Commercial Arbitration

Last verified on Wednesday 4th May 2022

Commercial Arbitration: Slovakia

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1. Is your state a party to the New York Convention? Are there any noteworthy declarations or reservations?

Slovakia

Czechoslovakia signed and ratified the New York Convention in 1958 and 1959, subject to the reciprocity reservation. Slovakia acceded to the New York Convention on 28 May 1993. Consequently, arbitral awards issued in non-contracting states will only be enforceable to the extent to which reciprocal treatment is granted to awards rendered in Slovakia by those states.

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2. Is your state a party to any other bilateral or multilateral treaties regarding the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards?

Slovakia

Slovakia remains a party to the Geneva Convention on the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1927, despite its effective replacement by the New York Convention. Furthermore, Slovakia is a party to the ICSID Convention of 1965 and the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration 1961. Other treaties include the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses 1923 and numerous bilateral investment treaties with other states non-EU concerning arbitration in investor-state disputes.

On 14 October 2020, Slovakia ratified the Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties between the member states of the European Union (Termination Treaty), which purports to implement the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Achmea (case C-284/16), in which the ECJ held that a dispute resolution provision contained in a bilateral investment treaty between the member states was incompatible with EU law. By ratifying the Termination treaty, Slovakia has also terminated all of its bilateral investment treaties with other member states, with effect from 13 November 2020.

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3. Is there an arbitration act or equivalent and, if so, is it based on the UNCITRAL Model Law? Does it apply to all arbitral proceedings with their seat in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

Commercial arbitrations seated in Slovakia are principally governed by Act No. 244/2002 on arbitration, as amended (the Arbitration Act). The Arbitration Act was substantially amended with effect from 1 January 2015 (the 2015 Amendment), with some further minor amendments in 2017 and 2020. From 1 January 2015, the wording of the Arbitration Act is aligned with the 2006 version of the UNCITRAL Model Law. It applies equally to domestic and international arbitrations seated in Slovakia, as well as to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards.

Arbitration-like alternative dispute resolution methods applying to consumer contracts are governed by a separate Act. No. 335/2014 on consumer arbitration (the Consumer ADR Act).

Some sections of Act No. 160/2015 (the Code of Civil Litigation) apply to the relationship between courts and tribunals, especially in terms of support for arbitration proceedings.

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4. What arbitration bodies relevant to international arbitration are based within your jurisdiction? Do such bodies also act as appointing authorities?

Slovakia

Despite not being based in Slovakia, due to its proximity and good reputation for effective and impartial case management, the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) is often chosen by Slovak parties for resolving international as well as local disputes. ICC arbitration clauses are also widely used in practice.

Among the most prominent local arbitration bodies are the Arbitration Court of the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Arbitration Court of the Slovak Bar Association. Notably, on 2 January 2020, the Arbitration court of the Slovak Bar Association adopted new corporate dispute resolution rules, being the first arbitral institution in Slovakia to provide a solid base for Slovak entities wishing to arbitrate their intra-corporate disputes.

Before the 2015 Amendment, Slovakia has struggled with a high proliferation of permanent arbitral institutions of a doubtful quality. After the 2015 Amendment, however, only several specifically listed institutions are allowed to establish new arbitration bodies in Slovakia. All other non-complying arbitration bodies ceased to exist by the operation of law.

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5. Can foreign arbitral providers operate in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

International arbitrations can be conducted in Slovakia under the rules of a foreign arbitral institution. 

Nevertheless, only entities empowered by the Arbitration Act are allowed to establish permanent arbitration institutions in Slovakia. It is therefore doubtful whether foreign institutions would be able to maintain a permanent presence in Slovakia. On the other hand, it should be perfectly fine for the foreign arbitral providers to administer arbitrations seated in Slovakia without being permanently established in Slovakia. The above-mentioned restriction only applies to Slovak institutions.   

