This Country Answer reflects the state of the law as of 1 January 2012. Please refer to the explanations in the chapter entitled Preliminary Note.

A. The Contracting State and the New York Convention

1. Name of Contracting State (also specify jurisdiction(s), if relevant)

Croatia.

2. Date of entry into force of the New York Convention

8 October 1991. Explanatory note: The Republic of Croatia made notification of its succession to the New York Convention on 26 July 1993 but declared itself bound by the Convention as of 8 Oct. 1991.

(Source: Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia/Off. Gaz./International Treaties, 1994, No. 4.)

3. Has any reservation been made under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention regarding:

(a) reciprocity?

Croatia has made a 'reciprocity' reservation under the New York Convention.

(Sources: Official Gazette of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/Off. Gaz./International Treaties, 1981, No. 11; Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia/Off. Gaz./International Treaties, 1994, No. 4.)

(b) commercial relationships?

Croatia has made a 'commercial relationships' reservation under the New York Convention. Croatia made an additional reservation restricting application of the New York Convention to awards which were made after the New York Convention came into effect.

(Sources: Official Gazette of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/Off. Gaz./International Treaties, 1981, No. 11; Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia/Off. Gaz./International Treaties, 1994, No. 4.)

4. In addition to arbitral awards made in the territory of another State, the New York Convention (Art. I(1)) also applies to arbitral awards not considered as domestic awards in the State where recognition and enforcement are sought. Are there any awards rendered in your country that are not considered as domestic awards such that the New York Convention and the answers to this Questionnaire are applicable to them?

No.

B. National sources of law

5. What specific sources of law are applicable to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. statutes, regulations, codes, directives, other legal instruments)?

(i) Arbitration Law, Arts. 38, 40, 43 paras 1 and 2, and 47-49 (Off. Gaz. No. 88/2001). The Arbitration Law came into force on 19 Oct. 2001; (ii) Execution Law, Arts. 20-23, 33, 33a, 33b, 35, 39 and 46 (Off. Gaz. No. 57/1996; amendments 29/1999 and 173/2003); (iii) Law on Courts, Art. 20, § 6 (Off. Gaz. No. 150/2005);

(iv) Civil Litigation Law, Art. 34(a) and 34(b).

C. Limitation periods (time limits)

(a) Is there a limitation period (time limit) applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?

There is no specific limitation period applicable to the recognition of foreign awards under Croatian law. With regard to the enforcement of foreign awards, it may be argued that the limitation period applicable to final court judgments under the Croatian Law on Obligations also applies to the enforcement of foreign awards. Under the Execution Law, the execution debtor may file an appeal against a writ of execution if the claim under the enforcement document is statute-barred.

(Sources: Law on Obligations, Art. 233 para. 1; Execution Law, Art. 46 para. 11.)

(b) If yes, what is the applicable limitation period (time limit) and when does it start running?

If the limitation period applicable to legal proceedings for the enforcement of final court judgments also applies to foreign awards, the Croatian court would determine the duration of the limitation period in accordance with the lex causae (the law applicable to the merits of the dispute). If the lex causae is Croatian law, the relevant limitation period would be 10 years. The limitation period starts to run as from expiry of the time for voluntary compliance with the award, as determined by the foreign award. It should be noted that there is no specific Croatian statutory provision relating to foreign awards or case law on this issue.

D. National courts and court proceedings

7. What authority or court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?

The Commercial Court in Zagreb has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards if the award relates to a case which otherwise would fall within the subject matter jurisdiction of the commercial courts. Commercial courts have jurisdiction over contractual disputes, disputes regarding companies, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition disputes, navigational disputes, etc.

(Sources: Arbitration Law, Art. 43 paras 1 and 2; Civil Litigation Law, Art. 34(b).)

In all other matters, the County Court in Zagreb has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 43, paras 1 and 2; Civil Litigation Law, Art. 34(a).)

After the decision granting recognition and enforcement has been rendered, the competent court as specified under the Execution Law has jurisdiction over the measures to enforce the award.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 43 para. 2.)

In enforcement proceedings for execution against real estate, the court of enforcement is the court where the real estate is located.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 74.)

In enforcement proceedings for execution against movables, the court of enforcement is the court where the movables are located.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 126 para. 1.)

In enforcement proceedings for execution against shares, the court of enforcement is the court where the company has its seat.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 194.)

In enforcement proceedings for execution against pecuniary or substantive rights, the court of enforcement is the court where the execution debtor is domiciled or seated.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 199 paras 1 and 2.)

In enforcement proceedings for execution against monetary claims, the court of enforcement is the court where the execution debtor is domiciled or seated.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 147 paras 1 and 3.)

In enforcement proceedings for execution against funds in bank, the court of enforcement is the court where the execution debtor is seated.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 205 para. 1.)

If the respondent, i.e. the execution debtor, is the Republic of Croatia, the court of enforcement is the Commercial Court in Zagreb.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 33(b) together with Art. 205 para. 2.)

8. What requirements, if any, must be met for the authority or court to accept jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. domicile or assets of respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.)?

The applicant must show a legitimate interest.

9. Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement obtained through ex parte or inter partes proceedings?

When the applicant applies only for recognition of a foreign award, i.e. when recognition of a foreign award is a separate claim, the court is required to grant the respondent an opportunity to be heard in the recognition proceedings. Therefore, the decision on granting or denying recognition is rendered in inter partes proceedings.

When the applicant applies directly for enforcement of a foreign award (in which case recognition is decided upon as a preliminary issue in relation to main issue of enforcement), the court is required to grant the respondent an opportunity to be heard regarding the claim for enforcement unless it would jeopardize the successful implementation of enforcement. Although the court may render a decision in ex parte proceedings, legal commentators consider that the court should, whenever possible, render a decision in inter partes proceedings.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 49 paras 2 and 3.)

