Arbitral award recognition and enforcement

Motieka & Audzevičius represented a Lithuanian company group which owns 30 companies with investments in the real estate, mass media, municipal waste processing, energy and leisure sectors, in obtaining an arbitral award in Stockholm arbitration institution under the SCC rules against a Belarusian company and the successful enforcement of the award in the Republic of Belarus.

Last year, the Lithuanian creditor, represented by Motieka & Audzevičius team, successfully enforced the SCC Award in Lithuania. Lithuania’s Court of Appeal had enforced the SCC award against the Belarusian company, rejecting arguments that the service of documents was conducted improperly and was in breach of a treaty between Lithuania and Belarus. The Belarusian firm did not appeal the ruling of the Court of Appeal to Lithuania’s Supreme Court within 30 days of the decision, thus the SCC Award became fully binding on the Belarusian company in Lithuania.

However, the company still resisted repayment of its debt to the Lithuanian creditor. Therefore, our client moved to enforce the award in Belarus. Initially, it successfully enforced the Award in the Minsk Commercial Court, which was the first instance court to hear applications for the enforcement of international awards in Belarus. However, the defendant appealed the decision of the Minsk Commercial Court to the Supreme Court of Belarus presenting similar arguments as it had in the Lithuanian Court, in that the transfer of a right of claim under the contract would not automatically transfer the arbitration clause. The Supreme Court of Belarus upheld the decision of Minsk Commercial Court accepting the notion of the assignment of the arbitration clause, i.e. when the original creditor transfers its right of claim to a new creditor, the new creditor is bound by the terms of the contract of the previous creditor and debtor, including provisions defining dispute resolution, which in this case was arbitration.

Our team collaborated with Aleinikov & Partners on this matter.

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