Current Case Law of the Slovak National Courts regarding Arbitration - Czech and Central European Yearbook of Arbitration - Independence and Impartiality of Arbitrators - 2014
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1. Slovak Courts Do Not Have Jurisdiction to Order
an Interim Measure after the Commencement of
Arbitral Proceedings. Ruling of the Regional
Court in Bratislava [SVK], file No 2 Cob 74/2013,
dated 14 March 2013 and Ruling of the Supreme
Court of the Slovak Republic, file No 5 Obdo
24/2013, dated 12 June 2013.
interim measures | lack of jurisdiction by the court | exclusive jurisdiction
of the arbitral tribunal
17.01. Slovak courts have no jurisdiction to order interim measures after the
initiation of arbitral proceedings even when the arbitral tribunal has
not been constituted yet. A court has jurisdiction to issue an interim
measure only before the commencement of arbitral proceedings.
[Description of Facts and Legal Issues]
17.02. A Slovak developer involved in the construction of an industrial project
in Chile allegedly breached their obligations under the underlying
contract and its Chilean counterparty sought payment pursuant to
performance bonds issued by a Slovak bank. The respective contract
and the performance bonds contained an arbitration clause requiring
submission of all disputes to arbitration in Paris under ICC Rules.
Facing the request of the Chilean counterparty for payment pursuant to
the performance bonds, the Slovak developer initiated arbitral
proceedings. In those proceedings, the Slovak developer sought
declaratory relief to the effect that they had complied with their
contractual obligations and no breach had been committed.
17.03. Pending the outcome of the arbitration, the Slovak developer submitted
a request with the Slovak courts to order an interim measure that
would prevent the bank from paying under the performance bonds.
The Slovak court of first instance issued an interim injunction ex parte
and the Chilean counterparty filed an appeal with the Regional Court.
[Decision of the Regional Court]
17.04. The Regional Court held that the legislator’s intent under the
Arbitration Act has to be interpreted in a way that the arbitral tribunal
has exclusive jurisdiction to issue interim measures after the
commencement of arbitral proceedings. Otherwise, the court argued,
the concurrent jurisdiction of courts and the arbitral tribunal could be
abused by the parties to arbitral proceedings and result in ‘forum
shopping’. This could lead to a situation where a party whose request
for interim measures has been refused by either the arbitral tribunal or
the court could nevertheless attempt to obtain an equivalent measure
from the other body.
17.05. On the basis of the above, the Regional Court opined that since ICC
arbitration had already commenced, Slovak courts no longer had
jurisdiction to order interim measures. This was despite the fact that no