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Kraków Court of Appeal order dated 22 November 2016 Case No. I ACz 1997/16

1. Under Art. 1194 §2 of the Civil Procedure Code, in every instance, and thus also when ruling under general principles of law and equity, the arbitral tribunal shall take into consideration the provisions of the contract and the established customs applicable to the given legal relation. Such established customs include lex mercatoria (autonomous commercial law). Under either field, the basis for the resolution of the validity of the claim by the arbitral tribunal, depending on the procedural stance of the respondent, may be the relevant institution connected with the defence of setoff.

2. The legal construction of setoff may be relevant also for the dispute before the arbitral tribunal. In particular, once the dispute is pending before the tribunal, assertion by the opposing party of an effective defence (under substantive and procedural law) of setoff, depending on the substance of the overall procedural defence by the respondent in that proceeding, may exert the effect of acknowledgement of the debt by the party asserting that defence in the proceeding, and in further consequence lead to a kind of modification of the dispute in the proceeding (depending on the position of the party initiating the proceeding), which becomes an evaluation of the existence of the claim covered by that defence.

3. In a situation in which the existence of the claim determined exclusively by the defence of setoff constitutes the subject of the dispute in another proceeding, there are no grounds for finding that the plaintiff has a legal interest in obtaining a declaration that it was effectively set off. … Given such arrangement of the procedural relations between the parties, the arbitration agreement made by the parties applies to issues covered by the agreement within the meaning of Civil Procedure Code Art. 1161 (as it is connected with the issue of effective performance by the respondent of the obligation covered by the agreement), and it cannot be found that the agreement has ceased to be in force (Art. 1165 §2).

4. The construction of the institution of setoff in the specific conditions of the proceeding before the arbitral tribunal may speak in favour of considering it in that proceeding (if it was connected with acknowledgement of the claim covered by the arbitration agreement), unless the permissibility of asserting such defence (e.g. in a proceeding for an order for payment) is expressly excluded. Analogous reasons may constitute a basis for refusing enforcement of the arbitration award by the state court under Civil Procedure Code Art. 1214 §3(2).

5. After an arbitration award is enforced by issuance of an enforcement clause for the award pursuant to Civil Procedure Code Art. 1214 §2 (also considering the repealed portion of Art. 777 §1(2)) of the code), the award constitutes a writ of enforcement coming from a court, and consequently Art. 840 of the code may be applicable.

6. Leaving to the court the discretion to select the method of security does not mean that the choice can be arbitrary. The court is bound by the demand stated by the party applying for the security as to the method of security, the nature of which may relate only to the purpose of the proceeding, and in consequence may not affect the realm of procedural actions the other party is entitled to by law in terms of its freedom to exercise the legal means afforded to it in another proceeding. There is no justification in the civil procedure regulations in question for obstructing the course of proceedings before an arbitral tribunal.

Data wydania: 22-11-2016 | Case no.: I ACz 1997/16

Key issues: interim measures, jurisdiction of arbitral tribunal

id: 20435

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