Laws and institutions

Multilateral conventions relating to arbitration

Is your jurisdiction a contracting state to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards? Since when has the Convention been in force? Were any declarations or notifications made under articles I, X and XI of the Convention? What other multilateral conventions relating to international commercial and investment arbitration is your country a party to?

Norway is a contracting state to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The Convention was ratified on 14 March 1961 and has been in force since 11 June 1961. Norway will apply the Convention only to the recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of one of the contracting states, and the Convention will not be applied to differences where the subject matter of the proceedings is immovable property situated in Norway, or a right in or to such property.

Norway signed the ICSID Convention in 1966, the Energy Charter Treaty in 1995 and the International Energy Charter in 2015. So far, there has been no investment arbitration case against Norway.

Bilateral investment treaties

Do bilateral investment treaties exist with other countries?

Norway is currently party to 15 bilateral investment treaties and 32 treaties with investment provisions.

Domestic arbitration law

What are the primary domestic sources of law relating to domestic and foreign arbitral proceedings, and recognition and enforcement of awards?

The Norwegian Arbitration Act 2004 provides the legal framework for arbitration in Norway. The Act is the primary domestic source of law relating to arbitral proceedings and recognition and enforcement of awards. The Act applies when Norway is the place of arbitration, and it applies to both national and international arbitrations. Provided that Norway is the place of arbitration, the Act will apply regardless of the nationality of the parties. However, the Act contains no express definition of the terms ‘national’ and ‘international’ arbitration. As only a few of the rules are mandatory, the parties retain autonomy over the dispute resolution process.

Domestic arbitration and UNCITRAL

Is your domestic arbitration law based on the UNCITRAL Model Law? What are the major differences between your domestic arbitration law and the UNCITRAL Model Law?

The Arbitration Act is to a large extent based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. The Norwegian Arbitration Act contains a few provisions that cannot be found in the Model Law. However, in commercial arbitration, the parties may agree that the relevant provisions in the Model Law shall apply. The provisions that have no parallel in the Model Law relate to confidentiality and public assess (section 5), evidence (section 28), costs (sections 39-41) and consumer protection (section 11). In addition, the Arbitration Act provides that the arbitration agreement does not have to be in writing (section 10.1), that assignment of a contract is deemed to include assignment of the arbitration clause (section 10.2) and that the arbitral tribunal shall apply the Norwegian rules on conflict of laws in the event that the parties have not agreed otherwise (section 31).

Mandatory provisions

What are the mandatory domestic arbitration law provisions on procedure from which parties may not deviate?

The Norwegian Arbitration Act contains only a few mandatory provisions on procedure. The provisions from which the parties may not deviate relate to the fundamental principles of arbitration, such as equal treatment of the parties. According to section 20 of the Arbitration Act, the parties shall be treated equally at all stages of the arbitral proceedings, and each party shall be given full opportunity to present his or her case. If the parties were to deviate from such principles in the arbitration agreement, the Act will have overriding effect to secure fairness and justice in the proceedings.

Substantive law

Is there any rule in your domestic arbitration law that provides the arbitral tribunal with guidance as to which substantive law to apply to the merits of the dispute?

In contractual disputes, the parties normally indicate the law applicable to the substance in the agreement, and this law shall be applied by the arbitral tribunal. Accordingly, the Arbitration Act states that the arbitral tribunal shall apply the rules of law that have been chosen by the parties as applicable to the material issues of the case. A reference in the arbitration agreement to the law or legal system of a country shall, unless otherwise indicated, be construed as a reference to the substantive law of that country and not to its rules on choice of law.

The most common choice of law rule in Norwegian law is that the parties are free to determine which law is to be applied. In the absence of such an agreement, Norwegian law contains certain more specific default rules, but there is no general set of choice of law rules that are applicable to all disputes.

