remedy.
Can the parties exclude by agreement any right of appeal or other recourse that the law of your jurisdiction may provide?
The parties cannot exclude the right of appeal by agreement before the award is rendered. The law specifically provides that any agreement to the contrary is null and void. However, the parties may waive the right to appeal after the award is rendered.
What is the procedure for challenging awards?
An action to set aside the arbitral award may be filed within one month of service of the award on the parties, unless the action relates to a decision of the Constitutional Court, where the time limit is three months after publication of that court’s decision. Certain reasons for setting aside an arbitral award may be deemed waived if they are not raised before the arbitral tribunal at the start of the process (particularly those relating to the jurisdiction and constitution of the arbitral tribunal). An action to set aside is subject to a fixed court fee under the law.
On what grounds can parties appeal an award?
The parties may file an action to set aside the arbitral award on the following grounds:
- The subject matter of the dispute was incapable of settlement by arbitration.
- The arbitration agreement did not exist or was invalid or ineffective.
- The constitution of the arbitral tribunal was not in accordance with the arbitration agreement.
- The party requesting the setting aside of the award was not given proper notice of the hearing and was absent when the debate took place.
- The arbitral award was rendered after expiry of the time limit, even though at least one party submitted its intention to object to the late issuance of the award and the parties opposed the continuation of the proceedings after expiry of the time limit.
- The award granted beyond the request (ultra petita) or more than was requested (plus petita).
- The award failed to mention the tribunal’s decision on the relief sought or did not include the reasoning behind the decision, the date and place of the decision or the signatures of the arbitrators.
- The award violated public policy, mandatory legal provisions or morality.
- Subsequent to issuance of the final award, the Constitutional Court has declared unconstitutional the legal provisions challenged by a party in the arbitral proceedings or other legal provisions that are closely related to and inseparable from those challenged.
What steps can be taken to enforce the award if there is a failure to comply?
Domestic arbitral awards are writs of execution and are enforced in the same way as court judgments. The award must therefore be endorsed with an executory formula and then enforcement may be pursued with the assistance of a bailiff. Foreign arbitral awards must first be granted recognition and enforcement by the Romanian courts; the process then follows the same course as other writs of execution.
Can awards be enforced in local courts?
The local courts have jurisdiction to recognise and allow enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.
How enforceable is the award internationally?
An arbitral award rendered in Romania is enforceable under the New York Convention and other multiple bilateral conventions ratified in Romania.
To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?
In regard to arbitral awards rendered in international arbitration proceedings, a state or state entity cannot raise such a defence.
Are there any other bases on which an award may be challenged, and if so, by what?
The award may be challenged only by filing an action to set aside.
How enforceable are foreign arbitral awards in your jurisdiction?
Foreign arbitral awards are subject to recognition and enforcement proceedings before the local courts. These are enforceable under the New York Convention and the Code of Civil Procedure (which is in line with the New York Convention as regards possible grounds for refusal of recognition and enforcement).
Will an award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration be enforced in your jurisdiction?
An award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration may not be enforced in Romania.
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