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Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in Serbia

Foreign Arbitral Award Serbia
Vuk Vučković Attorney at Law - Legal Consultant

Although this subject may not be on top of your mind when talking about company formation or immigration, we believe that this subject is important when talking about business, entrepreneurship, and law. It is not that rare to see one company having disputes with another one. Therefore, it is our firm belief here at Asst Office that you will find this information helpful.

In principle, a domestic arbitral award is one rendered in an arbitration seated in Serbia, while a foreign arbitration award is one rendered in an arbitration seated abroad. A domestic arbitration award can be enforced directly in Serbia since it has the force of a final domestic court decision. However, a foreign arbitral award must first be recognized by the competent court in Serbia.

The recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Serbia are governed by the Serbian Law on Arbitration. Serbia is also a signatory to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) and the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration of 1961.

Grounds for refusal of recognition under the Serbian Law on Arbitration correspond to those listed in Article V of the New York Convention, and they are not country-specific. There are two groups of reasons, one which courts examine ex officio and the other which courts examine only at a party’s request. Reciprocity is not a requirement for enforcement; thus, the country of origin should not be a concern from that aspect.

Recognition of a foreign arbitral award can be the subject matter of an independent proceeding, or it can be decided as a provisional/preliminary question in an enforcement proceeding.

  • The advantage of an independent proceeding is that once an arbitral award is recognized, it obtains the force of a domestic final court judgment. In other words, it has an effect on everyone and can be enforced in as many enforcement proceedings as necessary to recover the entire amount of the claim. There is no need to repeat the recognition process. The disadvantage is that this proceeding can take a significant amount of time if the appeal is lodged.
  • On the other hand, recognition of the foreign arbitral award as a provisional/preliminary question directly in the enforcement procedure can be faster than the independent proceeding. However, if recognition of an arbitral award is decided as a provisional question within the enforcement proceeding, then the recognition is effective only in such enforcement proceeding. In other words, if the lender does not manage to enforce the entire claim in one proceeding, it would have to go through the recognition process again.

If you need any assistance or additional information regarding this matter, feel free to contact us, and let our Legal team provide you with valuable advice.