If the parties have not chosen a law in the arbitration agreement, the arbitral tribunal shall apply the rules of law as designated by applying Norwegian choice of law rules. The arbitral tribunal shall only decide a case on the basis of fairness if the parties have expressly authorised it to do so.

Arbitral institutions

What are the most prominent arbitral institutions situated in your jurisdiction?

A particular feature of arbitration in Norway is the extensive use of ad hoc arbitration, rather than institutional arbitration. One institution, which is used from time to time, is the Arbitration Institute of the Oslo Chamber of Commerce (OCC). The OCC adopted new rules for arbitration and mediation in 2016, and the new rules came into force on 1 January 2017. The new rules include updated procedures for fast-track arbitration and a remuneration schedule that caps the remuneration payable to the arbitral tribunal.

The Nordic Offshore and Maritime Arbitration Association (NOMA) is not an arbitral institution in the strict sense, but an independent body having made a set of arbitration rules based on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. These arbitration rules may be used in ad hoc arbitrations, and they are useful in cases where the parties have not agreed upon particular terms of reference. NOMA has also drafted a set of Best Practice Guidelines, in line with what is generally regarded as best practice in international commercial arbitration.

Arbitration Agreement

Arbitrability

Are there any types of disputes that are not arbitrable?

A dispute is considered non-arbitrable if the subject matter is not capable of being settled by agreement between the parties. A dispute may also be non-arbitrable if the claim cannot succeed without a third party’s consent, and in some aspects as far as it concerns rights in rem. Furthermore, a claim is non-arbitrable if the relief sought may only be granted by a state authority or the courts. Such cases include declaration of bankruptcy, taxation, the existence and validity of patents, certain competition law disputes such as imposition of fines, ordering a company to cease and desist activities harmful to competition, and granting clearance for acquisitions of businesses.

Requirements

What formal and other requirements exist for an arbitration agreement?

An agreement to arbitrate may be made in nearly any commercial matter. The agreement may concern a dispute that has already arisen, or the parties may agree in advance that all potential disputes in a particular relationship, typically a contract, shall be resolved by arbitration. Today, most commercial contracts contain an arbitration clause. There are no formal requirements to such agreements, and even an oral agreement to arbitrate is, in principle, enforceable. However, the importance normally attached to an agreement to arbitrate will inevitably lead the courts to look for clear evidence that an arbitration agreement has in fact been entered into.

In consumer disputes, arbitration agreements may only be entered into after the dispute has arisen. If a consumer has entered into an arbitration agreement before the dispute has arisen, the agreement will not be binding on the consumer. There is also a strict formal requirement: an arbitration agreement to which a consumer is a party must be made in a separate document and signed by both parties. If an adequate method for authenticating the formation of the agreement and the contents of the agreement exists, such agreement may, however, be concluded electronically.

Enforceability

In what circumstances is an arbitration agreement no longer enforceable?

An arbitration agreement will not be enforceable to the extent that it is invalid or voidable under the ordinary contract law rules. This will be the case if the arbitration agreement has been entered into by a minor or a person without legal capacity, or by a person without the necessary authority to bind the corporate entity in question. Invalidity or rescission of the underlying contract will not in itself mean that the arbitration agreement is no longer enforceable.

Separability

Are there any provisions on the separability of arbitration agreements from the main agreement?

The Norwegian Arbitration Act is based on the principle of separability. An arbitration clause or agreement that is included in and forms part of a contract is treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the main contract. Thus, a decision by the arbitral tribunal that the contract is invalid does not in itself entail that the arbitration agreement is invalid.

Third parties – bound by arbitration agreement

In which instances can third parties or non-signatories be bound by an arbitration agreement?

As a rule third parties or non-signatories will not be bound by an arbitration agreement. However, there are some exceptions. In the event of assignment of the legal relationship to which the arbitration agreement applies, the arbitration agreement is deemed to be assigned unless the parties have agreed otherwise in the arbitration agreement (section 10.2).

