Search terms: Arbitration, Portugal
The Lisbon Court of Appeal recently affirmed the competence of arbitral tribunals to judge all tenancy disputes, including those related to the termination of lease agreements. Portuguese law does not state that the termination of a tenancy agreement must be judged by a court and not by an arbitral tribunal. Rather, the law states that the decision must be taken by a tribunal (including, therefore, arbitral tribunals).
The Évora Court of Appeal recently confirmed that interim measures ordered by a court can assist arbitration. The ruling also addressed the question of when a deadline to file main proceedings is satisfied by arbitration. The court held that where the tribunal has not been formed, the claimant can file main proceedings by notifying the other party to commence the formation of the tribunal.
The Lisbon Court of Appeal recently held that an arbitration agreement between two parties applied to a contractual third party. The court also found that an arbitral tribunal was competent to determine a dispute arising from the calculation of the value of a pension fund. The court held that non-transferable rights were not at issue, as the dispute related not to the plaintiff's right to a pension, but only to its value.
The Lisbon Court of Appeal has upheld an arbitral award in which the tribunal annulled resolutions adopted by a shareholders' meeting. However, such awards potentially affect all of a company's shareholders, regardless of whether they were aware of the arbitral proceedings. What precautions should a tribunal take to ensure that it is not being exploited to the detriment of other shareholders' rights?
The Supreme Court recently confirmed that the suspension of arbitral proceedings does not entail the suspension of the time limit for issuing an award. Moreover, only the parties may amend the limit. Although not generally favourable to arbitration, in some respects the decision demonstrates a more flexible view of deadlines for awards, the competence of arbitral tribunals and the validity of arbitral agreements.
A recent Lisbon Court of Appeal decision demonstrates that entities which organize institutional arbitrations do not always incorporate basic principles of due process, and that the panels which they nominate or approve are not always familiar with these principles. The courts must protect arbitration from errors which affect the true spirit of alternative dispute resolution.
A recent decision by the Lisbon Court of Appeal is consistent with precedents that grant the courts competence to rule on interim measures when the parties in question are bound by arbitration agreements. However, the court's reasoning is unnecessarily detrimental to the power of arbitral tribunals to grant relief through interim measures in certain circumstances.
For the first time the Constitutional Court has upheld the constitutionality of the rule in Article 494(j) of the Code of Procedure that allows the dilatory exception of breach of the arbitration agreement. Such an objection may be enforceable against a party in a situation of supervening financial hardship that entitles it to legal aid.
A Portuguese court has held that courts do not have jurisdiction to grant interim measures if the disputing parties have agreed to arbitration. As a result, an important issue of procedural versus substantive law has arisen.