Polish Supreme Court judgment
dated 4 December 2015
Case No. I CSK 26/15
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
A Polish company, “D.” sp. z o.o., lost an arbitration with a Belarusian company, OSJC “B.,” before the International Arbitration Court at the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Minsk involving the materiality of defects in equipment sold by one of the companies to the other company. The Belarusian company applied to the regional court in Poland for recognition and enforcement of the award. The Polish company opposed the application, alleging pursuant to the New York Convention that the award violated public policy and that the arbitral tribunal had violated the arbitration agreement, including by failure to complete the arbitration within 6 months and because the tribunal had applied the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods despite the parties’ express exclusion of the Vienna Convention. The court found inter alia that the respondent had delayed the arbitration by postponing site visits by the appraiser of the equipment and that the arbitral tribunal had properly applied the Vienna Convention as a part of accepted commercial custom, and that the award did not violate public policy.
On interlocutory appeal, the court of appeal held that the Polish company’s objections to the findings in the award concerning the materiality of the defects in the equipment went to the substance of the award and that the objection to application of the Vienna Convention went to the substantive law applied by the arbitral tribunal which also could not be reviewed by the court. The court denied the appeal accordingly.
On cassation appeal, the Supreme Court of Poland found inter alia that the Polish company had failed to identify which fundamental principles of the legal order were allegedly violated by the award, and denied the cassation appeal accordingly.
Excerpt from the text of the court’s ruling:
The concept of “public policy” is included in numerous provisions of Polish public law. This concept under the New York Convention corresponds to the concept of “fundamental principles of the legal order” included in a dozen or more provisions of Polish law. Fundamental principles of the legal order constituting grounds for evaluating an arbitration award should be understood to mean not only constitutional norms, but also the principal norms in specific fields of law.