Third parties – participation

Does your domestic arbitration law make any provisions with respect to third-party participation in arbitration, such as joinder or third-party notice?

The Norwegian Arbitration Act does not contain any provisions with respect to third-party participation in arbitration. A third party is not a party to the arbitration agreement and, therefore, has no right to participate. However, if the parties consent, there is nothing to prevent a third party from acceding to the arbitration agreement and thereby join the proceedings.

Groups of companies

Do courts and arbitral tribunals in your jurisdiction extend an arbitration agreement to non-signatory parent or subsidiary companies of a signatory company, provided that the non-signatory was somehow involved in the conclusion, performance or termination of the contract in dispute, under the ‘group of companies’ doctrine?

The group of companies doctrine is not recognised in Norway. An arbitration agreement will, therefore, not extend to non-signatory parent or subsidiary companies of a signatory company. It is not sufficient that the non-signatory was somehow involved in the conclusion, performance or termination of the contract in dispute. However, a non-signatory company may, with the consent of the parties to the arbitration agreement, accept the agreement and thereby take part in the proceedings.

Multiparty arbitration agreements

What are the requirements for a valid multiparty arbitration agreement?

There are no particular requirements for a valid multiparty arbitration agreement. Multiparty arbitration agreements are frequently entered into, especially in disputes relating to company law and construction disputes.

Consolidation

Can an arbitral tribunal in your jurisdiction consolidate separate arbitral proceedings? In which circumstances?

The arbitral tribunal may only consolidate separate arbitral proceedings if the parties to both proceedings expressly consent. In the absence of such consent, it is not sufficient that consolidation is expedient.

Constitution of arbitral tribunal

Eligibility of arbitrators

Are there any restrictions as to who may act as an arbitrator? Would any contractually stipulated requirement for arbitrators based on nationality, religion or gender be recognised by the courts in your jurisdiction?

According to section 13.1 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, the arbitrators shall be impartial and independent of the parties, and they shall be qualified. Apart from this, there are no restrictions as to who may act as an arbitrator. Both active and retired judges may accept appointment. Contractually stipulated requirements for arbitrators based on nationality, religion or gender are rarely seen, and there has so far been no case in which such requirements have been discussed.

Background of arbitrators

Who regularly sit as arbitrators in your jurisdiction?

Tribunals usually consist of three arbitrators with legal background. Most frequently the parties appoint three practising lawyers; sometimes a combination of an academic, a judge and a practising lawyer is preferred. In certain cases specialist knowledge is called for, such as an engineer in construction law disputes or a chartered accountant in a company law dispute. As most arbitration in Norway is ad hoc, there is no firm basis to conclude that diversity in appointments plays a more important role now than before.

Default appointment of arbitrators

Failing prior agreement of the parties, what is the default mechanism for the appointment of arbitrators?

If possible, the parties shall appoint the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators jointly. The parties will normally agree on a sole arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators, so as to secure that the necessary competence is in place. If the parties are not able to agree, the Norwegian Arbitration Act contains a default mechanism for the appointment of arbitrators.

If the arbitral tribunal comprises three arbitrators, each party shall appoint one arbitrator within one month after a request to make such appointment was received. The two arbitrators shall then, within one month, appoint a third arbitrator, who will be the presiding arbitrator. If a party fails to make his or her appointment, the other party may request that the local court nominate the missing arbitrator or arbitrators.

Challenge and replacement of arbitrators

On what grounds and how can an arbitrator be challenged and replaced? Please discuss in particular the grounds for challenge and replacement, and the procedure, including challenge in court. Is there a tendency to apply or seek guidance from the IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration?

According to section 14 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, an arbitrator may be challenged and replaced only if there are circumstances that give rise to justifiable grounds as to his or her impartiality or independence, or if the arbitrator does not possess the qualifications agreed by the parties. If a party has participated in the appointment, that party may only challenge the arbitrator for reasons of which he or she became aware after the appointment was made. The IBA Guidelines on Conflict of Interest in International Arbitration are frequently used as a standard in the determination of impartiality and independence.