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6. Is there a specialist arbitration court? Is the judiciary in your jurisdiction generally familiar with, and supportive of, the law and practice of international arbitration?

Slovakia

The Code of Civil Litigation vests jurisdiction in matters relating to commercial arbitration in three district courts (courts of first instance) covering the western, central and eastern part of Slovakia respectively. The rationale of this division is to further increase the build-up of arbitration-specific know-how and consolidate case law related to arbitration.    

At the moment, familiarity with the practice of international arbitration is the highest at the level of regional courts (courts of second instance) and the Supreme Court (a cassation court). Nevertheless, the courts of all instances, including the Constitutional Court, are recently increasingly supportive of arbitration.

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Agreement to arbitrate

7. What, if any, requirements must be met if an arbitration agreement is to be valid and enforceable under the law of your jurisdiction? Can an arbitration agreement cover future disputes?

Slovakia

Whether concluded as a separate agreement or as a contractual clause, the arbitration agreement has to be in writing. The “writing” requirement is regulated in liberal terms to reflect modern business usage. In particular, an agreement is considered to be in writing even if it is contained in the exchange of parties’ written communication or concluded by purely electronic means, provided that the content of the electronic exchange and the parties involved are identifiable.

The Arbitration Act contains an explicit acknowledgement that an agreement to arbitrate can also be incorporated by reference into a document neither directly attached to nor countersigned by the parties, as long as the reference to the document containing the arbitration clause is clear and specific. An example of such an agreement would be an arbitration clause included in a party’s general terms and conditions, which are referred to in the main contract.

An arbitration agreement is also deemed validly concluded if it is included in the internal corporate documents of corporations. This allows for arbitrability of many corporate disputes. Arbitration clauses provided for in the corporate documentation are also, in principle, automatically binding on new shareholders in the company without the need for a separate accession or signature.

A freely negotiated arbitration agreement can cover future disputes.

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8. Are any types of dispute non-arbitrable? If so, which?

Slovakia

Arbitration is generally available in civil and commercial matters, including disputes on the existence of a legal relationship or a legal title. The Arbitration Act thus allows almost all private law relationships, which do not involve a consumer contract, to be subjected to arbitration proceedings.

The resolution of disputes involving consumer contracts was carved out from the scope of the Arbitration Act (the 2015 Amendment) into a separate Consumer ADR Act, providing for a stricter regulatory and licensing regime.

Furthermore, Arbitration Act contains an exhaustive list of non-arbitrable disputes, namely, personal status of physical persons including divorce, adoption, etc; ownership rights and other rights in rem in respect of immovable property; forced enforcement (execution) of court or administrative decisions, and disputes arising out of bankruptcy and work-out proceedings.

The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic further opined that employment matters are also non-arbitrable in Slovakia.

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9. Can a third party be bound by an arbitration clause and, if so, in what circumstances? Can third parties participate in the arbitration process through joinder or a third-party notice?

Slovakia

The general rule is that an arbitration agreement cannot be invoked or enforced against a non-signatory. This rule does not hold true for legal successors of the original party to an arbitration agreement, unless it was explicitly specified in the arbitration agreement. Similarly, this rule is inapplicable in cases of arbitration clauses included in the founding documents of corporate entities.

Arbitration rules of some local institutions allow, subject to the tribunal’s approval, a third-party possessing a legal interest in the result of arbitration to join the proceedings as a new independent participant. If actions of the new party conflict with the actions of the original party holding the same litigation position (either as a claimant or as a defendant), then the arbitral tribunal would have to assess their validity in the light of all circumstances.

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10. Would an arbitral tribunal with its seat in your jurisdiction be able to consolidate separate arbitral proceedings under one or more contracts and, if so, in what circumstances?

Slovakia

The Arbitration Act does not expressly provide for a general power of an arbitral tribunal to consolidate separate arbitral proceedings into one. However, this power is recognised in the arbitration rules of some local arbitral bodies. For example, pursuant to the Rules of Procedure of the Arbitration Court of the Slovak Bar Association, the proceedings may be consolidated only upon the party’s request and after having considered the compatibility of the arbitration agreements and the composition of the arbitral tribunals.

