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Improving Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitral Awards – Analysis and Translation of Proposed Arbitration Law

June 5, 2011

A proposed new arbitration law is circulating among legal circles in Colombia, and has reached me thanks to Daniel Peña of Peña Mancero Abogados.

There is good news. Recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards has not followed the New York Convention, and can take up to two years (see my article on arbitration here and others here.)

All that is changing. The proposed law very closely tracks the he Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the “New York Arbitration Convention” or the New York Convention,  Daniel says in his blog. You can see that for yourself with my translation, below – just compare Articles 111 and 112 to Articles V and VI of the New York Convention.

Colombia seeks to be the seat of more international arbitrations and these changes were needed. Any international arbitral award granted by a tribunal sitting in Colombia is treated as a national award and does not require recognition for enforcement, under the new proposal. An international award from a tribunal seated outside Colombia would require a simple application to the Civil Appeals section of the Supreme Court of Justice, but the grounds to oppose recognition are limited to those in the New York Convention.

Much more important, the time to decide recognition will be cut from two years (you read that right – see my earlier post on arbitration) to 30 days — ten for the opposing party to challenge recognition, and twenty after that for the Court to decide. There is no appeal of or challenge to its decision, under the proposed procedure.

I have translated Chapter IX on recognition and enforcement, below. Compare it to the New York Convention and you see that Daniel is right.

CAPÍTULO IXRECONOCIMIENTO Y EJECUCIÓN DE LOS LAUDOS

 

CHAPTER IX
RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF AWARDS
Artículo 111. Reconocimiento y ejecución. Los laudos arbitrales se reconocerán y ejecutarán así:

1. Un laudo arbitral, cualquiera que sea el país en que se haya proferido, será ejecutable ante la autoridad judicial competente, a solicitud de parte interesada.

2. La parte que invoque un laudo o pida su ejecución deberá presentar el laudo original o copia de él. Si el laudo no estuviere redactado en idioma español, la autoridad judicial competente podrá solicitar a la parte que presente una traducción del laudo a este idioma.

3. Los laudos dictados en arbitrajes internacionales cuya sede sea Colombia se considerarán laudos nacionales y, por ende, no estarán sujetos al procedimiento de reconocimiento y podrán ser ejecutados directamente sin necesidad de este, salvo cuando se haya renunciado al recurso de anulación, caso en el cual será necesario su reconocimiento.

4. Para la ejecución de laudos extranjeros, esto es de aquellos proferidos por un tribunal arbitral cuya sede se encuentre fuera de Colombia, será necesario su reconocimiento previo por la autoridad judicial competente.

 

 

 

Article 111. Recognition and enforcement. Arbitral awards are recognized and enforced as follows:

1. An arbitral award, irrespective of the country in which it was rendered, will be enforceable before the competent judicial authority, at the request of an interested party.

2. The party seeking an award or applying for its enforcement shall present the original award or a copy of it. If the award is not in written in Spanish, the competent judicial authority may request the party to submit a translation of the award in that language.

3. Awards granted in international arbitrations with their seat in Colombia shall be considered national awards and, therefore, not subject to the recognition procedure and can be executed directly without it, except when recourse to cancellation has been abandoned, in which case recognition shall be required.

4. For the execution of foreign awards, that is, those rendered by an arbitral tribunal with its seat outside of Colombia, prior recognition by the competent judicial authority is required.

 

Artículo 112. Motivos para denegar el reconocimiento. Solo se podrá denegar el reconocimiento de un laudo arbitral, cualquiera que sea el país en que se haya dictado, en los casos y por las causales que taxativamente se indican a continuación:a) A instancia de la parte contra la cual se invoca, cuando ella pruebe ante la autoridad judicial competente del país en que se pide el reconocimiento o la ejecución:

i. Que para el momento del acuerdo de arbitraje estaba afectada por alguna incapacidad; o que dicho acuerdo no es válido en virtud de la ley a que las partes lo han sometido, o si nada se hubiera indicado a este respecto, en virtud de la ley del país en que se haya dictado el laudo; o

ii. Que la parte contra la cual se invoca el laudo no fue debidamente notificada de la designación de un árbitro o de la iniciación de la actuación arbitral o no pudo, por cualquiera otra razón, hacer valer sus derechos; o

iii. Que el laudo versa sobre una controversia no prevista en el acuerdo de arbitraje o contiene decisiones que exceden los términos del acuerdo de arbitraje. No obstante, si las disposiciones del laudo que se refieren a las cuestiones sometidas al arbitraje pueden separarse de las que no lo están, se podrá dar reconocimiento y ejecución a las primeras; o

iv. Que la composición del tribunal arbitral o el procedimiento arbitral no se ajustaron al acuerdo celebrado entre las partes o, en defecto de tal acuerdo, a la ley del país donde se adelantó o tramitó el arbitraje; o

v. Que el laudo no es aún obligatorio para las partes o fue anulado o suspendido por una autoridad judicial del país sede del arbitraje; o

