INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION ACT
Promulgated State Gazette No. 60/5.08.1988, amended and supplemented, SG No. 93/2.11.1993, amended, SG No. 59/26.05.1998, amended and supplemented, SG No. 38/17.04.2001, 46/7.05.2002, Judgment No. 9/24.10.2002 of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria – SG No. 102/1.11.2002, amended, SG No. 59/20.07.2007, effective 1.03.2008
(1) (Amended, SG No. 93/1993) This Act shall apply to international commercial arbitration, based on an arbitration agreement when the place of arbitration is on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
(2) The International commercial arbitration allows civil property disputes resulting from foreign economic relations as well as disputes for filling in the gaps in a contract or its adaptation to changed circumstances, if the domicile or the seat of at least one of the parties is not in the Republic of Bulgaria,
(Repealed, SG No. 38/2001)
A state or a state institution or agency may be constituted as a party to an international commercial arbitration.
The arbitration may be a permanent institution or may be initiated for the resolution of a given dispute.
A party that is aware of the breach of certain non -imperative provisions of this Law or requirements envisaged by an arbitration agreement and nevertheless it continues to participate in the arbitration procedure without raising immediate objections in the envisaged time period, is not entitled to refer to this contravention.
The court proceedings related with the arbitration procedures are allowed only in the cases envisaged by this Act.
(1) An arbitration agreement is the consent of the parties to entrust to the court of arbitration to solve all or certain disputes, which may arise or have arisen between them on the subject of a contract or non-contractual legal relations. The arbitration agreement may take the form of arbitration clause in another contract or a settlement agreement.
(2) The arbitration agreement shall be in a written form. An agreement is considered in a written form if it is contained in a document signed by the parties or in an exchange of letters, telexes, telegrams or other forms of communications.
(3) An arbitration agreement is considered concluded when the defendant in a written form or by a statement, included in the Minutes of the arbitration proceedings agrees that the dispute be brought to Arbitration Court or when the defendant takes part in the arbitration proceedings without questioning the jurisdiction of the arbitration.
(1) (Amended, SG No. 59/2007) The court which has been seized with a claim related to a dispute which is subject to an arbitration agreement, is obliged to terminate the case if the party refers to it within the time limit for response to the statement of action. In case the Court finds the arbitration agreement null and void or that it has lost its validity or it is impossible to be executed, then the case is not terminated.
(2) The arbitration procedure may be initiated, continued or terminated by rendering a award by the Court, despite the fact that the dispute in question is a subject to a pending lawsuit in a local or foreign court.
Each of the parties to an arbitration agreement may request from the court before and during the arbitration procedure guarantees for the petition or for the evidence.
The provisions of Article 8, para 1 and of Article 9 shall apply also to the cases when the arbitration agreement envisages arbitration in a third country.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COURT OF ARBITRATION
(1) The Arbitration Court may consist of one or more than one arbitrators, their number being defined by the parties. When the parties in a case have not defined the number of arbitrators, the court shall consist of three arbitrators.
(2) The functions of the arbitrator may be taken also by a person who is not citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria.
(1) The parties may agree on the procedure for the establishment of an Arbitration Court,
(2) In the absence of an agreement for the legal proceedings:
1. If the Arbitration Court consists of three arbitrators, each of the parties shall appoint an arbitrator and the two arbitrators shall appoint the third one.
2. If the party does not appoint an Arbitrator within 30 days after receiving the claim of the other party or if the two arbitrators do not reach an agreement on the appointment of the third arbitrator within 30 days from the moment of their appointment, The Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry may appoint an arbitrator upon request by one of the parties.
3. If the Arbitration Court consist of one arbitrator only and the parties can not agree on the choice of an arbitrator, he or she is appointed by the body envisaged in the previous paragraph upon the request of one of the parties.
(3) The Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, when selecting an arbitrator, shall take into consideration his or her qualifications needed for the achievement of an agreement between the parties as well as all circumstances which ensure the appointment of independent and impartial arbitrator,
(4) The decision of the Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry under par as 2 and 3 is definitive.
When a person is approached with an offer to be nominated as an arbitrator for a dispute, the person in question shall point out all circumstances which may raise any well grounded doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence. The Arbitrator is subject to this obligation after his or her appointment as well.