Further, it is generally recognised that if a respondent purports to file a counterclaim against a claimant, then he or she may do so with the same tribunal adjudicating on the original matter.

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11. Is the "group of companies doctrine" recognised in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

Slovak law does not recognise the “group of companies” doctrine as a means to bind associated corporate entities to an arbitration clause. There is also no specific case law where a third-party group company would be forced to join the arbitration without previous express agreement.

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12. Are arbitration clauses considered separable from the main contract?

Slovakia

The Arbitration Act recognises the concept of separability of arbitration clauses.

However, if an otherwise invalid contract contains an arbitration clause, such a clause would also be invalid if it suffers from the same reason for lack of validity as the rest of the contract.

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13. Is the principle of competence-competence recognised in your jurisdiction? Can a party to an arbitration ask the courts to determine an issue relating to the tribunals jurisdiction and competence?

Slovakia

The doctrine of competence-competence is specifically recognised in the Arbitration Act. The arbitral tribunal is authorised to decide on its own jurisdiction, including on challenges to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement. Questions of competence are usually dealt with at the outset of the proceedings and if the tribunal decides it has no jurisdiction on merits, it is obliged to dismiss the claim and terminate the proceedings.

If the tribunal confirms its jurisdiction, by way of a preliminary arbitral resolution or in the arbitral award itself, despite a challenge posed by one of the parties, the challenging party may, within 30 days of obtaining such decision, ask the court to decide on the issue of jurisdiction. Should the court decide against the arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction, the decision may be appealed by the other party. No appeal is possible where the first-instance court sides with the arbitral tribunal on the question of jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the arbitral tribunal may continue with the proceedings and issue a final award.

The Code of Civil Litigation also recognises the ‘negative effect’ of the competence-competence principle. If the arbitration has already commenced, a court is not able to hear a claim for invalidity, non-existence or termination of an agreement to arbitrate if the same question is pending before an arbitral tribunal. If the arbitration has not yet commenced, a court may be able to determine an issue relating to the tribunal’s jurisdiction, particularly if (i) the recognition of a foreign award in the same matter has been refused in Slovakia, (ii) the dispute is non-arbitrable under Slovak law, (iii) the tribunal has declined jurisdiction or (iv) the parties have jointly declared that they no longer wish to submit their dispute to an arbitration.   

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14. Are there particular issues to note when drafting an arbitration clause where your jurisdiction will be the seat of arbitration or the place where enforcement of an award will be sought?

Slovakia

As long as the arbitration clause complies with the writing requirement as defined in the Arbitration Act, then there are no further requirements to be complied with. Should the question of validity of a certain arbitration clause arise, it would be for the arbitral tribunal to assess the issue.

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15. Is institutional international arbitration more or less common than ad hoc international arbitration? Are the UNCITRAL Rules commonly used in ad hoc international arbitrations in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

The institutional arbitration is the predominant choice in Slovakia. There are no data available regarding the rules under which the ad hoc arbitrations are conducted in Slovakia.

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16. What, if any, are the particular points to note when drafting a multi-party arbitration agreement with your jurisdiction in mind? In relation to, for example, the appointment of arbitrators.

Slovakia

There are no particular points to note except for the general requirements of arbitral agreements having to grant equality between the parties.

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Commencing the arbitration

17. How are arbitral proceedings commenced in your jurisdiction? Are there any key provisions under the arbitration laws of your jurisdiction relating to limitation periods of which the parties should be aware?

Slovakia

In the absence of an agreed procedure for commencement of an arbitral proceedings, the Arbitration Act sets out the following possibilities that are applicable at different points in time.  

