case law

id : 20590

id: 20590

Polish Supreme Court judgment

 dated 15 June 2021

Case No. V CSKP 39/21

Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:

In the judgment of 30 October 2018 the Court of Appeal dismissed a petition filed by T., a joint-stock company, based in T., to set aside an arbitration award delivered by an arbitral tribunal on 30 April 2018. The company decided to file a cassation appeal, however, the Polish Supreme Court found the cassation appeal meritless.

It is worth noting that in this judgment the Polish Supreme Court made a reference to, among other things, the following rulings of the Polish Supreme Court: dated 28 April 2000, Case No. II CKN 267/00, dated 28 November 2000, Case No. IV CKN 171/00, dated 13 December 2006, Case No. II CSK 289/06, dated 11 May 2007, Case No. I CSK 82/07, dated 27 November 2007, Case No. IV CSK 239/07, dated 11 June 2008, Case No. V CSK 8/08, dated 9 July 2008, Case No. V CZ 42/08, dated 7 January 2009, Case No. II CSK 397/08, dated 3 September 2009, Case No. I CSK 53/09, dated 30 September 2010, Case No. I CSK 342/10, dated 9 March 2012, Case No. I CSK 312/11, dated 28 November 2013, Case No. IV CSK 187/13, dated 13 January 2014, Case No. V CSK 45/13, dated 19 June 2019, Case No. I CSK 23/19, dated 30 July 2019, Case No. I CSK 107/19.

Excerpts from the text of the court ruling:

1. In the course of proceedings initiated by a petition to set aside an arbitration award, the role of a state court is not to examine the compliance of the arbitration award with the substantive law applicable to the case. The task of the state court is only to examine whether in the case a statutory ground for setting aside of the arbitration award exists… . Control exercised over arbitration by a state court is not tantamount to resolution of a case ex novo, either on the factual or on the legal plane. The circumstances indicated in Art. 1206 § 1 of the PCPC are examined by the state court hearing the petition to set aside an arbitration award only if the petitioner relies on them, and the circumstances provided for in Art. 1206 § 2 of the PCPC are examined ex officio… .

2. An arbitration award shall be set aside under the public policy clause, if violation of the substantive law by the arbitral tribunal leads to consequences irreconcilable with the fundamental principles of the Polish legal system, that is, effects that are plainly and grossly contrary to such principles or to any one of them… .

3. [T]he principle of the autonomous will of the parties is one of the fundamental legal principles of the legal order of the Republic of Poland… .

4. The public policy clause, like any general clause, is not precisely defined, which leaves great discretion to the court ruling on a specific case… . The application of the public policy clause remains in an inseparable relationship with the totality of circumstances of a particular case in close connection with the concrete factual state.

5. The public policy clause is… the only prerequisite for setting aside of an arbitration award enabling the state court to review the arbitration award on the merits. Nevertheless, on the basis of this clause, review of the constitutive elements of an arbitration award may not take on the dimensions proper for a review of the merits (correctness) of the award. The prohibition of a review of the merits of an award is related to the essence of the application of the public policy clause. By application of this clause, the point is not to determine whether the award is consistent with all relevant mandatorily applicable legal regulations, but only to determine whether the award effected a result contrary to the fundamental principles of the domestic legal order… . So only in the situation when the assessment made by the state court that the effects of the arbitration award are plainly and grossly contrary to the fundamental principles of the legal order of the Republic of Poland, it is possible to find a cassation appeal based on the allegation of violation of Art. 1206 § 2 point 2 of the PCPC to be well-founded.

6. [T]here is a great deal of autonomy in arbitration, which is entirely consistent with the intentions of the lawmaker, distinctly limiting the review capabilities of a state court. The fundamental objective of this regulation is to expedite the procedure for resolving civil disputes, and not to create an additional phase of pre-judicial procedure . Parties deciding to submit a dispute to arbitration must take these conditions into account, which also include scant external review of arbitration awards… .

7. It is not unreasonable to state that by concluding an arbitration agreement, parties limit their constitutional right to court (Art. 45 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland).

8. Deprivation of the right to defense shall be understood strictly. A party is deprived of the ability to defend its rights, if an arbitral tribunal gives this party no opportunity to provide explanations and statements with reference to the claims of the opposing party. If the arbitral tribunal ignores evidence offered by a party because it deems the evidence redundant, it shall not be considered that that party has been deprived of the right to defense. State court review as to whether the arbitral tribunal correctly found evidence to be redundant would constitute an impermissible intrusion into the merits of the case. If the arbitral tribunal disregards a certain portion of the defense submitted by a party, presenting in the reasoning of the award a substantive explanation of the reasons why it has considered the defense irrelevant, the allegation of a party that the arbitral tribunal has omitted its defense is in fact directed against the substantive defense of the dispute and is, as such, inadmissible… .

9. An arbitral tribunal, not being bound by the regulations on proceedings before a state court (Art. 1184 § 2 sentence 2 of the PCPC), has greater freedom to direct the course of the proceedings, including also – to decide on the relevance and purposefulness of examining specific evidence.

10. [T]he provision of Art. 387 § 21 of the PCPC, and all the more so of Art. 328 § 2 of the PCPC (cf. Art. 391 § 1 of the PCPC), according to Art. 1207 § 2 of the PCPC, apply only “as relevant” in proceedings before the state court hearing a petition to set aside an arbitration award. It means that the application of this provision must take into account the specificity of arbitration proceedings.

11. The state court hearing a petition to set aside an arbitration award shall not make factual findings, potentially, with the exception of those which are necessary to assess whether there are grounds for setting aside the arbitration award (for example, regarding the notice to a party on appointment of an arbitrator or on arbitration proceedings – Art. 1206 § 1 point 2 of the PCPC). As a consequence, the requirement of “indicating a factual basis” resulting from Art. 328 § 2 of the PCPC in connection with Art. 391 § 1 of the PCPC and Art. 387 § 21 of the PCPC cannot apply, as a matter of principle, to the reasoning of a judgment regarding a petition to set aside an arbitration award (Art. 1207 § 2 of the PCPC).

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