Many of our clients are interested in Belgium as a place for arbitration settlement. The key factor in this is the fact that Belgian jurisdiction does not differentiate whether arbitration is domestic or foreign.
Normally, it is decided where the arbitration will take place depending on the arbitration legislation applied in the particular case. The place of arbitration then influences the appealing conditions for the arbitral reward.
When it comes to most European international arbitration courts, especially the European Arbitration Chamber, their rules state that the court can hold sessions and hearings in any geographical location. It means then that the effect of the arbitral award will be the same as the one made in the official arbitration place.
How to choose the place
These are some of the factors that the parties of the dispute should consider while choosing an arbitration place:
- Geographical location;
- Obtaining a visa to the country;
- Supporting costs of the process;
- Promptness of an arbitration procedure.
The points that are not covered by the rules of the selected institution must be regulated by the arbitration legislation of the arbitration place. That is why thinking about the effectiveness of the choice is crucial before deciding on the place of arbitration in the arbitration agreement or clause.
Belgian arbitration legislation
In recent times, Belgium has received the status of a popular arbitration location. Mostly, it is a trendy choice for representatives of Arab states, the EU member states, the South-East Asian countries.
In many major international arbitration agreements, Belgium has the status of a party. Belgium presented a simplified compulsory procedure for foreign arbitral awards. Also, the country acquired a guarantee stating that the decisions of the international arbitration tribunals under Belgian jurisdictions will be recognized and enforced in 134 countries.
The legislative basis of Belgian arbitration is the Strasbourg Convention that is also a part of the Belgian Judicial Code. An important note to the Belgian arbitration law: it is not limited to commercial arbitration.
In Belgium, some disputes fall under the category with restrictions for submitting them to arbitration:
- Consumer protection;
- Obtaining patent licensing in Belgium;
- Commercial agency disputes;
- Termination of exclusive distribution agreements.
Overall, when it comes to arbitration procedures and agreements, Belgian law is rather liberal. Given that the evidence of their establishment exists, such agreements can be oral.
Start of arbitration
To initiate proceedings in a commercial dispute in Belgium, one should start by filing a request for arbitration. It should be submitted at the place of legal address, residence, main place of work, or e-mail address of the defendant. These documents are necessary for the arbitral tribunal’s decision.
If you decide to choose Belgium as a place where the arbitration will be initiated, remember that the local courts can intervene at certain stages of the process:
- Appointment of arbitrators;
- Challenging the arbitrator or issuing an order to recall them;
- Set a deadline for the arbitrator’s decision.
Once all interested parties agree on this, Belgian arbitration can use mechanisms of involving third parties such as recruiting additional parties or consolidation.
Ending an arbitration
In Belgium, arbitration proceedings may be ended by the arbitral tribunal. An important detail: for a civil court to apply for cancellation of an arbitral award at least one of the parties must have a place of their residence or legal address of a commercial enterprise or branch located in Belgium. Consequently, refusals to appeal against Belgian civil court’s awards led to a lower number of cases when a decision can be appealed. Besides, judicial control at the place where the arbitral reward is delivered is almost completely reduced.
Our specialists in COREDO are ready to provide you with legal advice related to alternative methods of resolving business disputes in Belgium. Furthermore, COREDO provides consultations on resolving financial disputes through mediation. If you are interes