(Amended, SG No. 59/1998)
(1) An arbitrator may be challenged only under circumstances that raise substantiated doubts about his or her impartiality or independence or in the case of an absence of the needed professional qualifications agreed upon by the parties.
(2) The Party may challenge an arbitrator who has been appointed by its own initiative only in the case of disclosure of additional grounded circumstances after the appointment.
(1) The parties may agree upon the procedure for challenging an arbitrator. They may not exclude the application of Article 16.
(2) In the absence of an agreement an arbitrator may be challenged not later than 15 days after the party becomes aware of the existence of an Arbitration Court or after it had found out circumstances which give legal grounds for the challenge.
(3) The claim for a challenge is made in a written form to the Arbitration Court, while pointing out the grounds thereof.
(4) The Arbitration Court shall consider the challenge of an arbitrator with the exception of the cases when the arbitrator resigns from his duties or the other party accepts the challenge.
(Amended, SG No. 59/1998, 38/2001)
(1) (Amended, SG No. 59/2007) In case the Arbitration Court does not take into account the challenge, the party that has initiated it may within 7 days after the notification submit a petition to the Sofia City Court with the request for consideration of the challenge. The Sofia City Court shall consider the petition in compliance with Chapter Twenty-One “Appeal of Rulings” of the Code of Civil Procedure, its decision being final.
(2) The Arbitration Court may continue the consideration of the case and render a verdct notwithstanding the challenge and petition under para 1.
(1) (Amended, SG No. 59/1998) When the arbitrator is not in a position to fulfil his or her obligations or does not undertake any action without proper justification for his or her inaction, his or her powers are suspended.
(2) If in the cases under the foregoing paragraph, the arbitrator does not renounce by his or her own initiative or if the parties do not reach an agreement on the suspension of his or hers powers, each of the parties may request the Sofia City Court to rule on the suspension of powers. The decision of the Court is definitive.
When the powers of an arbitrator are suspended, another arbitrator is appointed in compliance with the procedure for appointment of the arbitrator whose powers have been suspended.
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF ARBITRATION
(1) The court of arbitration asserts its jurisdiction also in the cases when it is questioned on the grounds of non-existence or invalidity of the arbitration agreement.
(2) The arbitration agreement included in a contract is independent from the other stipulations. The invalidity of the contract does not mean by itself that the clause for arbitration which is an integral part to that contract is also invalid.
(1) The objection that the Arbitration Court does not have any jurisdiction in the case, shall be made at the latest with the response to the plaintiff’s petition. It may be raised by the party which has appointed or participated in the nomination of an arbitrator.
(2) If a question is submitted which is beyond the jurisdiction of the court, the objection on its jurisdiction shall be raised immediately.
(3) The Arbitration Court may respect posterior objections concerning its jurisdiction if it has a good and plausible reasons thereof,
(4) The Arbitration Court shall rule on the objections under the foregoing paragraph with a definition or by a decision of the court.
Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the Arbitration Court may upon demand of one of the parties oblige its opposite number to undertake the appropriate measures for guaranteeing the rights of the plaintiff. In case these measures are authorized, the Arbitration Court may set up guarantees which are to be presented by the plaintiff.
CONSIDERATION OF THE ARBITRATION CASE
The parties to the arbitration proceedings have equal rights. The Arbitration Court shall give each of them the opportunity to defend its rights.
The arbitration proceedings shall begin on the day when the defendant receives the claim submitted to arbitration, unless the parties have agreedotherwise.
The parties may agree on the procedure which the Arbitration Court will follow during the case. In the absence of an agreement, the Arbitration Court shall proceed with the case in an expedient and proper manner. In both cases, it has to give each party equal opportunities to defend its rights.
The parties may agree on the place where the arbitration case will be considered. In the absence of agreement, the place shall be chosen by the Arbitration Court, taking into consideration the circumstances of the case and the convenience of the parties.
The parties may agree on the language or the languages that will be used in the arbitration proceedings. In the absence of agreement the language or the languages may be determined by the Arbitration Court. It may issue an instruction for all written evidence to be accompanied by a translation in the language or the languages agreed by the parties or determined by the Arbitration Court.
(1) The written petition shall specify the names and the addresses of the parties, the circumstances on which the claim is based and its essence. In the written reply of the defendant, his opinion on the claim shall be pointed out.
