Polish Supreme Court ruling
dated 26 October 1948
Case No. Wa C 291/48
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
In 1947, an arbitration court consisting of a single arbitrator entered an award in favour of claimant Idesa P. against respondent Jadwiga Marianna T. concerning title to real estate identified as “Kolonia Skarbów B.”
The respondent filed a petition with the Warsaw Regional Court to set aside the award. She alleged that the arbitration clause was invalid because it provided that enforcement would lie with the municipal court rather than the regional court. She also alleged that the arbitrator had improperly ruled on inheritance matters without being presented with a probate order from the state court. The regional court denied the petition, and the Warsaw Court of Appeal denied the appeal.
The Supreme Court denied the cassation appeal, holding that even assuming that it was impermissible to make a choice of the court with jurisdiction to review the award, that would not invalidate the arbitration clause as a whole unless the parties would not have entered into the clause absent the allegedly invalid provision, which was not proved. The court also held that the arbitration clause sufficiently identified the dispute under the circumstances, and the petitioner’s other objections concerned the arbitrator’s determination of the procedure to be followed in the arbitration, or the arbitrator’s application of substantive law, which was not reviewable by the state court so long as it did not violate public policy. The court found nothing in the award that violated public policy, particularly the alleged failure to comply with the section of the Inheritance Law in question.
Excerpts from the text of the court’s ruling:
1. An arbitration clause is a contract within the meaning of the Obligations Code and with respect to its validity is subject to the general regulations of the code concerning contracts. Thus Art. 52 §2 should also apply to an arbitration clause, under which despite the invalidity of one provision of the clause the clause generally remains in force, and the plaintiff wishing to demonstrate the invalidity of the entire clause had to prove that without the invalid provision the clause would not have been concluded.
2. For purposes of Civil Procedure Code Art. 480 §1, a dispute is defined precisely when the circumstances identifying the dispute are set forth in the arbitration clause.
3. Civil Procedure Code Art. 494 §2 does not require the arbitration court to establish all of its procedures in advance. On the contrary, the arbitration court establishes its procedure also for purposes of Art. 494 §2 when it issues specific orders necessary to conduct the proceeding, as the need arises, i.e. separately for each procedural measure.
4. The arbitration court is not bound by provisions of substantive or procedural law. ... The only limit on its discretion when ruling is public policy, which the substance of the ruling must not violate.