When the mandate of an arbitrator terminates, for instance due to lack of impartiality or independence, a substitute arbitrator shall be appointed according to the rules that were applied when appointing the arbitrator who is being replaced. If a substitute arbitrator is appointed, all previous arbitral proceedings shall be repeated, in so far as they form part of the basis upon which the case shall be decided.

Relationship between parties and arbitrators

What is the relationship between parties and arbitrators? Please elaborate on the contractual relationship between parties and arbitrators, neutrality of party-appointed arbitrators, remuneration and expenses of arbitrators.

The arbitrator who accepts an appointment agrees to resolve the dispute between the parties, and the parties agree to remunerate the arbitrator for this. It may, therefore, be argued that there is a contractual relationship between the arbitrators and the parties. The arbitrators are normally under a general duty to conduct the arbitration in accordance with the parties’ agreement. This duty may be compared to the obligation to comply with the specifications in an ordinary contract for services. The parties’ obligation to comply with the tribunal’s directions may also be regarded from a contractual point of view. Although the relationship in many ways is contractual, there are a number of special features that indicate that the relationship is not purely contractual. The relationship between parties and arbitrators is to some extent overlaid with a special adjudicatory function of public nature. It is, therefore, suggested that the contractual relationship is a sui generis contract.

Duties of arbitrators

What are arbitrators’ duties of disclosure regarding impartiality and independence throughout the arbitral proceedings?

According to section 14 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, a person who is approached in connection with a possible appointment as an arbitrator shall disclose all circumstances that may give rise to justifiable doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence. From the time of appointment and throughout the arbitral proceedings, the arbitrator is under a duty to disclose immediately any new circumstances of such nature to the parties.

Immunity of arbitrators from liability

To what extent are arbitrators immune from liability for their conduct in the course of the arbitration?

The Norwegian Arbitration Act contains no express provision to the effect that arbitrators are immune from liability. However, there is a general consensus that an action based upon error in fact or in law will not succeed. Some commentators seem to suggest that there may be basis for a claim against an arbitrator in the event of serious misconduct or breach of the criminal law, such as corruption. There have been no such cases in Norway.

Jurisdiction and competence of arbitral tribunal

Court proceedings contrary to arbitration agreements

What is the procedure for disputes over jurisdiction if court proceedings are initiated despite an existing arbitration agreement, and what time limits exist for jurisdictional objections?

If court proceedings are initiated despite an existing arbitration agreement, the court shall dismiss the case provided that a party makes a request for dismissal no later than at the time when the first submissions on the merits of the case are made. If a party has made submissions on the merits, without objecting to the court’s jurisdiction, the arbitration agreement is deemed to have been set aside.

Jurisdiction of arbitral tribunal

What is the procedure for disputes over jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal once arbitral proceedings have been initiated, and what time limits exist for jurisdictional objections?

Once arbitral proceedings have been initiated, the arbitral tribunal shall rule on its own jurisdiction. This includes any objections as to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement. An objection to the effect that the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction shall be made no later than at the time when the objecting party makes his or her first submission on the merits of the case. However, the arbitral tribunal may permit such objection being made later if the party is not significantly to blame for the delay. A party’s participation in the appointment of the arbitral tribunal is not in itself sufficient to preclude that party from making an objection to the jurisdiction of the tribunal at a later stage.

The arbitral tribunal may rule on an objection to its jurisdiction either during the arbitral proceedings or in the arbitral award determining the dispute. If the arbitral tribunal makes a decision as to its jurisdiction during the arbitral proceedings, any party may, within one month after having received that ruling, bring the issue before the courts. When the court’s decision is pending, the arbitral tribunal may continue the arbitral proceedings and determine the dispute.

