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( Source of the document: ICC Digital Library )
A. The Contracting State and the New York Convention
1. Name of Contracting State (also specify jurisdiction, if relevant)
2. Date of entry into force of the New York Convention
The former Czechoslovakia signed the New York Convention on 3 Oct. 1958 and deposited an instrument of ratification on 10 July 1959. On 30 Sept. 1993, the Czech Republic deposited instruments of succession. The effective date of succession is 1 Jan. 1993.
(Source: Notice of Ministry of Foreign Affairs No. 74/1959 Coll. of 6 Nov. 1959, published on 15 Dec. 1959.)
3. Has any reservation been made under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention regarding:
At the time of accession, Czechoslovakia made a reciprocity reservation under the New York Convention. Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia on 1 Jan. 1993, the Czech Republic has considered itself bound by multilateral international treaties to which Czechoslovakia was a party, including all reservations and declarations to those treaties. Accordingly, the reciprocity reservation continues to be applicable at present.
(b) commercial relationships?
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. There is no category of awards rendered in the Czech Republic that are not considered as domestic awards such that the New York Convention would be applicable to them.
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, and other legal instruments)?
(i) Law No. 216/1994 Coll., 1 Nov. 1994, relating to arbitration proceedings and enforcement of arbitral awards, as amended; (ii) Law No. 99/1963 Coll., 4 Dec. 1963, rules of civil procedure, as amended; (iii) Notice of Ministry of Justice No. 37/1992 Coll., 23 Dec. 1991, relating to standard functions of district and regional courts, as amended; (iv) Law No. 40/1964 Coll., 26 Feb. 1964, Civil Code, as amended; (v) Law No. 120/2001 Coll., 28 Feb. 2001, on judicial officers and their activities in the process of enforcement, as amended; and (vi) Law No. 97/1963 Coll., 4 Dec. 1963, on international private and procedural law, as amended.
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 legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards. Under Czech law, limitation periods are considered to be a matter of substance rather than procedure. This means that it is necessary to apply the limitation period under the substantive law applicable to the claims as determined on the basis of conflict-of-laws rules.
(Source: Law No. 97/1963 Coll., Arts. 1 and 13/1.)
(b) If yes, what is the applicable limitation period (time limit) and when does it start running?
If conflict-of-laws rules lead to the application of Czech substantive law, the relevant limitation period is 10 years. This limitation period starts to run when the award becomes enforceable. The award becomes enforceable on the day following the expiry of the period determined by the arbitrators for performance pursuant to the award. The length of this period differs depending on the nature of the obligation imposed, but is usually 3 days. The expiry of this period is not examined by the court ex officio but only if objections are raised by the respondent.
(Source: Law No. 40/1964 Coll., Arts. 110/1 and 112.)
D. National courts and court proceedings
7. What authority or court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?
As a general rule, legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards may be brought before the common court which has jurisdiction over the respondent.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 7/1, 9/1, 36a/2, 252/1 and 254/1; Notice of Ministry of Justice No. 37/1992 Coll., Art. 45.)
The district court (okresní soud) is the common court having jurisdiction over the respondent.
The venue is determined by: (i) domicile or habitual residence (for a natural person); (ii) place of business (for a natural person when recognition and/or enforcement of the award is connected with his or her business activities); (iii) registered office (for a company); (iv) registered office of special State body as provided for by special statute; or (v) territory (for municipality).
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Art. 85.)
If a venue cannot be established at any of the above places or if it is located outside the Czech Republic, the venue will be determined on the basis of the location of the respondent's assets.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 252/2 and 4; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 45.)
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.)?
If the debtor is not domiciled in the Czech Republic, the applicant seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign award must establish that the debtor has assets in the Czech Republic in order for the courts to take jurisdiction.
(Sources: Law No. 216/1994 Coll., Art. 38; Law No. 97/1963 Coll., Arts. 53 and 54.)
9. Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement obtained through ex parte or inter partes proceedings?
The first decision is usually rendered through ex parte proceedings, although it can result from inter partes proceedings as well, depending on the means of enforcement sought. inter partes proceedings cannot be ordered if the hearing would frustrate the subject matter of enforcement.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Art. 253; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 52.)
(a) Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement subject to any form of appeal or recourse?
(b) How many levels of appeal or recourse are available against this decision?
There is one level of regular appeal against the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement and, if specific requirements are met, there may be one level of irregular appeal to the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic. An irregular appeal is, however, an extraordinary and exceptional procedure with limited application.
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 201, 202, 204, 228, 229, 230, 236, , 254/1, 254/4 and 254/5.)
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 recognizing and enforcing a foreign award may be executed against assets immediately after the court decision on the enforcement of the arbitral award has been delivered to the respondent or to a judicial enforcing officer and has acquired legal force.
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 171 and 265/1; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 47/2)
E. Evidence required
(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 applicant must supply the court with: (i) the arbitral award affixed with the enforceability clause (i.e. written confirmation that the award is binding, made in accordance with the law at the place of arbitration and enforceable); (ii) the arbitration agreement; and (iii) proof of notification of the award to the respondent.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Art. 261/2, 274(c); Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 40/1(c); court practice, e.g. R 25/2002 and SJ 9/99.)
(b) Is it necessary to provide the entire document or only certain parts (e.g. entire contract or only arbitration clause)?