(2) The claim and the response shall be presented in a time period agreed with the parties or determined by the court of arbitration.
(3) The parties shall submit the petition and the response and enclose any other evidence that they may decide to submit.
The defendant may submit an adverse claim at the latest with the response to the plaintiff’s claim.
Each party may change or supplement its claim or objection during the arbitration proceedings. The Arbitration Court may disregard the requested change if it considers that it may create particular difficulties for the other party.
The parties may agree the case to be considered only on the basis of written evidence and statements without being summoned. The Arbitration Court may set a meeting with the participation of the parties if it is deemed necessary for the just and fair settlement of the case.
(1) The parties shall be notified in due time about the arbitration session or the envisaged by the Arbitration Court examination or scrutiny of documents, goods or other items.
(2) The written evidence and statements as well as the conclusions of the experts shall be submitted in due time to the parties.
(1) Where the seat, the domicile, residence or the address of the party may not be found after a thorough search, the notice may be considered received if it was sent to the last seat, domicile, residence or address with a registered letter or any other means which testifies for the attempt to be transmitted.
(2) The notice is considered submitted also in the cases where the party refuses or does not turn up at the post station to receive it, if the latter confirms such an act.
The Arbitration Court shall terminate the proceedings if the plaintiff fails to submit the petition within the terms agreed upon by the parties or determined by the latter.
The Arbitration Court examine the case and if the defendant fails to reply to the petition, the absence of a reply is not considered as recognition of the claim.
The Arbitration Court shall continue the proceedings and render a award on the basis of the evidence even if one of the parties or both of them fail to appear at the session.
(1) The Arbitration Court may appoint one or more experts so that they may formulate opinions needed for the clarification of certain issues where forespecial expertise is required. It may order the parties to submit to the experts the needed evidence or to guarantee them access for the examination of documents, goods or other paras, where that is needed for the elaboration of the expert opinion.
(2) The Arbitration Court may summon the expert upon request by any of the parties or upon its own initiative and obligate the expert after submission of his or her opinion to attend the proceedings so that the expert may provide the clarifications needed. Upon request of the parties the court may appoint other experts so that they may give their opinion on the subject matter of the dispute.
The Arbitration Court or the party concerned upon Court’s approval may request from the competent court of justice to collect certain evidence needed for case. The court shall grant the request in compliance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure.
ENACTING CLAUSES AND TERMINATION OF PROCEEDINGS
(1) The Arbitration Court shall settle the dispute in conformity with the choice of the applicable law by the party. Unless otherwise provided, the choice of applicable law is related to the substantive law and not to the collision norms and regulations.
(2) If the parties have not stated their choice of the applicable law, the Arbitration Court shall apply the law indicated by the collision regulations deemed as applicable.
(3) Under all circumstances the Arbitration Court shall apply the clauses of the contract and take into consideration the commercial customs.
(4) The arbitration award is definitive and it shall terminate the dispute.
(1) Where the arbitrators are more than one, the award is rendered by majority unless the parties have agreed otherwise.
(2) If no majority is constituted, the award is rendered by the presiding arbitrator.
If the parties reach an agreement then the case is dismissed. The parties may request the Arbitration Court to incorporate the agreement in an arbitration award under the agreed conditions. Such award shall have the force of an award on the merits of the case.
(1) (Amended, SG No. 93/1993) The award shall be motivated unless the parties have agreed otherwise or the agreement s reached under the agreed conditions. the award shall contain the date and the place of arbitration,
(2) The award is signed by the arbitrator or the arbitrators. In the case of an arbitration with the participation of more than one arbitrator, the signatures of the majority of the members of the Arbitration Court shall beconsidered sufficient if the signatories have stated the reason for the missing signature.
(3) The award signed by the arbitrators shall be sent to the parties. It shall be considered disclosed upon delivery to one of the parties. With its delivery it shall become effective and shall become obligatory to the parties and shall be subject to enforcement.
The Arbitration shall terminate the case with a ruling, where:
1. The plaintiff withdraws its petition if the defendant presents his or her objections and the court of arbitration finds that the defendant has a lawful interest in adjudication of an award.
