Polish Supreme Court order
dated 9 March 2004
(Case No. I CK 412/03)
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
G.G. Ltd, a Bermuda company, obtained an award against a Polish company, A. sp. z o.o., of damages for breach of contract before the arbitration court at the Grain and Feed Trade Association in London, in accordance with 1996 contracts which also provided for application of English law. The claimant then sought enforcement of the award against the respondent in Poland. The regional court granted enforcement, and the appellate court denied the interlocutory appeal by the respondent.
The respondent filed a cassation appeal with the Polish Supreme Court, alleging that the award violated public policy and that the appellate court erroneously decided the appeal without holding a hearing. The court disagreed with both arguments and denied the cassation appeal.
Excerpts from the text of the court’s ruling:
1. The concept of “public policy” primarily extends to principles arising under the Constitution and the leading principles of specific fields of law. … Under civil contractual arrangements ... this means first and foremost the principle of the autonomy of the will of the parties and the equal standing of the parties. These principles would have been applied if the Polish court had itself applied the law under which the foreign arbitration award was issued.
2. If a ruling by a foreign court is an example of application of a legal institution that is recognized under Polish law, such ruling cannot be regarded as contrary to the fundamental principles of the legal order, and Civil Procedure Code Art. 1146 §1(5) is no barrier to recognition of the ruling by the foreign court.
3. The substantive justification of an arbitration award lies beyond the review of the court in a matter involving enforcement of an arbitration award issued abroad.
4. The Parliament provided for two different avenues for review of orders containing determinations with respect to a ruling by a foreign court: with respect to an order on recognition of the ruling of a foreign court, the avenue of review is an appeal [apelacja] and an appeal proceeding, and with respect to an order on enforcement of the ruling of a foreign court, an interlocutory appeal [zażalenie] and an interlocutory appeal proceeding. As a consequence of this distinction in treatment of the avenue of review of the ruling by the court of first instance, review with respect to recognition is considered under the appeal procedure, and review of enforcement under the interlocutory appeal procedure.