Arbitral proceedings

Place and language of arbitration, and choice of law

Failing prior agreement of the parties, what is the default mechanism for the place of arbitration and the language of the arbitral proceedings? How is the substantive law of the dispute determined?

The default mechanism for the place of arbitration is described in section 22 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act. Failing agreement on the place of arbitration, it shall be determined by the arbitral tribunal. The tribunal shall take into account all the practical requirements, including the possibility of the parties’ participation in the oral hearing. Irrespective of the place of arbitration, the arbitral tribunal may, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, meet wherever it considers appropriate. Such meeting may be held for the purposes of deliberations, examination of witnesses, experts or parties, or to assess evidence.

The default mechanism for the language of the arbitral proceedings is described in section 24 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act. Failing agreement on the language of the arbitral proceedings, the arbitral tribunal shall determine the language. The language of arbitral proceedings shall apply to all written statements by a party, oral hearings and any decision or other communication by the arbitral tribunal. The arbitral tribunal may order that any documentary evidence be translated into the language agreed upon by the parties or determined by the arbitral tribunal. If the language of the arbitration is Norwegian, Swedish or Danish may also be used.

According to section 31 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, the substantive law of the dispute shall be the law chosen by the parties. Any designation of the law or legal system of a given state shall be taken to mean the substantive law of that state and not its conflict of law rules. Failing any designation by the parties, the arbitral tribunal shall apply Norwegian conflict of law rules.

Commencement of arbitration

How are arbitral proceedings initiated?

The arbitration process is normally initiated by the issuance of a notice to arbitrate. This is a formal letter from one of the parties to the other where particulars of the dispute are given, together with a request to resolve the dispute by arbitration. A particular point to note is that such notice will prevent prescription of a claim.

Hearing

Is a hearing required and what rules apply?

According to section 26 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, the arbitral tribunal shall decide whether a hearing is required, or whether the case shall be decided on the basis of written submissions. A party may request an oral hearing. The parties shall be given reasonable notice in advance of any oral hearing and of any other meeting to which the parties are entitled to attend. In practice it is very rare to have arbitral proceedings without an oral hearing.

Evidence

By what rules is the arbitral tribunal bound in establishing the facts of the case? What types of evidence are admitted and how is the taking of evidence conducted?

It is for the parties to establish the facts of the case. The parties may present any evidence that is relevant for the dispute in question. The main types of evidence are documentary evidence and witnesses. Parties and party officers may also testify. In domestic arbitrations witnesses testify during the hearing. In international arbitrations witness statements are frequently used, with the right of the other party to cross-examine. Where expert evidence is needed, there is a tendency towards party-appointed experts. Tribunal-appointed experts are still relatively rare. In some instances the parties will agree on a jointly appointed expert. The IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration are only used if the parties agree.

According to section 28 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, the arbitral tribunal may refuse presentation of evidence that is not relevant to the dispute. When the parties are in disagreement as to the relevance of the evidence in question, the arbitral tribunal will often be hesitant to refuse. Moreover, the arbitral tribunal has an inherent power to limit the presentation of evidence if the extent of the evidence offered is disproportionate to the significance of the evidence and the case.

Court involvement

In what instances can the arbitral tribunal request assistance from a court, and in what instances may courts intervene?

The arbitral tribunal, or a party with the consent of the arbitral tribunal, may request the courts to obtain statements from parties and witnesses, as well as other evidence.

Confidentiality

Is confidentiality ensured?

According to section 5 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, the parties may agree that the arbitral proceedings and the arbitral award shall be confidential. Such agreement may also encompass the dispute itself and subsequent enforcement proceedings. Third parties may only attend the oral hearing with the consent of both parties. If annulment proceedings are initiated before the ordinary courts, confidentiality is no longer ensured, as these proceedings are public.

Interim measures and sanctioning powers

Interim measures by the courts

What interim measures may be ordered by courts before and after arbitration proceedings have been initiated?

Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, an arbitral tribunal has the power to order the parties to undertake certain measures, such as preserving assets or the production of evidence. An order to this effect, however, is not enforceable. Failure to comply with an order made by the tribunal may influence on the assessment of the evidence. The parties may ask the ordinary courts to issue an order for interim relief. Such a court order will be enforceable.

The arbitral tribunal may request the ordinary courts to take depositions from witnesses and to make an order for the production of documentary evidence. The arbitrators have the right to attend the court hearing when the witnesses are examined, and they may ask questions.

Interim measures by an emergency arbitrator

Does your domestic arbitration law or do the rules of the domestic arbitration institutions mentioned above provide for an emergency arbitrator prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal?

The Norwegian Arbitration Act does not provide for an emergency arbitrator prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal.

Interim measures by the arbitral tribunal

What interim measures may the arbitral tribunal order after it is constituted? In which instances can security for costs be ordered by an arbitral tribunal?

According to section 19 of the Norwegian Arbitration Act, the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of a party, order any party to take such interim measures as the arbitral tribunal shall consider necessary based on the subject matter of the dispute. The arbitral tribunal may order the requesting party to provide security within a specified time limit. Such security may be a condition for the interim measure. The arbitral tribunal has inherent powers to reduce or reverse an order for interim measures.

Sanctioning powers of the arbitral tribunal

Pursuant to your domestic arbitration law or the rules of the domestic arbitration institutions mentioned above, is the arbitral tribunal competent to order sanctions against parties or their counsel who use ‘guerrilla tactics’ in arbitration? May counsel be subject to sanctions by the arbitral tribunal or domestic arbitral institutions?

The Norwegian arbitration law contains no express rules on the powers of the arbitral tribunal to order sanctions against parties or their counsel. Use of guerrilla tactics and other forms of gross violations of the integrity of the arbitral proceedings will be a matter for the disciplinary authorities.

Awards

Decisions by the arbitral tribunal

Failing party agreement, is it sufficient if decisions by the arbitral tribunal are made by a majority of all its members or is a unanimous vote required? What are the consequences for the award if an arbitrator dissents?

It is sufficient that decisions by the arbitral tribunal are made by a majority of all its members. If a majority cannot be reached, the presiding arbitrator shall have the casting vote. If there is no majority when a sum of money or other quantity is to be determined, the votes in favour of higher amounts or quantities shall be added to the votes in favour of the closest amounts or quantity until a majority has been reached. If a minority of the arbitrators refuse to take part in the voting, the remaining arbitrators may make the decision.

Procedural issues may be decided by the presiding arbitrator on his or her own if he or she has been authorised to do so by the parties or by the full arbitral tribunal.

Dissenting opinions

How does your domestic arbitration law deal with dissenting opinions?

A dissenting opinion will not have any impact on the validity or enforceability of the award.

Form and content requirements

What form and content requirements exist for an award?

The arbitral award shall be in writing and signed by all the arbitrators. In arbitral proceedings with more than one arbitrator, it is sufficient that a majority signs the award, provided that the reason for any omitted signature is stated in the award.

The arbitral award shall state the reasons upon which it is based. It shall be stated whether the decision is unanimous; if not, the dissenting arbitrator shall be named, and the points on which there is dissent shall be specified.

The arbitral award shall state the date and place of the award.

Time limit for award

Does the award have to be rendered within a certain time limit under your domestic arbitration law or under the rules of the domestic arbitration institutions mentioned above?

There is no statutory time limit. However, the parties may agree with the tribunal that the award shall be rendered within a certain time limit.

An additional award must be made within two months of the party’s request for such award.

Date of award

For what time limits is the date of the award decisive and for what time limits is the date of delivery of the award decisive?

The date of delivery of the award is decisive for a request for correction of the award (one month), for a request for an additional award (one month) and for challenge of the award (three months). The date of delivery is the date on which a party has received the award.

Types of awards

What types of awards are possible and what types of relief may the arbitral tribunal grant?