2. The parties agree for the termination of the proceedings.
3. The court of arbitration finds that there is another obstacle to the consideration of the case on its merits.
(1) The Arbitration Court may, upon request by any of the party or by its own initiative, introduce corrections in the award concerning calculations, typing errors or any other evident factual error which it has made. The opposite party shall be notified of the requested rectification by the petitioner or by the Arbitration Court itself if it acts by its own initiative.
(2) Any party may request interpretation of the award following notification of the other party.
(3) The request for a rectification or an interpretation shall be made within 60 days after the parties receive the award, unless they have agreedotherwise. When the Arbitration Court acts upon its own initiative it may rectify the award within 60 days from the date of adjudication of the award.
(4) The Arbitration Court shall hear the parties on the questions of rectification and interpretation of the award or it shall enable them to submit their written statements within a time period determined thereby. The Court shall rule on the rectification or interpretation within 30 days from the submission of the request. The ruling on these issues shall be rendered pursuant to Article 39 and Article 41. The rectification and the interpretation shall become part of the award.
The Arbitration Court may, upon request from the parties render additional award for claims which have not been considered thereby. The party in the case where it has requested the additional award shall notify the other party for its claim within 30 days after receiving the award. Where the award is well grounded, the Arbitration Court shall render an additional award within 60 days subject to compliance with the provisions of Article 43 para 4.
The Arbitration Court may prolong the time period for rectification, interpretation or supplements to the award.
The powers of the Arbitration Court are terminated upon the end of the arbitration proceedings with the exception of the cases under in Articles 43 and 44.
REVOCATION, RECOGNITION, ADMISSION AND ENFORCEMENT
OF THE ARBITRATION AWARD
(Amended, SG No. 46/2002)
The arbitration award may be revoked by the Supreme Court of Cassation by bringing action in court, if the party filing the claim can prove any of the following grounds:
1. The party lacked capacity to act at the time of conclusion of the arbitration agreement.
2. The arbitration agreement had not been concluded or was deemed void pursuant the applicable law chosen by the parties and in the case of absence of such a choice – pursuant to this law;
3. The subject matter of the dispute was not subject to arbitration or the arbitration award contradicted the public order of the Republic of Bulgaria;
4. It had not been duly notified of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the arbitration proceedings or for reasons beyond its control it was not in a position to participate in the proceedings;
5. The award settled a dispute which had not been provided for in the arbitration agreement or contains qualifications on issues beyond the subject of the dispute;
6. The constitution of the Arbitration Court or of the arbitration procedure were not in conformity with the agreement of the parties unless it contradicted the imperative provisions of this law. In the absence of an agreement – in case the provisions of this law had not been applied.
(Amended, SG Nos. 93/1993, 59/1998)
(1) A petition for revocation may be submitted within three months from the day the plaintiff has received the award. Where a request for rectification, interpretation or supplementing the award has been made, the time period shall start from the day the Arbitration Court has made a ruling on the request.
(2) (Amended, SG No. 38/2001, 46/2002) Suspension of the enfrocement of an arbitration award as a measure of security regarding claims under Article 47 may be allowed by the Supreme Court of Cassation against pledge of a security in the amount of the interest for reversing the arbitration award.
(3) (New, SG No. 46/2002, amended, SG No. 59/2007) The amount of the stamp tax for review of claims under Article 47 of this act shall be determined in accordance with Artilce 71 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(New, SG No. 38/2001)
In case the Public Court of Law revokes the arbitration award on any of the grounds under Article 47, it. 1, 2 and 3 by a decision which has entered into force, the party concerned may submit a petition on the dispute before the competent public court of law and in the cases when the arbitration award has been revoked on any of the grounds under Article 47, it. 4, 5 and 6, the Public Court of Law shall return the case to the Arbitration Court for reconsideration. Any of the parties may submit a petition for the consideration of the case by other arbitrators.
(Repealed, SG No. 93/1993)
(Amended, SG No. 93/1993)
(1) The Sofia City Court shall issue, upon request by the party concerned awrit of execution on the basis of the arbitration decision that has entered into force. To the request are enclosed the arbitration decision and the evidence that it has been submitted to the debtor by the writ of execution.
(2) The international treaties and agreements to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party shall apply to exegnature procedures.