In ad hoc arbitrations, before establishment of a tribunal, proceedings are commenced from the date of receipt of a statement of claim by the other party. If the tribunal is composed of more than one arbitrator, the proceedings are commenced from the date of receipt of the statement of claim by the chairman of the tribunal (alternatively, if the chairman has not yet been appointed, to any of the arbitrators). Similarly, if the tribunal is composed of one arbitrator only, the proceedings are commenced from the date of receipt of the statement of claim by this arbitrator.

Where the arbitration is institutional, arbitration is initiated from the date of receipt of the statement of claim by the relevant arbitral institution.

Where an arbitral tribunal or court make a ruling that they have no jurisdiction to hear a dispute (on the basis of the existence or non-existence of an agreement to arbitrate), limitation periods that would otherwise have elapsed because a claim was initially brought to the wrong forum, shall continue for another 30 days to allow the relevant party to bring the same claim to the competent court or arbitral tribunal.

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Choice of law

18. How is the substantive law of the dispute determined? Where the substantive law is unclear, how will a tribunal determine what it should be?

Slovakia

First and foremost, substantive law is determined by the arbitration agreement and the parties’ choice. Any reference to a substantive law in the arbitration agreement excludes renvoi. Parties may also choose a set of transnational legal principles to govern their dispute, such as the United Nations CISG Convention or UNIDROIT principles.

In the absence of the parties’ choice, the arbitral tribunal shall apply rules of law that it considers appropriate under the relevant conflict of law rules. At the same time, the arbitral tribunal is required to take into consideration commercial realities of the business relationships at hand and generally apply respective lex mercatoria. Furthermore, parties may also empower any tribunal to decide their dispute on the grounds of fairness, however, without such explicit empowerment, arbitrators must only decide on the basis of law.

The regime for purely domestic arbitrations resembles more a standard court litigation procedure. The parties, as well as the arbitral tribunal, are free to choose applicable law to the extent permitted by the domestic conflict of law rules, namely the Rome I Regulation. At the same time, non-country specific rules of law are not permitted as substantive law for purely domestic disputes.

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Appointing the tribunal

19. Does the law of your jurisdiction place any limitations in respect of a partys choice of arbitrator?

Slovakia

The Arbitration Act takes a liberal approach towards a party’s choice of arbitrator. The appointed arbitrator must be a natural person, over the age of 18 years, with a full legal capacity and must not have any prior criminal conviction for a wilful crime. There must be no doubts as to the arbitrator’s impartiality, professional care and integrity.

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20. Can non-nationals act as arbitrators where the seat is in your jurisdiction or hearings are held there? Is this subject to any immigration or other requirements?

Slovakia

The nationality of arbitrators does not play any role in selection of a tribunal, nor does it place any limitation on parties in terms of their appointments. If a non-national purports to act as an arbitrator in Slovakia, standard travel or visa requirements apply. Citizens from the EU member states may act and move freely within the single market area.

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21. How are arbitrators appointed where no nomination is made by a party or parties or the selection mechanism fails for any reason? Do the courts have any role to play?

Slovakia

Parties to arbitration are free to design a mechanism for the selection of arbitrators in their respective dispute. If a selection mechanism has not been agreed, the Arbitration Act prescribes that for a tribunal with three arbitrators, each party is to select one arbitrator and the two appointed arbitrators will subsequently decide on the third one. If one of the parties fails to make any nomination within 15 days of the other party’s request or if the two appointed arbitrators fail to nominate a chair within 30 days of their nomination, the arbitrator may be selected by a court (or any other appointing authority).

Where a tribunal is to be composed of a sole arbitrator, the nomination of whom fails, the requesting party may go directly to a court (or any other appointing authority).   

In both cases, the court will only step in upon the request of a party.

Arbitrators can also be selected by the court if the parties had agreed that an arbitrator will be appointed by a natural or a legal person selected by the parties (the Appointing Authority), and at the moment of an arbitrator’s appointment, (i) the Appointing Authority does not exist; (ii) the Appointing Authority does not have the power to appoint an arbitrator or (iii) the Appointing Authority fails to appoint an arbitrator within the agreed time period.

