Polish Supreme Court order
dated 15 December 2000
Case No. I CKN 1131/00
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
Z.N. PZL-M. sp. z o.o. and W.Z.K. PZL-M. sp. z o.o. entered into a cooperation agreement in 1995 which contained an arbitration clause. In January 1999, the parties entered in a settlement agreement concerning amounts owed by W.Z.K. PZL-M. sp. z o.o. to Z.N. PZL-M. sp. z o.o. under the cooperation agreement. The settlement agreement provided that the amounts agreed to be due thereunder “may be enforced before the court or the state authorities,” and also provided that if the debtor failed to make timely payment of three successive instalments due under the settlement agreement, the settlement agreement would lapse.
Later in 1999, after the debtor had missed at least three successive instalments under the settlement agreement, the creditor filed an action for payment against the debtor before the regional court. After the statement of claim was filed, as well as the response to the statement of claim asserting the existence of the arbitration clause in the cooperation agreement as a defence, the cooperation agreement was terminated, effective in July 1999.
The regional court dismissed the claim, holding that the dispute was arbitrable. On interlocutory appeal, the appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court denied the creditor’s cassation appeal.
Excerpts from the text of the court’s ruling:
1. The ability for the dispute to be heard by the state court is excluded so long as the parties are bound by an arbitration clause. The Civil Procedure Code expressly mentions only two situations in which an arbitration clause loses force (Art. 702 §1 and 707 §2). There is no doubt, however, that this may occur also in other instances, specifically if a written agreement is concluded dissolving the clause.
2. If the parties were bound by a cooperation agreement which contains an arbitration clause, the original arbitration clause remains valid following lapse of a settlement agreement submitting enforcement of a specific claim to the state courts.