Poznań Appellate Court judgment
dated 27 August 2008
Case No. I ACa 568/08
Summary by arbitraż.laszczuk.pl:
A dispute arose in which a joint-stock company alleged that an individual had used an Internet domain in violation of the company’s rights. The parties agreed that the dispute would be resolved by the Internet Domains Arbitration Court at the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications. The claimant signed the arbitration clause in June 2007 and the respondent in July 2007. According to the arbitration clause, the dispute was to be resolved based on the rules of NASK, the institute that administers .pl domain names, “in force from 18 March 2007.” The most recent version of the NASK rules were those adopted on 18 December 2006, when they were amended to eliminate wording in the 18 December 2002 version held in an unrelated proceeding to be abusive by the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection in a judgment dated 4 December 2006. The holding that the 2002 terms were abusive was published by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection on 30 October 2007, and the abusive terms were added to the Office’s public register of abusive contractual clauses on that date. In the meantime, the arbitration court issued an award in favour of the claimant on 1 October 2007.
In January 2008, the respondent moved to set aside the arbitration award on the grounds that the arbitration clause was invalid because it incorporated rules that had been held to be abusive. The regional court disagreed and denied the petition to set aside the award. The appellate court denied the appeal.
Excerpts from the text of the court’s ruling:
1. The provisions of the rules of the arbitration court cannot be relevant for determining whether the parties made an arbitration clause in accordance with the rules set forth in the Civil Procedure Code. ... In assessing the validity of an arbitration agreement as a legal act, the common court considers the circumstances resulting in invalidity of legal acts according to the regulations in force, that is, whether actions were taken without complying with requirements as to form provided for by statute or by the parties under pain of invalidity, and whether the substance of the action is contrary to or intended to circumvent a statute, or contrary to principles of social coexistence, and whether there were defects in the declarations of will.
2. A thorough analysis of the substantive justification of the determination by an arbitration court exceeds the bounds of a proceeding commenced upon a petition referred to in Civil Procedure Code Art. 1205 ff. ... The view is stated in the case law that determinations by an arbitration court are binding, and the common court has no right to conduct substantive review of a case concluded in a ruling of an arbitration court, apart from exceptions provided by statute.