Warsaw Court of Appeal judgment dated 30 January 2020 Case No. VII AGa 1508/18
1. [T]he fundamental principles of the legal order are the constitutional principles and the principles of other fields of law including civil, family, labour and procedural law. However, it cannot be assumed that an arbitration award violates the rule of law only on the basis of the arbitration award not being complaint with, for example, certain provisions of substantive law… .
2. Depriving a party of the ability to defend its rights before an arbitral tribunal occurs, if the arbitral tribunal fails to notify the party of the date of the hearing after which the award is announced, if it does not hear out a party at all or fails to give a party the opportunity to submit statements with respect to the matter in dispute, if the principle of equal treatment of the parties or the right of the party to be heard and submit evidence is infringed, if a party is prevented from getting familiar with the opposing party’s position, evidence submitted by the opposing party, if a party is prevented from addressing them, if a party is prevented from presenting and proving their arguments… . A party is no deprived of its defences, if evidence offered by that party is not admitted or examined… .
3. The petitioner had… at least 3 weeks to authorize a new attorney [in the arbitration proceedings in the case – insertion added]. The fact that it decided to do so only one day before the hearing… cannot be a basis for setting aside of the arbitration award.
4. [A]pplication of Art. 1193 of the PCPC cannot be limited to shortcomings which took place in the course of arbitration proceedings, it should also cover the activities taken at the stage of appointment of the arbitrator, including at the stage of the petition set out in Art. 1206 § 1 point 2 of the PCPC submitted due to violation of the principles of arbitrator appointment.
5. [I]f, during the examination of a case by an arbitral tribunal, a party represented by a professional attorney took part in the activities of the arbitral tribunal and did not demonstrate at that time any procedural violations which were indicated by this party in the petition to set aside the arbitration award as the grounds for setting aside of the arbitration award indicated in Art. 1206 § 1 point 4 of the PCPC, the recourse to a procedural defect identified in such a way cannot take effect… .
6. In connection with the above, in the assessment of the Court of Appeal hearing the case, there are no grounds to find that the disputed arbitration award… violates the fundamental principles of the legal order of the Republic of Poland. In particular, this cannot be demonstrated by the circumstance, relied upon by the petitioner, that the Court of Arbitration recognized the activities of advocate R. D. taken before initiation of the arbitration proceedings to be the activities of an attorney-in-fact, in the situation when in the files of the case there was no power of attorney for an attorney-in-fact, granted to advocate R. D. by the petitioner, which would specify the scope of authorization of the attorney.
7. [P]roceedings initiated by a petition to set aside an arbitration award do not lead to a substantive re-examination of the dispute between the parties, but their purpose is to verify the petitioner’s pleadings presented in the petition as to existence of the grounds referred to in Art. 1206 § 1 of the PCPC, and to assess if any of the conditions referred to in Art. 1206 § 2 of the PCPC exist, regardless of whether the petitioner relied thereon… .
8. [I]t cannot be accepted that an arbitration award violates the public policy clause solely on the ground that the award is not consistent with certain provisions of substantive law… .
9. A party cannot effectively raise [in the proceedings initiated by a petition to set aside an arbitration award – insertion added] that the composition of the arbitral tribunal was incorrect when during the proceedings before such a tribunal the party did request that a particular arbitrator be excluded… .
Publication date: 30-01-2020 | Case no.: VII AGa 1508/18Key issues: arbitration procedure, petition to set aside arbitration award