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The award

Requirements
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?

An award must be made in writing and signed by the arbitrator(s). In arbitral proceedings with more than one arbitrator, the signatures of the majority will suffice, provided that the reason for any omitted signature is stated.

The award must state the reasons on which it is based, unless the parties have agreed that no reasons are needed or the award is an award on agreed terms. The award must also state the date and the place of arbitration, and will be deemed to have been made at that place. After the award has been made, a copy signed by the arbitrators must be delivered to each party.

Awards need not be reviewed by any other body, unless the parties have expressly agreed that this be the case.

Timeframe for delivery
Are there any time limits on delivery of the award?

Under Bahraini law, no time limits are imposed on the delivery of awards. The parties may agree that the tribunal is subject to a time limit – for example, by adopting arbitration rules that stipulate a timeframe with which an award must be made (eg, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution Rules 2014).

Remedies
Does the law impose limits on the available remedies? Are some remedies not enforceable by the court?

While the parties are generally free to agree on the arbitral tribunal’s scope to award remedies, any remedy considered unenforceable under Bahraini law or contrary to the public policy or ethics of Bahrain will be excluded from enforcement.

What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending constitution of the tribunal?

The arbitral tribunal may, at the request of one of the parties, grant interim measures, including to:

  • maintain or restore the status quo pending resolution of the dispute;
  • take action that would prevent, or refrain from taking action that is likely to cause, harm or prejudice to the arbitral process;
  • provide a means of preserving assets out of which a subsequent award may be satisfied; or
  • preserve evidence that may be relevant and material to resolution of the dispute.

The Civil High Court also has the power to order interim measures in relation to arbitral proceedings. The court will exercise such power in accordance with its own procedures in consideration of the specific features of international arbitration.

Interest
Can interest be awarded?

Subject to any agreement to the contrary, the arbitral tribunal has broad discretion regarding the award of interest.

At what rate?

Subject to any agreement to the contrary, the arbitral tribunal has broad discretion regarding the rates of interest awarded.

Finality
Is the award final and binding?

Unless otherwise agreed, an arbitral award will be final and binding, subject to limited grounds to challenge an award.

What if there are any mistakes?

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, within 30 days of receipt of the award, a party (with notice to the other party) may request the arbitral tribunal to:

  • correct errors in computation;
  • correct clerical or typographical errors or errors of similar nature; or
  • give an interpretation of a specific point or part of the award.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a party (with notice to the other party) may request the arbitral tribunal to make an additional award regarding claims presented in the arbitral proceedings but omitted from the award within 30 days of receipt of the award.

If the arbitral tribunal considers any of these requests to be justified, it will make the correction, interpretation or additional award.

Can the parties exclude by agreement any right of appeal or other recourse that the law of your jurisdiction may provide?

No.

Appeal
What is the procedure for challenging awards?

Under Bahraini law, any party can apply to the Civil High Court to set aside an award if:

  • the party making the application can prove that:
    • a party to the arbitration agreement was under some incapacity, or the agreement is invalid under the law to which the parties have subjected it or, failing any indication thereof, under Bahraini law;
    • the party making the application was not given proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or the arbitral proceedings, or was otherwise unable to present its case;
    • the award:
      • deals with a dispute not contemplated by, or not falling within, the terms of the submission to arbitration; or
      • contains decisions on matters that are beyond the scope of arbitration; however, if these can be separated from the rest of the award, only that part of the award which contains decisions on matters not submitted to arbitration will be set aside; or
    • the composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the parties’ agreement (unless the agreement conflicts with Bahraini law) or, failing such agreement, was not in accordance with Bahraini law; or
  • the court finds that:
    • the subject matter of the dispute is not arbitrable under the Bahraini law; or
    • the award is in conflict with Bahraini public policy.

On what grounds can parties appeal an award?

The rights of parties to challenge arbitral awards will depend on the parties’ choice of law and arbitration rules. In general, an award can be challenged only on limited grounds.

Enforcement
What steps can be taken to enforce the award if there is a failure to comply?

A party seeking enforcement of an award should apply to the Court of Execution. Available methods of enforcement include:

  • issuing an attachment order on property;
  • ordering the forced sale of property subject to the attachment order;
  • ordering the payment of amounts under the judgment;
  • collecting payment and transferring it to the successful party;
  • authorising the use of force, where required;
  • seeking assistance from the police, if necessary;
  • ordering the arrest of the debtor;
  • levying a distraint on the debtor’s property (including stocks and bonds) in order to satisfy the debt; and
  • ordering the sale of any property (moveable and immovable) by public auction.

Can awards be enforced in local courts?

Yes.

How enforceable is the award internationally?

Bahrain is a signatory to the New York Convention; thus, arbitral awards made in Bahrain should be effectively enforced in other signatories to the New York Convention.

In practice, the enforceability of an award will depend on the prevailing legal, political and socio-economic situation in the state in which enforcement is sought.

To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?

While a state or state entity may claim state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage, the Bahraini courts take their judicial independence and the rule of law seriously. As such, a party would need to show genuine and sufficient evidence in order to claim sovereign or state immunity.

Are there any other bases on which an award may be challenged, and if so, by what?

An award will be unenforceable if:                     

  • the arbitration agreement was invalid;
  • a party to the arbitration was incapacitated;
  • a party was not given notice of the proceedings or was unable to present its case;
  • the subject matter of the award is outside the scope of, or goes beyond the circumstances contemplated in, the arbitration agreement;
  • the appointment of the arbitral tribunal was not in accordance with the arbitration agreement, the law or the arbitration rules chosen by the parties;
  • the award is not yet binding, or has been suspended or set aside in the jurisdiction in which or under whose laws it was made;
  • the subject matter of the dispute is not arbitrable in the state in which enforcement is sought; or
  • the award contravenes Bahraini public policy.

How enforceable are foreign arbitral awards in your jurisdiction?

Bahrain is a signatory to the New York Convention; thus, foreign arbitral awards can be effectively enforced subject to the New York Convention.

Further, under the new Arbitration Law, arbitral awards are recognised as binding – irrespective of the country in which they were made – and on written application to the Civil High Court will be enforced, subject to the limited exceptions set out above.

In principle, the Bahraini courts will recognise foreign awards, subject to various conditions. However, in practice, differences between the legal system of Bahrain and those of other jurisdictions may lead to a case being effectively retried on its merits by the Bahraini courts.

Will an award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration be enforced in your jurisdiction?

The Bahraini courts may refuse to recognise and enforce an award at the request of the party against which it is invoked if that party can show that the award has been set aside or suspended by a court of the country in which or under whose law the award was made.

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