Answer ... The parties may agree on the procedure for the establishment of the arbitration tribunal. In the absence of such agreement, the following rules apply:
- If the arbitration tribunal consists of three arbitrators, each of the parties will appoint an arbitrator and the two arbitrators will then appoint the third arbitrator.
- If a party does not appoint an arbitrator within 30 days of receiving a request from the other party to do so, or if the two arbitrators do not reach agreement on the appointment of the third arbitrator within 30 days of their appointment, the chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) may appoint an arbitrator upon request by one of the parties.
- If the arbitration tribunal consists of one arbitrator only and the parties cannot agree on the arbitrator, he or she will be appointed by the BCCI upon request by one of the parties.
The Sofia City Court (the district state court based in Sofia) is the appointing institution (instead of the BCCI) in disputes that are not related to commercial deals (ie, deals concluded by a merchant in relation to its business).
Answer ... The tribunal may consist of one or more arbitrators, as specified by the parties. If the parties have not specified the number of arbitrators, the tribunal will consist of three arbitrators.
An arbitrator must have at least eight years of professional experience, high moral qualities and a university degree.
Answer ... An arbitrator may be challenged if there are reasonable doubts about his or her impartiality, or if he or she does not have the necessary qualifications required by the parties. A party may challenge an arbitrator in whose appointment it has participated only if the grounds for the challenge become known after the appointment.
A party must challenge an arbitrator within 15 days of receiving notification of his or her appointment or of learning of the grounds for the challenge. The arbitration court will review and decide on the challenge. If the challenge is denied, the party may appeal this decision before the Sofia City Court. The decision of the Sofia City Court is final.
In addition, if an arbitrator cannot perform his or her obligations, his or her powers will be terminated. If the arbitrator does not withdraw from the proceedings on his or her own initiative, any party may request that the Sofia City Court terminate the arbitrator’s powers.
Answer ... If the challenge of an arbitrator is successful, a new arbitrator will be appointed in the same way as his or her predecessor was appointed.
Answer ... According to Article 13 of the International Commercial Arbitration Act, if a person is proposed to become an arbitrator for a certain dispute, he or she must disclose all circumstances that may raise reasonable doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence. This obligation must be followed throughout the arbitration proceedings.
Answer ... (a) Procedure, including evidence?
If there is no agreement between the parties regarding the procedure, the arbitrator may choose the relevant procedural rules. Further, the arbitration court may request that the competent state court gather certain evidence necessary for the arbitration proceedings.
(b) Interim relief?
Interim relief measures in arbitration proceedings are granted by the state courts in accordance with the general rules of the Civil Procedure Code.
(c) Parties which do not comply with its orders?
The procedural rules of the respective arbitration court will apply.
(d) Issuing partial final awards?
Under the International Commercial Arbitration Act, the tribunal may terminate the proceedings with a ruling if:
- the claimant withdraws its claim and the respondent does not object;
- the parties agree to the termination of the proceedings; or
- the tribunal finds another obstacle that prevents it from reviewing the case at hand and issuing a final award.
(e) The remedies it can grant in a final award?
The specifics regarding the available remedies will depend on the law applicable to the dispute.
Awarding interest is also subject to the law that applies to the dispute. Interest is generally awarded under Bulgarian law.
Answer ... The arbitration court will examine the case even if the respondent does not file a response to the claim. However, the absence of a response to the claim is not regarded as admission of the claim.
The arbitration court will render an award based on the evidence provided, even if none of the parties appear at the hearings.
Answer ... Arbitrators are not immune from liability.