The arbitral tribunal may render a final award (section 36), a partial award (section 33), an interim award (section 19) or a consent order (section 35).

Termination of proceedings

By what other means than an award can proceedings be terminated?

The arbitral proceedings may be terminated without an award if:

  • the claimant withdraws the claim;
  • the parties agree that the proceedings be terminated; or
  • the arbitral tribunal finds that the continuation of the proceedings have become unnecessary or impossible.

If a settlement is made by the parties, they may request the arbitral tribunal to confirm the settlement by way of a consent order. A consent order shall have the same legal effect as an arbitral award.

Cost allocation and recovery

How are the costs of the arbitral proceedings allocated in awards? What costs are recoverable?

At the request of a party, the arbitral tribunal shall allocate the costs of the arbitral tribunal between the parties as the arbitral tribunal sees fit.

At the request of a party, the arbitral tribunal may order the other party to cover all or part of the requesting party’s costs. All necessary costs are recoverable. These include attorneys’ fees, travel expenses and expert witnesses. Normally, the winning party will recover his or her costs, unless there are some special circumstances.

Interest

May interest be awarded for principal claims and for costs, and at what rate?

Tribunals often award post-award interest in addition to the amount specified in the award. Post-award interest is added until the award is actually paid. The starting point for post-award interest is normally 14 days after the receipt of the award. Post-award interest is often applied at the same rate as late payments. This reflects the view that a higher interest rate will generally discourage late payment.

Proceedings subsequent to issuance of award

Interpretation and correction of awards

Does the arbitral tribunal have the power to correct or interpret an award on its own or at the parties’ initiative? What time limits apply?

The arbitral tribunal may rectify an award if the award, due to spelling, arithmetic, typographical or similar obvious errors, has been formulated in a way that does not accurately reflect the intention of the arbitral tribunal. The arbitral tribunal may also make an additional award for claims that were presented in the arbitral proceedings and should have been decided on, but which were omitted from the award.

Rectification may be made at the request of a party or at the arbitral tribunal’s own initiative. An additional award may only be rendered at the request of a party. The request must be made within one month of the delivery of the award.

Challenge of awards

How and on what grounds can awards be challenged and set aside?

Arbitration awards may not be appealed to the local courts unless otherwise agreed by the parties. The award may only be challenged on the grounds that it is invalid. An exhaustive list of grounds for invalidity is provided in section 43 of the Arbitration Act. The list is in accordance with article V of the New York Convention. Examples of reasons for invalidity are that the award falls outside the scope of the tribunal’s jurisdiction, or that the composition of the tribunal was incorrect.

A claim that an arbitration award is invalid must be made in the form of a lawsuit before the courts, and the lawsuit must be filed within three months from the day the party received the arbitral award.

Levels of appeal

How many levels of appeal are there? How long does it generally take until a challenge is decided at each level? Approximately what costs are incurred at each level? How are costs apportioned among the parties?

If an arbitral award is challenged, there are three court levels: local court, appellate court and Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will only hear cases of general importance. It will normally take between two and three years to have a case heard in the local court and the appellate court. The costs will be apportioned according to the ordinary principles in civil cases (ie, costs follow the event).

Recognition and enforcement

What requirements exist for recognition and enforcement of domestic and foreign awards, what grounds exist for refusing recognition and enforcement, and what is the procedure?

The party seeking recognition or enforcement of a foreign award must produce the original award or a certified copy. Unless the award has been made in the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English language, a certified copy must be produced. The authorities may request documentary proof for the existence of an arbitration agreement of other basis for the arbitration proceedings. The domestic courts are generally favourable to the enforcement of foreign awards.

Time limits for enforcement of arbitral awards

Is there a limitation period for the enforcement of arbitral awards?

The limitation period for the enforcement of arbitral awards is 10 years.

Enforcement of foreign awards

What is the attitude of domestic courts to the enforcement of foreign awards set aside by the courts at the place of arbitration?

