On 26 July 2018 Law No. 27,449 on International Commercial Arbitration (“LACI” for its Spanish acronym) was published in the Official Gazette. Said law had been passed by Congress on 4 July 2018 and signed into law by the Executive on 25 July 2018.
The LACI, which is based on the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL Law”), introduced some changes regarding the Arbitration Contract set forth in the Argentine Civil and Commercial Code and rules exclusively any international commercial arbitration, without prejudice to any international treaty applicable in the Argentine Republic (section 1, LACI).
LACI's main aspects are the following:
- It is established that an arbitration is international whenever (i) the parties to an arbitration have their places of business in different States or (ii) the place of arbitration or the place where a substantial part of the obligations of the commercial relationship is to be performed are situated outside the State in which the parties have their places of business (section 3, LACI).
- Any relationship, whether contractual or not, governed by or mainly governed by private law in the Argentine law is considered as commercial. In turn, the interpretation is wide and in case of doubt, the relationship shall be deemed as commercial (section 6, LACI).
- An arbitration agreement shall be in writing and evidence of its content shall be recorded in any form (section 15, LACI). This requirement is accepted as having been met even when the arbitration agreement arises from an electronic communication (section 16, LACI).
- The parties are free to determine the number of arbitrators. In case of failing such determination, the number of arbitrators shall be three (section 22, LACI). There are additional procedures for the composition of the arbitral tribunal provided the parties had not reached an agreement in this regard (section 24, LACI).
- Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal may grant interim measures (section 38, LACI) or any preliminary order to ensure the compliance of interim measures that may be imposed (section 42, LACI). A preliminary order shall be binding on the parties but shall not be subject to enforcement by a court (section 49, LACI), differing from an interim measure, which is to be enforced upon application to the competent court, irrespective of the country in which it was issued and provided there are no grounds for refusing its recognition or enforcement (section 56, LACI).
- Recourse to a court against an arbitral award may be made only by an application for setting aside (section 98, LACI) before the Court of Appeals on commercial matters of the place of arbitration (section 13, LACI) pursuant to the grounds expressly established in the LACI (section 99).
- Section 519 bis of the Argentine Procedural Civil and Commercial Code regarding the recognition or enforcement of judgments is repealed herein (section 107, LACI) and the system shared by the UNCITRAL Law and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Law No. 23,619) is hereby established.
- Procedural time-limits shall be calculated by calendar days, unless otherwise expressly agreed (section 108, LACI).
Thus, the LACI arises as a tool to give answer to international commerce claims and establish clear rules to settle claims efficiently, seeking to set the Argentine Republic as a potential seat for international commercial arbitrations.