The above rules would, in practice, only apply to ad hoc arbitrations as institutional rules always provide for a mechanism of appointing arbitrators.

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22. Are arbitrators afforded immunity from suit under the law of your jurisdiction and, if so, in what terms?

Slovakia

Arbitrators are afforded no special immunity for their function as adjudicators. Once arbitrators accept a nomination, they are bound to exercise their function in good faith and with professional care. Shall arbitrators breach relevant standards of conduct imposed by Slovak law, they can be liable for damages in accordance with the Civil Code of the Slovak Republic and face criminal sanctions in accordance with the Criminal Code of the Slovak Republic.

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23. Can arbitrators secure payment of their fees in your jurisdiction? Are there fundholding services provided by relevant institutions?

Slovakia

Slovak law does not provide for any specific rules in relation to arbitrators’ power to secure their fees. In domestic institutional arbitrations, arbitrators are paid directly by the relevant institution, which in turn collects ad valorem fees from the claimant.

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Challenges to arbitrators

24. On what grounds may a party challenge an arbitrator? How are challenges dealt with in the courts or (as applicable) the main arbitration institutions in your jurisdiction? Will the IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration generally be taken into account?

Slovakia

Every arbitrator has a duty to inform the parties (without undue delay) about any circumstances that may have an impact on his or her impartiality. Parties may object to an arbitrator nominated by them or an arbitrator in whose nomination they participated, but only in relation to the grounds of challenge that they became aware of after the appointment was made. There is no specific guidance to assist in the interpretation of these grounds, nor is there any guideline for arbitrators as to which matters should be disclosed.

A mechanism for the resolution of challenges may be agreed on by the parties. In the absence of such an agreement, a party wishing to challenge an arbitrator must do so in writing within 15 days of becoming aware of any grounds of challenge.

If the concerned arbitrator does not resign, any of the parties may ask an arbitral institution to remove the arbitrator from his or her function. The arbitration institution must decide on the challenge within 60 days.

If a challenge of an arbitrator is unsuccessful, the challenging party may, within 30 days, request a court to decide on the challenge. A decision of the general court dismissing the challenge of the arbitrator cannot be appealed. While such a request is pending, the arbitral tribunal may continue the arbitral proceedings and render an award.

It is unlikely that the IBA Guidelines would be used in Slovakia for the resolution of challenges to arbitrators, as they remain largely unknown to the domestic arbitration community.

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Interim relief

25. What main types of interim relief are available in respect of international arbitration and from whom (the tribunal or the courts)? Are anti-suit injunctions available where proceedings are brought elsewhere in breach of an arbitration agreement?

Slovakia

Both general courts and arbitral tribunals are permitted to issue interim measures in support of arbitration.

Arbitral tribunals may grant interim measures, inter alia: (i) prohibiting the disposal of some assets or funds; (ii) ordering a party to perform an action or refrain from doing so; (iii) ordering the disclosure of evidence; or (iv) depositing financial security.

The Arbitration Act recognises two types of interim measures: (i) standard interim measures and (ii) ex parte interim measures.

The arbitral tribunal may grant an ex parte interim measure without a prior notice to the affected party if authorised to do so in the arbitration agreement, but such measures will not be immediately enforceable by Slovak courts. Once served with the ex parte measure, the affected party may file an objection with the arbitral tribunal within 15 days. If the objection is unsuccessful at the level of the arbitral tribunal, the interim measure will become a standard interim measure and, therefore, will be enforceable by courts. The affected party will have the opportunity to submit a further objection with a general court.

Interim measures issued by arbitral tribunals with a prior notice having been given to the affected party (as well as reasonable time to comment on the measures) are capable of courts’ enforcement. The arbitral tribunal is also permitted to order the requesting party to provide security to the affected party, which is aimed at covering any potential damages that could be caused by the interim measures.

