Thought leadership from our experts

Spain: Update On Arbitration

1. Two important developments in Spain relating to arbitration are worth notice: (i) the first-ever enforcement of an ICSID award in Spain and (ii) the new 2015 arbitration rules of the Civil and Commercial Court of Arbitration (CIMA) (hereinafter, the 2015 CIMA Arbitration Rules).

2. Following the increasing trend in jurisdictions seeking to attract arbitration, in 2010, Madrid created a specialized arbitration court: the Court of First Instance 101. The existence of such a court can have a positive effect on the perception of a jurisdiction as a seat for arbitration, as it guarantees that the court interacting with the arbitration will have both a positive view of arbitration and the necessary expertise to ensure the arbitration functions effectively.

This Court has exclusive jurisdiction with respect to judicial supervision of and assistance to arbitrations seated in the Judicial District of Madrid, Spain's leading center of arbitral practice. In particular, this Court has jurisdiction in all matters relating to assistance for the taking of evidence, provisional or interim relief, and enforcement of awards. As a result of this specialization, on March 6, 2013 this Court granted the first-ever leave for enforcement of an ICSID award in Spain. Rendered on May 8, 2008 in the ICSID case Víctor PeyCasado and President Allende Foundation v. Republic of Chile, the Court granted the leave for enforcement without requesting the submission of any previous exequatur for the award and thus in accordance of Article 54(1) of the ICSID Convention, to which Spain is a signatory country and in the total amount of 4.975.630,65 USD, including interest and costs.

As this case shows, the creation of this specialized court for arbitration must be regarded as a welcome evolution of the practice of arbitration in Spain, as it ensures a uniform and informed approach to entangled matters, contributing significantly to the desirability of Madrid as a seat.

3. The Civil and Commercial Court of Arbitration (CIMA) was founded in 1989. Since CIMA was first established, there has been unprecedented growth in both Spain and worldwide in the use of arbitration to resolve commercial disputes. As private and independent arbitration institution, CIMA remarkably improved the value of arbitration in Spain providing the supervision of dispute resolution mechanisms with a professional excellence and commitment that lead it to be widely considered today as a leading arbitration court. The CIMA's first Rules of Arbitration were published in Spanish and English in 1989 and amended respectively in 2003 and 2010. The 2015 CIMA Arbitration Rules were unveiled at its Congress held in Madrid from 5th to 7th October 2014 and entered into effect on January 1, 2015.

The 2015 CIMA Arbitration Rules integrate twenty-five years of experience in the management and administration of arbitration procedures, simplifying the wording of its provisions and providing the parties with flexible, effective and predictable technical solutions to address a wide range of situations that may arise during its development. The result is a set of state-of-the-art rules that consists of sixty-three articles (63), an additional provision, a transitory provision and three annexes (3), including the regulation of the emergency arbitrator and the new appointing function of CIMA, as an appointing authority.

The 2015 CIMA Arbitration Rules differentiates four phases of the arbitration procedure. The first phase, to be carried out before the Court; the second one, focus on drafting the terms of reference; the third one, a procedural phase; and, finally and essentially voluntary, the last fourth phase, consisting of an optional challenge of the final award, before the Court.

The 2015 CIMA Arbitration Rules present a series of innovations designed to expand its presence internationally, as it provides its users with a set of cutting edge provisions, incorporating advanced tools, from which to deal with all challenges that commercial arbitration will face in the medium and long term.