10.

(a) Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement subject to any form of appeal or recourse?

Yes.

(b) How many levels of appeal or recourse are available against this decision?

In proceedings for recognition of a foreign award, there is one level of appeal. A decision granting or denying recognition may be appealed to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia. The appeal must be filed within 15 days from the communication of the decision on recognition.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 49 para. 5.)

In proceedings for enforcement of a foreign award, there is also one level of appeal. A decision granting or denying enforcement may be appealed to the court of enforcement.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 11 para. 1.)

11. What is the earliest stage in legal proceedings for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards at which a party can obtain execution against assets (i.e. party actually obtains possession of assets as opposed to simply freezing assets)?

The decision granting enforcement of a foreign award may be executed against assets immediately after the court order recognizing the award has been rendered. The filing of an appeal against such decision does not stay the proceedings for execution against assets.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 11 para. 4.)

E. Evidence required

12.

(a) What evidence must be supplied for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. arbitral award, contract containing arbitration clause, affidavits, witness statements, etc.)?

The following evidence must be supplied: (i) the arbitral award and (ii) the arbitration agreement.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 47 para. 2.)

(b) Is it necessary to provide the entire document or only certain parts (e.g. entire contract or only arbitration clause)?

It is necessary to supply (i) the arbitral award in its entirety and (ii) the whole document containing the arbitration agreement, i.e. the entire contract.

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

The following are required: (i) an original or duly certified copy of the award and (ii) an original or duly certified copy of the document containing the arbitration agreement. In order to meet the requirement of 'duly certified copies' for signatures of foreign arbitrators or parties, the courts usually require that copies of the documents which have been duly certified in a foreign country be accompanied by an apostille pursuant to the Hague Convention of 5 Oct. 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.

(d) How many originals or duly certified copies are required?

The following are required: (i) one original or duly certified copy of the award both for the court and the other party and (ii) one original or duly certified copy of the document containing the arbitration agreement both for the court and the other party.

(e) Does the authority or court keep the originals that are filed?

Unless a written and reasoned request for return of the originals is submitted, the court will keep the originals.

13.

(a) Is it necessary to provide a translation of the documents supplied?

Yes.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 47 para. 3.)

(b) If yes, into what language?

Croatian.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 47 para. 3.)

(c) Is it necessary for the translations to be certified and, if yes, by whom (official or sworn translator, diplomatic or consular agent (of which country?) or some other person)?

Yes. A translation made by a foreign or Croatian sworn translator will suffice.

(d) Is it necessary to provide a full translation of the documents or only a translation of certain parts (e.g. entire award or only part setting forth the decisions; entire contract or only arbitration clause)?

It is necessary to provide a full translation of the award and of the document containing the arbitration agreement.

F. Stay of enforcement

14.

(a) Can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement pending the outcome of an application to set aside or suspend the foreign award before the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?

Yes.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 48.)

(b) On what other grounds, if any, can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement (e.g. forum non conveniens)?

Pursuant to the Croatian Insolvency Law, legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement against an insolvent debtor located in Croatia and represented by a trustee (insolvency administrator) cannot be pursued and a party seeking enforcement must claim the amount awarded in the insolvency estate.

(Source: Insolvency Law, Arts. 89 and 95.)

(c) Is the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of security?

No. However, upon application, the court may exercise its discretion to order the provision of security.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 48.)

G. Confidentiality

15.

(a) Do the documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record? If yes, can any steps be taken to preserve the confidentiality of such documents?

The documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record. The parties may request that confidentiality be preserved in accordance with the rules on excluding the public from court proceedings.

(Source: Civil Litigation Law, Art. 307 para. 1.)

(b) If there are hearings on recognition and enforcement, are such hearings confidential? If not, can steps be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the legal proceedings?

Hearings on recognition and enforcement are not confidential. The parties may request that confidentiality be preserved in accordance with the rules on excluding the public from court proceedings.

(Source: Civil Litigation Law, Art. 307 para. 1.)

(c) Are judgments on recognition and enforcement published? If yes, can steps be taken to remove the names of the parties or avoid publication of confidential information (such as business or State secrets)?

Judgments on recognition and enforcement are not published.

H. Other issues

16. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards?

It is possible to obtain recognition and enforcement in Croatia of interim or partial foreign awards, provided these awards relate to the merits of the dispute.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 30 para. 1 together with Art. 40 para 1.)

17. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of non-monetary relief in foreign arbitral awards (e.g. order requiring a party to deliver up share certificates or other property)?

As a general rule, it is possible to obtain recognition and enforcement in Croatia of foreign awards granting non-monetary relief.

18. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign awards?

It is possible to obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in a foreign award.

19. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which have been set aside by the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?

A foreign award that is set aside in the country in which the award was made may still be recognized and enforced in Croatia. The Republic of Croatia is a Contracting State to the 1961 European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration. Art. VII(1) of the New York Convention specifically provides that it does not prevent a party seeking enforcement of an arbitral award from basing its request for enforcement on a more liberal rule of the law or treaties of the State where enforcement is sought. Accordingly, a Croatian court may recognize and enforce a foreign award which has been set aside in the country of origin if it is found that Art. IX of the 1961 European Convention is applicable.

20. Are there any other procedural or practical requirements relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which are worth mentioning (e.g. unusually high court costs, filing fees, stamp duties, obligation to post security as a condition for seeking recognition and enforcement, obligation to identify the assets that will be the object of enforcement, etc.)?

If enforcement of a foreign award is requested, an application for execution must specify the means by which the execution is to be carried out and, if necessary, the subject matter in respect of which it is to be enforced.

(Source: Execution Law, Art. 35 para. 1.)

Country Rapporteur:

Hrvoje Sikirić