General courts are allowed to apply interim relief in accordance with the Code of Civil Litigation, which lists available interim measures encompassing a broad category of actions. A party to the arbitration may only request an interim measure from the general court before the commencement of arbitral proceedings; or after the commencement, but before the appointment of the arbitral tribunal. This was also re-affirmed by the Supreme Court of Slovakia in its recent decision no 2Cdo/216/2019. Once the arbitral tribunal is established, it has sole jurisdiction to decide on the interim relief.

Anti-suit injunctions are unknown to Slovak jurisprudence, and as such, the courts are unlikely to issue them. Nevertheless, the provision on interim measures in the Code of Civil Litigation is wide enough to encompass injunctive relief if a party to an arbitration pursues such claim.

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26. Does the law of your jurisdiction allow a court or tribunal to order a party to provide security for costs?

Slovakia

Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, an arbitral tribunal may order a claimant to make an advance payment covering the expected costs of proceedings and set a time limit for compliance with such a duty. If the claimant fails to provide the requested costs, the tribunal will dismiss the claim and stay the proceedings.

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Procedure

27. Are there any mandatory rules in your jurisdiction that govern the conduct of the arbitration (eg, general duties of the tribunal and/or the parties)?

Slovakia

The Arbitration Act is drafted in very liberal terms and so, the parties are free to agree on specific procedural rules governing the proceedings. There are, however, some rules that may not be derogated from, such as (i) equal treatment and equality of the parties, including the same opportunity to submit statements and evidence as well as replies to statements and evidence submitted by the other party; (ii) duty of the parties to cooperate with the arbitral tribunal; (iii) time limits for a challenge of certain actions in the proceedings; and (iv) duty of arbitrators to act in good faith and expeditiously.

Where institutional or other rules agreed by the parties are silent on an issue of procedure, the arbitrators are free to manage the proceedings as they consider appropriate, nevertheless, always ensuring that the parties are treated equally.

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28. What is the applicable law (and prevailing practice) where a respondent fails to participate in an arbitration?

Slovakia

If a respondent fails to provide a response to a claim, an arbitral tribunal is allowed to continue with the proceedings, but without treating the respondent’s failure to act as an admission of the claimant’s allegations. Furthermore, if a party fails to appear at a hearing or to present evidence, an arbitral tribunal shall proceed with the proceedings and issue an award.

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29. What types of evidence are usually admitted, and how is evidence usually taken? Will the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration generally be taken into account?

Slovakia

Generally, an arbitral tribunal may only take into account evidence presented to it by the parties. However, it has discretion as to which evidence it will take and in which way this evidence will be utilised. The tribunal’s consideration of evidence shall depend on the extent to which the evidence at hand can contribute to the clarification of a dispute.

Due to geographical proximity, the Prague Rules received a lot of attention in Slovakia when published. As the Prague Rules follow a civil law perception of arbitration, their local reach may be higher than with the IBA Rules. Nevertheless, neither the IBA Rules nor the Prague Rules are expected to be dominant in assessing the admissibility of evidence in Slovakia-seated arbitrations.

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30. Will the courts in your jurisdiction play any role in the obtaining of evidence?

Slovakia

Exceptionally, when it would not be possible for an arbitral tribunal to obtain specific evidence, the arbitral tribunal may seek the assistance of the civil court.

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31. What is the relevant law and prevailing practice relating to document production in international arbitration in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

There is no specific power of an arbitral tribunal to order document production in arbitral proceedings. It is usual for the arbitral tribunal to order document production only in relation to specific documents that are known to exist and that are in the possession of the other party. The arbitral tribunal may also order document production in the form of an interim relief, making such order directly enforceable by a court.

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32. Is it mandatory to have a final hearing on the merits?

Slovakia

Final hearings on the merits are not mandatory. In the absence of an express agreement, it is up to the arbitral tribunal whether to order hearings or decide on the basis of written documents only. Recent jurisprudence has confirmed that a hearing is merely an option, not a rule under the Arbitration Act (see, for example, case No. 41CoR/10/2018).

