Polish Supreme Court ruling
dated 13 December 1937
Case No. C III 1626/37
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
In an arbitration award, it was stated that “the arbitration court in Gdynia ruled at a session on 20 March 1936.” In an action to set aside the award, the court of second instance held that the award was defective because 20 March 1936 was not the actual date that the award was “announced.” The court treated the allegedly inaccurate date as a nullity, found that the award was undated and therefore did not meet the formal requirements for an award, and set aside the award accordingly.
On review by the Polish Supreme Court, the court held that there is no requirement to “announce” an arbitration award, and no legal consequences flow from announcing or failing to announce the award. Rather, the award must state the date it was “issued.” The date of issuance is the date when the final decision was reached on the relief sought by the parties and the reasons for the decision, which is not necessarily the same as the date when the award is signed and becomes legally operative. The date of 20 March 1936 stated in the award could have been the true date the award was issued. If it was not, then the award could be found to be undated and thus defective and subject to being set aside. Because the appellate court had failed to determine whether the date stated in the award was the true date the award was “issued,” the Supreme Court vacated the judgment setting aside the award and remanded the case to the appellate court for reconsideration.
Excerpts from the text of the court’s ruling:
1. If the parties have not specified the procedure, the arbitration court shall specify the procedure in its own discretion. In this respect, the arbitration court is not subject to any restrictions other than those set forth in the act ([Civil Procedure Code] Art. 503 §1(3)), i.e. in the regulations concerning procedure before the arbitration court (Art. 497–502). These regulations do not require the arbitration court to specify its procedure in writing, nor do they prohibit the arbitration court from changing the procedure it has adopted for another procedure, and, finally, they do not prohibit the arbitration court from departing in certain instances from the procedure it has previously specified.
2. The place of issuance of an award is the place identified by the arbitration court in the award. Stating as this place the place in which the award was handed down within the meaning of [Civil Procedure Code] Art. 497 is recommended; however, so long as the arbitration court is not bound by the procedure specified by the parties themselves (Art. 494 §1), it may determine in its own discretion which place to identify in the award as the place of issuance of the award, so long as it is not contrary to the rule set forth in Art. 497. Such a decision by the arbitration court may fall within the scope of specifying the procedure.
3. The regulations in the act concerning procedure before the arbitration court ([Civil Procedure Code] Art. 494–502) do not contain provisions on announcement of the award, and it may thus be issued without announcement. Nor does the act tie any consequences to announcement of the award, which it does not provide for announcement of at all. Consequences are, however, tied to service of copies of the award, as specified in Art. 500 §1, and under Art. 504 §1 a petition to set aside an arbitration award must be filed within one month after service of the award. The date of issuance of an award is therefore not the date of its announcement.
4. The very act of issuance of an award by the arbitration court is not identical with signing of the written formulation of the resolution of the relief sought by the parties and the reasons for the resolution. Both the literal wording and the substance of the provisions set forth in [Civil Procedure Code] Art. 498 and 499 lead to the conclusion that the time of issuance of an award is the time when the arbitration court took a final decision on what the resolution of the relief sought by the parties would be, and for what reasons, and when to this end the award was handed down within the meaning of Art. 497. The award is not yet in force, but enters into force only when it is made in writing, contains all the information required by Art. 498, and is signed by the arbitrators in the manner provided in Art. 499; nonetheless, the award already exists, it has already been “handed down” and thus was “issued.”