Polish Supreme Court order
dated 25 November 1980
Case No. II CZ 111/79
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
A Polish insurance company brought a subrogation claim in the Szczecin Province Court seeking damages from a Soviet shipping enterprise. The Soviet enterprise owned a ship that had delivered cargo at the port of Szczecin and made use of port services, and then, while exiting the port of Szczecin for the Baltic, had negligently caused damage to a wharf newly built at the port by a Polish maritime construction enterprise, resulting in a loss to the Polish enterprise, which subsequently assigned its claim for damages to the insurance company.
The Soviet shipping company, represented by the Soviet Ministry of the Maritime Fleet, moved to dismiss the action because the claim could only be brought in arbitration, pursuant to Art. 1 of the Convention on Arbitration of Civil Disputes Arising Out of Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, which both Poland and the Soviet Union had ratified.
The province court found that the claim arose out of a tort committed by the defendant during the course of performance of transport agreements between economic organizations of Poland and the Soviet Union, two states that had ratified the convention, and therefore the claim had to be brought in arbitration, to the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the state courts. The court dismissed the claim accordingly.
The plaintiff filed an interlocutory appeal with the Polish Supreme Court, taking the position that Art. 1 of the convention applied only when the injury occurred during the course of economic, scientific or technical cooperation between the tortfeasor and the injured party.
The court held that based on the wording of Art. 1 of the convention, arbitration was mandatory whenever the dispute arose between economic organizations in the course of cooperation, so long as the dispute arose out of economic, scientific or technical cooperation between states that were parties to the convention—regardless of whether the dispute arose out of cooperation between the economic organizations involved in the dispute. The court denied the interlocutory appeal accordingly.
Excerpt from the text of the court’s ruling:
Art. 1 of the Convention on Arbitration of Civil Disputes Arising Out of Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, made at Moscow on 25 May 1972 and ratified inter alia by Poland and the Soviet Union, promulgated at Journal of Laws Dz.U. 1974 No. 7 item 37, applies in the case of any dispute between economic organizations arising out of a civil-law relationship, if the dispute arose during the course of economic, scientific or technical cooperation between states participating in the convention, and thus regardless of whether such cooperation occurred between the economic organizations involved in the dispute.