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33. If your jurisdiction is selected as the seat of arbitration, may hearings and procedural meetings be conducted elsewhere?

Slovakia

It is accepted that arbitral proceedings may physically take place in a different state from the seat of arbitration and that procedural meetings and other actions may be conducted at any place that the arbitral tribunal and the parties consider appropriate.

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Award

34. Can the tribunal decide by majority?

Slovakia

At least a majority vote is required, and consequently sufficient, for every arbitration with three or more arbitrators. Where there are an equal number of votes, the chairman’s vote is decisive.

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35. Are there any particular types of remedies or relief that an arbitral tribunal may not grant?

Slovakia

The Arbitration Act states that the arbitral tribunal must decide all the issues presented in the statement of claim or counterclaim. Nevertheless, it must ensure that it does not exceed its mandate. 

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36. Are dissenting opinions permitted under the law of your jurisdiction? If so, are they common in practice?

Slovakia

Dissenting opinions are permitted and every arbitrator is allowed to attach his or her dissent to the award. These are, however, not common in practice.

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37. What, if any, are the legal and formal requirements for a valid and enforceable award?

Slovakia

The default position for Slovakia-seated arbitrations is that an award must be in writing (hard copy) and signed by all arbitrators, with a stated reason for any absent signature. It must further identify the arbitral institution, names of the arbitrators, names of the parties, place of the arbitration and the date on which it was made. An award shall also contain a decision and, if the parties have not agreed otherwise, reasons for the decision. Moreover, the arbitral tribunal must also advise the parties about the possibility of initiating set-aside proceedings before general courts. A decision on costs of arbitration may be included in a separate award.

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38. What time limits, if any, should parties be aware of in respect of an award? In particular, do any time limits govern the interpretation and correction of an award?

Slovakia

There are no time limits imposed on arbitrators to render an award. A challenge to the award must be filed with the relevant court within 60 days of the award’s receipt by the challenging party.

Correction of the award in terms of typos, miscalculations and other obvious errors in writing must be performed by the arbitral tribunal on its own initiative or at the request of a party within 60 days of the award’s receipt.

Each party may, within 30 days of the award’s receipt, ask the tribunal to provide an interpretation of any part of the award.

If the parties have agreed in their arbitration agreement that a new arbitrator may assess the award, then a party must file such a request within 15 days of the date of the award’s receipt.

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Costs and interest

39. Are parties able to recover fees paid and costs incurred? Does the "loser pays" rule generally apply in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

In the absence of parties’ agreement or a choice of arbitral institution’s rules, the Arbitration Act leaves the decision on costs allocation entirely with the arbitral tribunal. Generally, the “loser pays” rule applies.

Nevertheless, legal fees in Slovakia are often awarded on the basis of a legal decree that sets out an exact amount for each action undertaken in the court or in the arbitration and usually does not reflect real expenditures of the parties. In such a case, the recovery of costs incurred in the arbitration might be limited and subject to the proportionality requirement.

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40. Can interest be included on the principal claim and costs? Is there any mandatory or customary rate?

Slovakia

Arbitral tribunal may award interest on the principal amount awarded in the decision on merits. Slovak law provides for a default statutory interest rate that varies depending on the subject matter. It is unlikely that interest on costs of arbitration would be ordered.

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Challenging awards

41. Are there any grounds on which an award may be appealed before the courts of your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

An appeal of the award, as opposed to seeking its annulment, is not available. A limited form of review of the award by the courts, primarily in terms of its objective arbitrability and compliance with public policy, occurs at the enforcement stage. During this limited review, courts shall not interfere with substantive findings of arbitral tribunals, including the application of law or determination of facts. Recent jurisprudence has emphasised courts’ limits (see, for example, case No. 43CoR/3/2021).

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42. Are there any other bases on which an award may be challenged, and if so what?

