International commercial arbitration is actively used worldwide as an effective dispute resolution mechanism and an alternative to the state courts. In this guide we aim to describe the Belarusian commercial arbitration - we are going to highlight the existing court practice in this sphere and the peculiarities you normally have to bear in mind when applying for arbitration in Belarus.
Information in this guide basically covers international commercial arbitration in the Republic of Belarus, unless directly indicated otherwise. This guide is not legal advice, as each case is individual and must be considered by a specialist. All court practice mentioned is available either at the website of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus or through the legal information systems.
At the date of the present guide preparation, the Belarusian basic unit amounts to 29 BYN. Official currency exchange rates are available at the official website of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.
I. LEGISLATION IN THE SPHERE OF INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION
Legislation of the Republic of Belarus acknowledges arbitration as a dispute resolution technique and involves the following main components.
1.1. International law
The Republic of Belarus acknowledges the priority of generally accepted principles of international law and procures the compliance of Belarusian legislation with them1. Moreover, in the sphere of international commercial arbitration, an international agreement will have priority over the provisions of the Law on IAC2.
The Republic of Belarus is a participant of the New York Convention, of the European Convention, and of a number of bilateral agreements containing special provisions applying to international commercial arbitration.
The New York Convention stipulates, inter alia:
- the obligation to recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards;
- a definition of an arbitration agreement, and requirements to its form and contents;
- grounds for denying recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.
By December 2020, the New York Convention had 166 member states, including the Republic of Belarus, which allows seamless recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in Belarus.
The European Convention regulates such issues as:
- definition of an arbitration agreement;
- foreigner's right to be arbitrators;
- competence of arbitral tribunals and arbitration mechanisms despite any wording defects in the arbitration agreement or other problems hindering proper adjudication (appointment of arbitrators);
- challenge of arbitrators and jurisdiction of state courts;
- applicable law to the merits;
- grounds for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.
The Republic of Belarus does not have international agreements or protocols stipulating any restrictions in terms of application of the European Convention.
Some bilateral agreements stipulate special regulations with respect to arbitration proceedings. For instance, art. 21 and art. 22 of the agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Turkey on legal aid in civil, commercial and criminal cases executed in Ankara on March 13, 2012 stipulates special procedures and grounds for denying recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.
1. art. 8 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus
2. art. 5 of the Law on IAC
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.