Poznań Appellate Court judgment
dated 23 May 1996
Case No. I ACr 189/96
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
Pursuant to a 1991 agreement, an ad hoc arbitration court issued an award in 1994 for over USD 400,000 in favour of the claimant, a joint-stock company, against the respondent, a sole proprietor. During an arbitration hearing, the respondent’s attorney had moved to recuse the entire panel of arbitrators. The arbitration court denied the motion and refused to forward the motion for a ruling by the state court under former Civil Procedure Code Art. 703 §2, finding that there were no specific grounds presented for recusal and that the motion was made after the strict deadline provided by former Art. 703 §1.
The respondent filed a petition with the Poznań Province Court in 1995 to set aside the award. Overruling other objections by the respondent, the court held that the award was issued in violation of the procedure for recusal of arbitrators provided for in the Civil Procedure Code. Regardless of its merit, the arbitration court was required to forward the motion to the state court for consideration. The court thus set aside the award. The appellate court denied the appeal.
Excerpts from the text of the court’s ruling:
1. Recusal of an entire court may not be demanded, but only recusal of specific judges (one or more of them), identified by name, but this does not mean that in this case the arbitration court itself could determine that the motion by the defendant should not be granted. The province court correctly stated that the arbitration court may not decide a motion to recuse an arbitrator, either on the merits or on procedural grounds, even if the motion was clearly unjustified or late.
2. The ruling issued as a result of a petition to set aside an arbitration award is in the nature of cassation, and thus the state court may only set aside the award or deny the petition, and may not rule on the merits. In consequence, when the state court sets aside an arbitration award by granting a petition under Civil Procedure Code Art. 712 §1(2)–(5), the arbitration court retains its jurisdiction to decide the dispute.