Answer ... Arbitration proceedings in Bulgaria are regulated mainly by the International Commercial Arbitration Act. In addition, the Civil Procedure Code and the International Private Law Code contain provisions on certain arbitration matters.
According to the International Commercial Arbitration Act, the arbitration agreement must be concluded in written form. An agreement is considered to be in written form if it is reflected in a document signed by the parties or in an exchange of letters, telexes, telegrams or other forms of communication. Further, an arbitration agreement is considered to have been concluded when the respondent agrees to arbitration in written form or through a statement included in the minutes of the arbitration proceedings, or participates in the arbitration proceedings by depositing a written response to a claim, presenting evidence, filing a counterclaim or appearing at an arbitration hearing without questioning the jurisdiction of the arbitration.
Answer ... The International Commercial Arbitration Act is applicable to international and domestic arbitration. If the seat or residence of one of the parties to the proceedings is outside of Bulgaria, the arbitration is defined as international.
Some provisions of the International Commercial Arbitration Act do not apply to domestic arbitration proceedings (eg, the possibility to choose the language of the arbitration).
Answer ... The provisions of International Commercial Arbitration Act follow for the most part the legal principles envisaged in the UNCITRAL Model Law 1985 on International Commercial Arbitration.
Answer ... Only some of the provisions in the legislation are mandatory. For example, the rules that govern the validity and the required form of the arbitration agreement may not be amended or derogated from, the parties may not determine which disputes are subject to arbitration, the parties must be treated equally and so on.
Answer ... There are no publicly announced plans to amend the arbitration legislation in Bulgaria.
The last major amendment was in 2017, when a new provision was introduced to the Civil Procedure Code stating that disputes with consumers are no longer arbitrable (please see also question 8).
Answer ... Bulgaria is a signatory to the New York Convention since 1961.
Bulgaria has made a reciprocity reservation: that is, the New York Convention applies to arbitral awards made only in the territory of another contracting state. Regarding awards made in the territory of non-contracting states, the convention is applicable to the extent to which those states grant reciprocal treatment.
Answer ... Bulgaria is also a signatory to:
- the European Convention for International Commercial Arbitration;
- the Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of other States; and
- various bilateral legal assistance treaties.