The Court’s ordinary arbitration procedure is started by claimant filing a request for arbitration before the Court.
The request for arbitration must briefly state the following for the record:
- Identification and contact details for the parties to the arbitration.
- Identification and contact details for the representatives of the claimant in the arbitration.
- A brief description of the dispute.
- Description of relief sought and, if possible, the amount in dispute.
- The act, contract or legal transaction giving rise to or related to the dispute.
- The arbitration agreement that is invoked.
- A proposal as to the number of arbitrators, language and place of arbitration, if there is no previous agreement with relation thereto or it is sought to amend the previous agreement.
- If the arbitration agreement provides for the appointment of a three-member tribunal, designation of the arbitrator that the claimant is entitled to choose, although the parties may agree to make this designation at a later time.
- If any third party has provided funding or funds related to the outcome of the arbitration, this must be disclosed, along with the identity of the funding party.
The request for arbitration can also identify the law applicable to the substance of the dispute.
The request for arbitration must be accompanied by at least the following documents:
- Copy of the arbitration agreement or of the communications that record it.
- Copy of the main contracts or instruments out of which the dispute arises.
- Letter of engagement signed by the representatives of the party in the arbitration.
- Record of payment of the Court’s filing and administration fees and, if applicable, of provisions of funds for arbitrators’ fees.
Note: The Court’s filing fees amount to 800 euros if the sum claimed is lower than 300,000 euros, and to 1,000 euros if the quantum is higher. These fees can be paid via bank transfer in the name of Cámara de Comercio de España–Corte Española de Arbitraje, to the bank account number ES47-0182-2370-40-0201569522.
The filing of the request for arbitration sets in motion the arbitration proceedings, which are processed through the channels established in the Rules. Some of the most important steps or milestones that generally occur once arbitration has started are listed below:
- Notification to defendant of request for arbitration and summons to file an answer within the 20 days following receipt of notification.
- Filing of answer to request for arbitration and, if applicable, filing of counterclaim by defendant.
- If applicable, answer to counterclaim by claimant.
- Constitution of Arbitral Tribunal and delivery of arbitration case file to arbitrators.
- Issuance by arbitrators of the Terms of Reference within the 30 days following receipt of the arbitration case file and upon consultation with the parties. The main purpose of the Terms of Reference is to define the scope of the dispute, to establish the claims made by the parties and to define the issues submitted for a decision from the arbitrators.
- Issuance by arbitrators of first procedural order, together with or immediately following the Terms of Reference, and upon consultation with the parties. The first procedural order establishes matters including the procedural timetable.
- Filing of written pleadings by the parties (claim and answer to the claim and, if applicable, counterclaim and answer to the counterclaim).
- Holding of a hearing to examine witnesses and expert witnesses.
- Formulation of closing arguments by the parties.
- Deliberation and issuance of award, subject to examination by the Court.
The expedited procedure under the Court’s rules offers the parties a simplified and therefore more efficient arbitration procedure, without prejudice to their rights of due process or to the quality of the award. This procedure is specifically designed for lower-quantum claims (not exceeding one million euros), although it can be applied to higher-quantum claims if the parties so agree.
The fundamental aspects of the expedited procedure, which is regulated in article 58 of the Rules, are as follows:
- Scope of application
The expedited procedure will be applicable provided that:
- the total quantum of the matter does not exceed one million euros, or (ii) the parties have agreed to apply it, regardless of the date of the arbitration agreement or the quantum of the matter;
- the parties have not expressly agreed not to apply it; and
- the Court does not expressly exclude its application due to the circumstances of the case.
- Procedural features
- The dispute will generally be decided on by a sole arbitrator, regardless of the parties’ agreement as to the number of parties. On an exceptional basis, the Court may appoint an arbitral tribunal, having heard the parties, when at its own discretion it deems it appropriate due to the circumstances of the case.
- The Court will appoint the sole arbitrator – or, if applicable, the chair of the arbitral tribunal – if the parties – or, if applicable, the arbitrators designated thereby – do not communicate the designation thereof within a term of 15 days.
- It will not be necessary to draw up the Terms of Reference. It will, however, be necessary to hold a telephone conference to discuss the efficient organisation of the proceedings within the 20 days after the case file is sent to the arbitrator.
- The arbitrator has the broadest powers to conduct the arbitration proceedings as efficiently as possible, and particularly to:
- amend any of the terms established in the rules.
- limit the number, length and scope of the written pleadings.
- resolve, having heard the parties, to process the case file on an exclusively documentary basis.
- Unlike in ordinary proceedings, the arbitrators lack the power to extend the time limit for rendering the award. However, in exceptional circumstances and upon a reasoned proposal from the arbitrators or the parties or ex oficio, the Court may extend the time limit for rendering the award.
The Court’s Rules provide the parties with a specific procedure for seeking urgent interim relief. The parties thus have a route to obtain the provisional protection of their rights and interests when the circumstances do not allow them to wait until the constitution of the arbitral tribunal.
Some important aspects of the procedure for requesting emergency relief are summarised below:
- The applicant must file its request for arbitration within the term of 15 days as from the date of filing the request for emergency arbitration.
- The decision of the emergency arbitrator, which will take the form of a procedural order, must be reasoned and issued within a maximum term of 15 days as from when they are sent the case file.
- The decision of the emergency arbitrator will be binding on the parties.
- The decision of the emergency arbitrator will cease to be binding, among other reasons, if the Court resolves to terminate the request for emergency relief due to the request for arbitration not having been filed within the term of 15 days as from the date of filing of the request for emergency arbitration.
- The arbitrators in the main proceedings may modify, suspend or revoke the decision of the emergency arbitrator at the request of a party.
- Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the emergency arbitrator cannot act as an arbitrator in any arbitration related to the dispute.
- The arbitrators in the main proceedings will not be bound by the emergency arbitrator’s decisions.