In 2019 the Ministry of Finance issued guidelines on procedures for the effective application of rules on the freezing of financial assets of sanctioned persons in Slovakia. The guidelines answer some practical questions but leave many questions open. One such question concerns enforcement of arbitral awards affected by sanctions – in particular, under what conditions can an award creditor enforce such an award in Slovakia?
A recent Banska Bystrica Regional Court decision is one of many which give a positive outlook for arbitration in Slovakia and can be equated with court decisions in arbitration-friendly jurisdictions. A limited review of arbitral awards, with a focus on the procedural aspects of arbitration proceedings, reflects the aim of the Arbitration Act amendment of 2015; however, other court decisions have interpreted arbitration clauses more restrictively.
Section 17 of the Arbitration Act requires the equal treatment of parties in arbitration proceedings. Over the past year, the extent of this procedural safeguard has been tested before numerous Slovak courts, including the Supreme Court, the Bratislava Regional Court and the Banska Bystrica Regional Court. Notably, the courts seem to have avoided an extensive interpretation of Section 17 when reviewing awards.
In 2018 the Slovak courts addressed a number of issues while upholding arbitral awards, suggesting that the jurisdiction is becoming more arbitration friendly. This article explores two of these issues – namely, whether courts should review the application of substantive law and facts established by tribunals and the use of public policy as grounds for setting aside an award.
One of the main reasons for choosing arbitration as a method of dispute resolution has always been the finality of arbitral awards. However, in Slovakia, the finality of arbitral awards has often been called into question – even the Constitutional Court has assumed jurisdiction to review arbitral awards. While the country has come a long way in bringing the review of arbitral awards into line with international standards, there is still one stage where reviews of arbitral awards are somewhat unpredictable: enforcement.