The domestic courts will not recognise or enforce a foreign award that has been set aside by the courts at the place of arbitration.

Enforcement of orders by emergency arbitrators

Does your domestic arbitration legislation, case law or the rules of domestic arbitration institutions provide for the enforcement of orders by emergency arbitrators?

There are no specific provisions for the enforcement of orders by emergency arbitrators.

Cost of enforcement

What costs are incurred in enforcing awards?

Unless the enforcement is opposed, the procedure will only incur a small court fee.

Other

Influence of legal traditions on arbitrators

What dominant features of your judicial system might exert an influence on an arbitrator from your jurisdiction?

As arbitrations in Norway are mainly ad hoc, the arbitrators have developed a rather practical approach to arbitration. The arbitrators tend to be pragmatic, with a main focus on resolving the dispute in an efficient and expedient manner. Written witness statements are welcome, always provided that the other party be given the opportunity of cross-examination. Procedural differences tend to be resolved by agreement between the parties, rather than by numerous procedural orders.

Professional or ethical rules

Are specific professional or ethical rules applicable to counsel and arbitrators in international arbitration in your jurisdiction? Does best practice in your jurisdiction reflect (or contradict) the IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration?

There are no specific professional or ethical rules applicable to counsel and arbitrators in international arbitration in Norway. Counsel and arbitrators are bound by the regulatory framework that applies to the legal profession as such. Some attempts have been made to formulate a set of best practice rules. To a large extent these reflect the IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration.

Third-party funding

Is third-party funding of arbitral claims in your jurisdiction subject to regulatory restrictions?

No.

Regulation of activities

What particularities exist in your jurisdiction that a foreign practitioner should be aware of?

There are no particularities to be aware of. However, one should always check any visa requirements and the need for a work permit. Arbitrators should ask local counsel to take care of the formalities relating to tax reporting. Ex parte communication is strictly forbidden.

Update and trends

Legislative reform and investment treaty arbitration

Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in arbitration in your country? Is the arbitration law of your jurisdiction currently the subject of legislative reform? Are the rules of the domestic arbitration institutions mentioned above currently being revised? Have any bilateral investment treaties recently been terminated? If so, which ones? Is there any intention to terminate any of these bilateral investment treaties? If so, which ones? What are the main recent decisions in the field of international investment arbitration to which your country was a party? Are there any pending investment arbitration cases in which the country you are reporting about is a party?

Legislative reform and investment treaty arbitration57 Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in arbitration in your country? Is the arbitration law of your jurisdiction currently the subject of legislative reform? Are the rules of the domestic arbitration institutions mentioned above currently being revised? Have any bilateral investment treaties recently been terminated? If so, which ones? Is there any intention to terminate any of these bilateral investment treaties? If so, which ones? What are the main recent decisions in the field of international investment arbitration to which your country was a party? Are there any pending investment arbitration cases in which the country you are reporting about is a party?

There are no emerging trends or hot topics in arbitration in Norway at the moment. There is no legislative reform, and no revision of the rules of the Arbitration Institute. However, there is an ongoing debate as to whether arbitration in Norway should be institutionalised. Some commentators have questioned the widespread use of ad hoc arbitration and call for a move in the direction of a more formalised arbitration procedure. Whereas ad hoc arbitration allows for a flexible and pragmatic approach, arbitration within the established framework of an institute is often perceived to provide a higher degree of certainty and predictability. The latter is all the more important in international arbitration, where the parties are not necessarily familiar with the local traditions. Furthermore, there is a trend to bring Norway more in line with the current best practice in international arbitration. The establishment of NOMA and its guidelines may be regarded as a step in this direction. It remains to be seen what impact this association will have on the development.

No bilateral investment treaty has recently been terminated. There is no pending investment arbitration case in which Norway is a party. Norway has been the home state of the investor in some five disputes, of which one is pending.