Answer ... Unless the parties have agreed that an appeal on the merits is admissible, which is very rare, an award can be challenged only for formal reasons. Article 829 of the Code of Civil Procedure sets out the following “causes of nullity” (ie, grounds for challenging an award):
- The arbitration agreement was invalid;
- The arbitrators were not appointed pursuant to the law;
- The arbitrators did not have legal capacity;
- The award exceeded the scope of the arbitration agreement;
- The award does not contain the reasoning, the orders or the signatures of the arbitrators;
- The award was rendered after the expiration of the relevant timeframe;
- During the arbitration proceedings, the formalities agreed by the parties under sanction of nullity were not complied with and the nullity was not cured;
- The award conflicts with a previous award or judgment which has become res judicata (ie, final and binding) and was filed in the arbitration;
- The parties did not have sufficient and/or equal opportunities to present their case;
- The award does not decide the merits of the case;
- The award contains contradictory orders;
- The arbitrators did not decide on claims or defences raised by the parties; or
- The award conflicts with public policy.
In addition, an award might be subject to revocation if a party becomes aware of a fraud committed by the opponent or by an arbitrator, or discovers documents that were previously unknown due to the other party’s behaviour.
Third-party opposition is also possible if the award unduly harms the right of a third party.
Answer ... The summons seeking nullification of an award must be filed with the court at the seat of the arbitration within 90 days of service of the award on the party seeking the declaration of nullity. If the award is not formally served on the parties, the relevant deadline is one year from the latest signature of the arbitrators.
In case of revocation or third-party opposition, the deadline is 30 days from the date on which the interested party becomes aware of the circumstance triggering the possible challenge.
Answer ... An agreement to exclude the rights of challenge or appeal will be invalid.