International Arbitration & Portuguese Law
A robust legal system
When selecting a jurisdiction for international arbitration, as noted in previous posts, there are several important factors to consider, among them, is the legal system of the country chosen. Portugal has recently implemented some changes to its legal system, including to international arbitration laws, which make it an alluring jurisdiction.
On the 14th of March 2012 the new Portuguese Voluntary Arbitration Law (PAL) came into effect and revoked the former, and more outdated, Portuguese arbitration law. The PAL is inspired by the Uncitral Model Law, and aims to introduce a more modernized system for arbitration and further promote Portugal as an appealing jurisdiction for international arbitration.
PAL provides for the most in-demand features ranging from the principle of separability of arbitration agreements as well as the competence of arbitral tribunals to decide on their own competence to the joinder of third parties, as well as the powers that are granted to arbitral tribunals to order interim measures in pending or about to start arbitrations. The general advantageous principles underlying the PAL are:
- Party autonomy;
- Kompetenz-kompetenz: the PAL confers jurisdiction on state courts to decide a dispute only where the arbitration agreement is manifestly null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed;
- Adhering to procedural principles such as, party equality, due and fair process, and the adversarial principle.
The principle of separability of the arbitration clause recognized by the PAL is also an advantage as a finding of nullity or unenforceability of the contract will not affect the validity of the arbitration clause.
Arbitral awards in Portugal are final and subject to no appeal. An annulment of the arbitral award may only be granted under very limited and special circumstances. This new arbitration law also provides for very constricted and limited circumstances under which a foreign arbitral award may be refused recognition and enforcement.
Portugal is a part of around 60 bilateral investment treaties, making it a prime location for the resolution of international arbitration cases from a varying and wide range of countries. Portugal is also a signatory party to the most relevant international treaties related to arbitration, such as the New York Convention and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Convention. Being a part of these various treaties makes it so that there is less legal confusion when selecting Portugal as a jurisdiction for arbitration.
Next week’s article will focus on the support that state courts confer to arbitration in Portugal.
If you would like more information or have any questions regarding international arbitration in Portugal, please feel free to download our extensive Guide to Portuguese Arbitration.
You may also fill out the form below in the event that you wish us to contact you regarding any international arbitration needs and we will be in touch as soon as is possible.