Successfully represented Gazprom before the Supreme Court of Lithuania

Motieka & Audzevičius has successfully represented OAO Gazprom in a hotly debated litigation before the Supreme Court of Lithuania as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The case concerned litigation regarding the recognition and enforcement of the SCC arbitral award in Lithuania in a case between OAO Gazprom and the Ministry of Energy of Lithuania. The case was focused on the Ministry’s breach of the arbitration agreement concluded in the Shareholders agreement. The arbitral tribunal had decided that the initiation of the Lithuanian court proceedings by the Ministry was in breach of the agreement and ordered it to withdraw part of its claims in the national courts. The case was heard by the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling as to whether it should refuse to enforce the SCC award, which it believed may have been inconsistent with EU law.

In its judgment of 13-05-2015 in Case C 536/13, the CJEU found that Brussels I Regulation must be interpreted as not precluding a court of a Member State from recognising and enforcing, or from refusing to recognise and enforce, an arbitral award prohibiting a party from bringing certain claims before a court of that Member State.

Subsequently, in its judgment of 2015-10-23 the Supreme Court of Lithuania had granted recognition and enforcement of the SCC award by which the Ministry was obliged to withdraw certain claims from Lithuanian courts against Gazprom’s former officials.

The Lithuanian Supreme Court had noted that when a party concludes arbitration agreement it voluntarily limits its right to refer to the court. The measures taken by the arbitration tribunal in this case just protected the will of the parties regarding the method of dispute resolution chosen by them and the arbitration procedure itself. The Supreme Court had also held that recognition and enforcement of arbitration award in the Republic of Lithuania, by which a party is precluded from litigation in a court, has no impact to the courts’ right to decide on their jurisdiction or to examine the merits of the case.

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