George Z. Georgiou December 17 2015 Court rejects application to recognise enforcement of foreign arbitration awards George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC | Arbitration & ADR - Cyprus George Z. Georgiou Arbitration & ADR FactsDecisionCommentIn a recent case before the Nicosia District Court (Ukrainian Vodka Company Ltd v Nemiroff International Limited), the applicant applied for the registration of two arbitral awards – dated July 26 2011 and March 20 2012 respectively – issued against the respondents in order to execute the awards in Cyprus.FactsThe initial dispute arose from non-payment in respect of a straightforward sale of goods contract; the arbitrators found in favour of the applicants. The contract had provided that any dispute would be resolved through arbitration and the arbitration clause had provided a specific mechanism for the selection process of the arbitrator.An arbitration award may be enforced in Cyprus in accordance with the International Commercial Arbitration Law (101/1987), which covers the majority of matters relating to international commercial arbitration. Under Article 35(1) of the International Arbitration Law "the arbitral award is recognised as binding, irrespective of the country in which it was issued". Law 84/1979, which incorporates the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards into Cypriot law, is also important in this regard.The court highlighted that:"although the court examines the content of the decision of the arbitrators, it limits itself only to the issue of determining whether the arbitral award is contrary to public policy and it does not embark upon a diagnosis of the substance of the award or the wisdom of the arbitral award."A party seeking to enforce an arbitral award in Cyprus through its application to the court as provided by Article 4(1) of the New York Convention must provide:a duly authenticated original or certified copy of the arbitral award; anda duly certified original or certified copy of the arbitration agreement.The court also specified that pursuant to Article 4(2) of the New York Convention, if the arbitral award is drafted in a language which is not the official language of the country where the award will be enforced, the documents must be translated into the official language of that country and certified by an official, sworn translator or a diplomatic or consular agent.The court referenced Bristol Business Corporation v Besuno Ltd ((2011) 1(B) ΑΑΔ 934) in which the court concluded that the provisions of Article 4(2) relating to language requirements and translations are imperative and substantial and must be strictly fulfilled. Through Resolution 33,581 (May 24 1990) the Council of Ministers decided that the Press and Information Office was responsible for certified translations.DecisionThe respondents challenged the application on the grounds that while the relevant documents included the signature of the director of the Press and Information Office, they had not been certified by an official, sworn translator as required by law. The court accepted this submission and stated that because the translator was not an official, sworn translator or diplomatic or consular agent, the director's signature was relevant only to the fact that the translation had been carried out by that individual; it did not extend to verifying the accuracy of the content of the translation. In light of the above, the court rejected the application for enforcing the arbitral award.CommentThe case illustrates that practitioners must be vigilant in ensuring compliance with the strict provisions of legislation for the translation of arbitral awards during the application stage.For further information on this topic please contact George Z Georgiou at George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC by telephone (+357 22 763 340) or email ([email protected]). The George Z Georgiou & Associates website can be accessed at www.gzg.com.cy.