Slovakia

The Arbitration Act contains an exhaustive list of grounds on which the award may be challenged, which mimics article 5 of the New York Convention. Recent jurisprudence provides reassurance that the annulment proceedings cannot serve as a gateway to a substantive examination of the award (see, for example, case No. 43CoR/4/2020) and that courts cannot take into account the reasons for setting aside of the arbitral award if the challenging party has not raised them during the arbitration proceedings (see case No. 43CoR/3/2021).

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43. Is it open to the parties to exclude by agreement any right of appeal or other recourse that the law of your jurisdiction may provide?

Slovakia

Parties are not permitted to waive their right to seek an annulment of an award at the outset. Only after a specific default has occurred, and that default is not subject to an ex officio review by the courts, may the parties waive their right to seek the annulment of the award on the basis of that specific default.

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Enforcement in your jurisdiction

44. Will an award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration be enforced in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

A general court may, but is not obliged to, refuse the enforcement of an award that has been set aside. If the award has been challenged in its country of origin, a Slovak court may, upon a motion of a party, stay the enforcement of such award in Slovakia.

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45. What trends, if any, are suggested by recent enforcement decisions? What is the prevailing approach of the courts in this regard?

Slovakia

In the past six years, Slovak court judgments reflect a higher degree of deference to arbitral findings and a general friendliness towards arbitration. Since consumer ADR is clearly separated from the provisions on commercial arbitration, there are arguably no other major hindrances to the continued development of a sound commercial arbitration case law by the Slovak courts. The public policy exception is rarely used and there have been some encouraging enforcement decisions that emphasise that the notion of “public policy” ought to be interpreted in a narrow sense (to cases relating to criminal conduct) and in accordance with international standards (see, for example, case No. 41CoR/10/2018).

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46. To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?

Slovakia

There is an express prohibition on execution of state’s property in the Slovak Execution Code. Enforcement of an award against a state party might, consequently, be prejudiced by this provision. In relation to foreign states’ immunity, this issue is not regulated by Slovak law and would be dealt with under general rules of public international law.

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Further considerations

47. To what extent are arbitral proceedings in your jurisdiction confidential?

Slovakia

Unless agreed otherwise, Slovak seated arbitrations are private under the Arbitration Act. Arbitrators are bound by law to maintain confidentiality of all the information they come across during the arbitral proceedings, even after the end of their mandate. This duty of confidentiality is not, however, extended to parties or their representatives. The duty of confidentiality does generally also not apply in cases of mandatory disclosure to the law enforcement authorities and courts. The Arbitration Act further provides for a possibility of waiving the arbitrators’ duty of confidentiality by an agreement of the parties.

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48. What is the position relating to evidence produced and pleadings filed in the arbitration? Are these confidential? Is there any way that they might be relied on in other proceedings (whether arbitral or court proceedings)?

Slovakia

Subject to confidentiality agreements made between the parties and the relevant arbitral institution and/or arbitrators, evidence produced in arbitration proceedings may be used in other proceedings as well.

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49. What ethical codes and other professional standards, if any, apply to counsel and arbitrators conducting proceedings in your jurisdiction?

Slovakia

Lawyers acting as counsel or arbitrators are generally bound by ethical and professional codes of the Slovak Bar Association. Furthermore, as stated in the Arbitration Act, arbitrators are required to act in a good faith on bona fide terms and in the interest of justice.

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50. Are there any particular procedural expectations or assumptions of which counsel or arbitrators participating in an international arbitration with its seat in your jurisdiction should be aware?

Slovakia

No.

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51. Is third-party funding permitted in your jurisdiction? If so, are there any rules governing its use?

Slovakia

In principle, nothing in Slovak law prohibits (or expressly allows) third-party funding agreements concerning arbitration. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that such agreement would be concluded in respect of any Slovakia seated arbitration as the amounts in disputes being adjudicated in Slovakia do not support third-party funding arrangements.

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