The Spanish High Court recently allowed an appeal to review a judgment against a final award for infringement during the arbitration procedure. The decision centered on the right to have effective legal protection through a resolution based on law where the arbitrator takes into account all known elements, or those that could be known.
The arbitration proceedings were brought by a person who claimed a compensation for damages against a company. During the proceedings the arbitrator asked the claimant for evidence proving the damages which the claim was based on.
The claimant alleged before the arbitrator that he could not file the documents and evidence of the damages because said documents had to be granted by a public entity which had not been issued at that time. Therefore, the claimant submitted a document stating that he had filed the respective document to the public entity requiring the referred documents and evidences.
The arbitrator issued the award a few weeks later. At that time, the documents and evidence requested by the claimant had not been issued and therefore were not taken into account. The arbitrator rejected the claim on the basis that the claimant had not filed evidence of the damages and as a result did not provide specific quantification of the damages. Therefore, it was impossible at that time to state a value.
Upon receiving the documents, the claimant contacted the arbitrator who confirmed that the award was final, and that it was only possible to apply for review under the Spanish Procedure Act.
The claimant filed the appeal to review the judgment before the Spanish High Court, asserting that the documents he now held where impossible to obtain for the arbitral proceedings due to force majeure.
The Spanish High Court accepted the appeal, stating that the arbitrator knew that the documents and evidence to determine the qualification of the damages were to be issued in a short period of time but still refused to wait for them before issuing the award pursuant to the rules of arbitration. Although he could have issued the award stating the duty to compensate the damages when damages were evidenced with the documents provided.
The High Court noted that it is a constitutional right to have access to an effective remedy, based on law that takes into account all the relevant elements that are known or could be known.