(3) (New, SG No. 38/2001, amended, SG No. 59/2007) The actions for recognition and admission to enforcement of foreign arbitration awards and of the settlements reached before foreign arbitration courts on arbitration cases shall be brought, unless otherwise provided for in an international treaty whereto the Republic of Bulgaria is a party, before the Sofia City Court, and Articles 118 to 122 of the Private International Law Code shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the consideration of any such actions, with the exception of the right of the debtor to raise a defence of extinguishment of the claim.
(New, SG No. 93/1993)
§ 1. In Article 1 par 1 and 2, Article 11 par 2 par 2, Article 47 para 2, Article 49, para 2 and Article 50, para 2 the words “People’s Republic of Bulgaria” shall be replaced by the words “Republic of Bulgaria”.
TRANSITIONAL AND CONCLUDING PROVISIONS
(Amended, SG No. 93/1993)
§ 2. (Previous § 1, The State Gazette, No. 93 of 1993.) In the Code of Civil Procedure published in the Newsletter of the Parliament, No. 12/1952, amended and supplemented in No. 92/1952, No. 89/1953, No. 90 of1955, No. 90/1956, No. 90/1958, No. 50 and 90/1961, amended No. 99of 1961; amended and supplemented, The State Gazette, No. 1/1963, No. 23/1968, No. 27/1973, No. 89/1976, No. 36/1979, No. 28/1983, No. 41 of 1985, No. 27/1986, No. 55/1992, No. 61/1993); In Articles 237,(a) and 242 para 2 the words “the Arbitration Court at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the agreements concluded in the cases where the arbitration is obligatory” are replaced by the “Arbitration Courts and the agreements on arbitration cases concluded by them”.
§ 3. (New, SG No. 93/1993)
(1) (Amended, SG No. 38/2001) This Act shall apply to the cases of arbitration between parties with residence or seat in the Republic of Bulgaria with the exception of Article 1, para 2; Article 10, Article 11, para 2 (except in the cases when a party to a dispute is an enterprise with a majority foreign participation) Article 26 and the words “in compliance with the applicable law chosen by the parties and in the absence of a choice”, Article 47 para 1 subpara 2.
(2) In disputes which do not originate from trade disputes, the appointing body is the Sofia City Court.
(3) In case of arbitration between parties with residence or seat in the Republic of Bulgaria, the provisions of Article 38, para 1 and 2 are applied only to litigious legal relations which have such an international private law element that in compliance with the Bulgarian international lawleads to the application of a foreign law.
§ 4. (New, SG No. 93/1993) This Act shall apply for the unresolved arbitration cases. It is applied in respect to anterior arbitration decisions, if they are not yet fulfilled, but the time period for the claim for revocation of this award, in compliance with Article 48 para 1 begins to proceeds from the day of entering into force of this Act.
§ 5. (New, SG No. 93/1993) Article 98 of Decree 56 on the Economic Activities (promulgated SG No. 4/1989, amended: Nos. 16/1989, 38, 39 and 62/1989; 21, 31 and 101/1990; 15 and 23/1991; 25/1991; 47, 48 and 62/1991; 60/1992, 84/1993) is revoked.
§ 6. (Previous § 2, SG No. 93/1993) The implementation of this Act is entrusted to the Minister of Justice.
Act on the Amendment and Supplement to the International
Commercial Arbitration Act
Promulgated State Gazette No. 38/2001
§ 8. Paragraph 2 of this Act shall apply also to pending cases in arbitration courts and to petitions to the Sofia City Court.
§ 9. Paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Act shall apply to established arbitration awards and pending cases for their revocation. The plaintiff may proceed from a petition for declaring an arbitration award null and void to a petition for its revocation in compliance with Art. 47, and the new para 3 of Art. 51 shall also apply to pending exegnatural procedures.
Act on the Amendment and Supplement to the International
Commercial Arbitration Act
Promulgated State Gazette No. 46/2000; Judgment No. 9/2002
of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of
Bulgaria – SG No. 102/2003
§ 3. (1) ((Declared unconstitutional by Constitutional Court regarding the words “cancel the measures of security imposed” – SG No. 102/2002) Articles47 and 48 of this Act shall also apply to pending cases for reversal of arbitration awards. In such cases, within two weeks of entry into force of this Act, the Sofia City Court shall dismiss all cases before it, cancel the measures of security imposed and refer the case for resolution by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
(2) In the event a court order has been issued in pending cases by a court of the first or second instance, the case shall proceed under the existing procedure.