Arbitration agreements

What are the formal requirements for an enforceable arbitration agreement?

The arbitration agreement should be in compliance with article 7 of Law 2735/1999, with regard to international commercial arbitration, and article 869 GCCP, with regard to domestic arbitration. Both provisions require the agreement to be in writing. However, the lack of a written agreement may be cured if both parties participate in the proceedings without expressing any objections or reservations.

Arbitral procedure

Does the domestic law contain substantive requirements for the procedure to be followed?

Pursuant to articles 19 of Law 2735/1999 and 886 GCCP, the arbitral tribunal is free to conduct the arbitration in such a manner as it considers appropriate, subject to any requirements agreed to by the parties. However, the aforementioned power of the arbitrators is restricted by articles 18 of Law 2735/1999 and 886(2) GCCP, which provide that the parties shall be treated with equality and be given a full opportunity of presenting their case (ie, attending the hearings, submitting and elaborating on their claims, and submitting their evidence). In addition, any other rules considered as public order rules are mandatory in all cases, and cannot be excluded by means of the arbitration agreement (article 890(2) GCCP).


When and in what form must the award be delivered?

Greek law does not impose any time limits that the tribunal should respect for the delivery of the arbitral award. However, with regards to domestic arbitration, article 884 GCCP allows any of the parties to request the competent Court of First Instance to order a reasonable deadline for the delivery of the award, if the arbitral proceedings or the issuance of the award are delayed and the arbitral agreement does not set out any such deadline. No relevant provision exists with regard to international commercial arbitration.

Under article 31 of Law 2735/1999, the award must be in writing, signed by the arbitrator and must contain the grounds for the ruling, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or the award is an award on agreed terms. The arbitral award must also state the date and place of the arbitration, and the original must be delivered to each party. The above requirements, together with the statement of the full names of the arbitrators and the parties and the arbitration agreement, should be respected in relation to domestic arbitration as well, pursuant to article 892 GCCP. As opposed to international commercial arbitration, in domestic arbitration the delivery of copies of the arbitration award to the parties is sufficient.

Pursuant to article 32(5) of Law 2735/1999, unless otherwise agreed by the parties and if the award is to be enforced in Greece, the arbitrator or one of the arbitrators (appointed by the tribunal) is obliged to file the original of the award with the secretariat of the competent Court of First Instance. The same obligation exists under domestic arbitration (article 893 GCCP).


On what grounds can an award be appealed to the court?

In principle, awards of international commercial arbitration are not subject to appeal (ie, challenge on the merits), but the parties have the power to agree recourse against the award before another arbitral tribunal (article 35(2) of Law 2735/1999). The same applies to domestic arbitration (article 895 GCCP).

In any case, international commercial arbitration awards may be set aside for procedural reasons by virtue of a relevant action filed before the competent Court of Appeals. Pursuant to article 34 of Law 2735/1999, an award will be set aside if the applicant claims and proves that:

  • a party to the agreement was, under the law applicable to it, under some incapacity, or the said agreement is not valid under the law to which the parties have subjected it or, failing any indication thereon, under the law of the country where the award was made;
  • the arbitral award concerns a dispute that does not fall within the arbitration agreement or transcends the arbitration agreement;
  • the applicant was not given proper notice of the appointment of the arbitrator or of the arbitration proceedings or was otherwise unable to present its case; or
  • the composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral proceedings were not in compliance with the arbitration agreement or, absent such agreement, with Law 2735/1999.

With respect to domestic arbitration, an award may be set aside partially or in its entirety by virtue of a relevant action filed before the competent Court of Appeals, for the following reasons:

  • the arbitration agreement is void;
  • at the time of issuance of the award, the arbitration agreement was not in force;
  • the choice of arbitrators was not in compliance with the terms of the agreement or the provisions of the law or the arbitrators were revoked by the parties or exempted;
  • the arbitrators acted transcending their powers pursuant to the arbitration agreement or the law;
  • the parties’ equality during the proceedings, or the provisions of law with respect to the manner the arbitrators decided or the formal requirements of the arbitral award were not respected;
  • the award contravenes public policy or the accepted principles of morality; or
  • one of the grounds for the filing of trial de novo under Greek law is met (article 895 GCCP).

In addition, the GCCP allows the parties to challenge an award, requesting the declaration of its non-existence by the competent Court of Appeals, if:

  • there was not an arbitration agreement at all;
  • the subject matter of the dispute was not arbitrable; or
  • the award was issued in arbitration involving a non-existing individual or legal entity (article 901 GCCP).

What procedures exist for enforcement of foreign and domestic awards?

The party that intends to enforce a foreign arbitral award in Greece should file an application for its recognition and enforcement before the Single-Member Court of First Instance of the residence of the debtor, to be heard in ex parte proceedings. The court has the power to summon any third party that has a legitimate interest to intervene to the trial, rendering such party a litigant of the proceedings. In addition, Greece is party to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) and has transposed the latter to its national legislation by virtue of the Legislative Decree 4220/1962. Therefore, the grounds on which recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award may be refused (if invoked by a party or ex officio, where applicable) are those prescribed in article V of the New York Convention.

In contrast, for the enforcement of a domestic arbitral award, its filing to the Secretariat of the Single-Member Court of First Instance suffices.