Article 112. Grounds for refusing recognition. Recognition of an arbitral award, irrespective of the country from which issued, can be refused exclusively on the following grounds:

a) At the request of the party against whom it is invoked, if it proves to the competent national judicial authority where recognition or enforcement is sought:

i. That at the time the arbitration agreement was affected by some disability, or that the agreement is not valid under the law to which the parties have subjected it or, failing any indication thereon, under the law of the country where the award was made, or

ii. That the party against whom the award is invoked was not given proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or the initiation of arbitration proceedings or could not, any other reason, to assert their rights, or

iii. The award deals with a dispute not contemplated by the arbitration agreement or contains decisions on matters beyond the terms of thearbitration greement. However, if the provisions of the award relating to the matters submitted to arbitration can be separated from those that are not so submitted, the award may be recognized and enforced, or

iv. The composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement between the parties or, failing such agreement, the law of the country where the arbitration occurred, or

v. The award has not yet become binding on the parties or was revoked or suspended by
judicial authority of the country seat of the arbitration, or

 

b) Cuando la autoridad judicial competente compruebe:i. Que, según la ley colombiana, el objeto de la controversia no era susceptible de arbitraje; o

ii. Que el reconocimiento o la ejecución del laudo serían contrarios al orden público internacional de Colombia.

Si se hubiere pedido la anulación o la suspensión del laudo ante una autoridad judicial del país sede del arbitraje, la autoridad judicial colombiana, si lo considera procedente, podrá aplazar su decisión sobre el reconocimiento del laudo y, a instancia de la parte que pida aquello, esta podrá también ordenar a la otra parte que otorgue caución apropiada.

b) Where the competent judicial authority finds:
i. That, under Colombian law, the subject of the dispute was not subject to
arbitration, or

ii. The recognition or enforcement of the award would be contrary to public policy
Colombia international.

If any request for cancellation or suspension of the award has been made before a
judicial authority in the country that was the seat of the arbitration, the Colombian judicial authority, if deemed
appropriate, may postpone its decision on the recognition of the award, and
at the request of the party claiming enforcement, may also order the other party
provide appropriate security.

Artículo 113. Competencia. Para conocer del trámite de reconocimiento de los laudos que conforme a la presente sección demanden del mismo será competente la Sala de Casación Civil de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, en única instancia y sin lugar a recurso o acción alguna contra su decisión.

 

Article 113. Competence. Only the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice shall have the power to hear a claim for recognition of awards under this section, in one instance and without remedy or action against its decision.
Artículo 114. Normatividad aplicable al reconocimiento. Al reconocimiento del laudo arbitral se aplicarán exclusivamente las disposiciones de la presente sección y las contenidas en los tratados, convenciones, protocolos y demás actos de derecho internacional suscritos y ratificados por Colombia. En consecuencia, no serán aplicables las disposiciones establecidas en el Código de Procedimiento Civil, sobre motivos, requisitos y trámites para denegar dicho reconocimiento, disposiciones que se aplicarán únicamente a las sentencias judiciales proferidas en el exterior. Article 114. Regulations applicable to recognition.Recognition of arbitral award shall be subject only to the provisions of this section and those contained in treaties, conventions, protocols and other legal acts
signed and ratified by Colombia. Consequently, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, on
reasons, requirements and procedures to deny such recognition, provisions that apply only to judgments handed down abroad, shall not apply.
Artículo 115. Trámite del reconocimiento. La parte que pida el reconocimiento presentara la solicitud ante la autoridad judicial competente acompañada de los documentos a que se refiere el artículo 111.En caso de encontrar completa la documentación, la Corte Suprema de Justicia admitirá la solicitud y dará traslado por diez días (10) a la otra u otras partes.

Vencido el término del traslado y sin trámite adicional, la Corte Suprema de Justicia decidirá dentro de los veinte (20) días siguientes.

Article 115. Recognition process. A party seeking recognition shall
submit an application to the competent judicial authority accompanied by the
documents referred to in Article 111.

When documentation is complete, the Supreme Court shall accept the request and give a period of ten days (10) to the other party or parties to respond.

At the end of the ten-day period, without further procedures, the Supreme Court shall
decide upon recognition within twenty (20) days.

 

 

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