All relevant documents must be provided in their entirety.
(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?
Originals are not necessary; duly certified copies are acceptable (certification legalized pursuant to The Hague Convention of 5 Oct. 1961 or carried out by Czech consular office or superlegalized by the relevant government office).
(d) How many originals or duly certified copies are required?
(i) One original or duly certified copy of the award affixed with the enforceability clause and (ii) one original or duly certified copy of the arbitration agreement.
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 42/4 and 261, Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 38/2.)
(e) Does the authority or court keep the originals that are filed?
As a matter of common practice, originals are returned to the applicant after the close of proceedings, but it is a wise precaution to request their return.
(a) Is it necessary to provide a translation of the documents supplied?
A translation is not actually required by law, but the court may request the applicant to provide a translation of documents filed. It is therefore strongly recommended that the applicant provide a translation of all documents filed with the application because this will significantly accelerate the overall procedure.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Art. 18; New York Convention, Art. IV(2).)
(b) If yes, into what language?
If the applicant decides to provide a translation or is requested to do so by the court, the translation should be in Czech. Slovak language documents are equally acceptable, even though Czech is the only official language (this is due to the fact that Czech and Slovak were both official languages under the longstanding traditions of the previous federal State, which was separated only in 1992).
(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. The translation must be certified by a Czech official or sworn translator or by a Czech diplomatic or consular agent.
(Sources: Law No. 36/1967 Coll. on expert witnesses and sworn/court interpreters; Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 18, 79; New York Convention, Art. IV(2).)
(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)?
Subject to a procedural decision made by the judge in each case, a full translation of all relevant documents will usually be required (not only a translation of the relevant provisions).
F. Stay of enforcement
(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, the court before which recognition and enforcement is sought has discretion to stay the proceedings. There is, however, no practice concerning how this discretion is to be exercised.
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 266 and 268; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 38/2.)
(b) On what other grounds, if any, can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement (e.g. forum non conveniens)?
Upon request, the court may stay proceedings for enforcement if the debtor was not responsible for creating a situation in which prompt enforcement would adversely affect the debtor or the debtor's family and the suspension of the proceedings would not cause serious harm to the claimant. The court may stay proceedings of its own accord if it expects them to be stopped.
If the award debtor is subject to insolvency proceedings this does not prevent enforcement proceedings from being commenced, but they cannot proceed as long as the insolvency proceedings are under way.
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 266 and 268; Law No. 182/2006 Coll., on insolvency, Art. 109/1(c).)
(c) Is the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of security?
Although not written in the law, a court may decide to impose such a condition. However it is not common practice and would be highly unusual.
(Source: Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Arts. 30, 55/5 and 90/3.)
(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?
No. The court file is not public. Only the parties and/or their authorized agents are permitted to view the court file. Any other person must prove a legitimate interest or that there are other legitimate grounds for accessing the court file. A legitimate interest exists when the decision affects the party making the request. In such case, the person is granted access to the court file and permission to make copies of the documents contained in the court file.
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Art. 44.)
(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?
All court hearings (if ordered) are ordinarily open to the public. If a court hearing is ordered, the parties may, however, request the judge to make a procedural decision to exclude the public from the hearing. The judge has full discretion in deciding on such a request. A decision excluding the public will, however, only be made in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances most often relate to the sensitivity of the case from the perspective of the public interest (e.g. State secrets). Commercial interests are rarely sufficient to justify excluding the public from a hearing. The judge will, however, decide this question on a case-by-case basis. As a practical matter, the public rarely attends court hearings. It is, in fact, difficult for the public to learn when and where particular cases will be heard because the court schedule is not published in advance and notices of hearings are only sent to the parties, their counsel and any witnesses (not applicable in enforcement matters). Thus, the public usually only knows about a specific hearing if this information is made available by one of the parties.
It should be noted that, even if the public is excluded from the hearings, the judgments in the matter may be available to the public. Moreover, unlike decisions on enforcement of domestic judgments and arbitral awards, all decisions on enforcement of foreign decisions (court judgments and arbitral awards) must include reasons.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 253/2, 254/1 combined with 116; Law No. 97/1963 Coll., Arts. 63-66; Law No. 216/1994 Coll., Arts. 38-40.)
(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 usually published. In fact, up to present, only one court decision on recognition and enforcement of a foreign award has been published in the Czech Republic. A special court committee (composed of qualified judges and akin to an editorial board for law reports) has discretion to decide which decisions are of general interest for legal practitioners and deserve publication. Since only a limited group of legal practitioners is concerned with international arbitration, decisions in this field are not usually published. It is not possible to take any steps to prevent the publication of court decisions, as this is a matter that falls within the full discretion of the court. However, most decisions are published only in summary form and the names of the parties are almost always redacted or replaced with initials.
H. Other issues
16. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards?
Generally, the recognition and enforcement of interim and partial foreign awards is possible if the award in question imposes a specific enforceable obligation in the form of a concrete duty.
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)?
A party can obtain recognition and enforcement of the following forms of non-monetary relief in foreign awards:
(i) an order for eviction from real property (i.e. building, flat or room);
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 340-344.)
(ii) an order for confiscation of an object;
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 345(347.)
(iii) an order for division an object under joint ownership;
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 348 and 349.)
(iv) an order for specific performance;
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 350 and 351a; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 72.)
(v) methods of enforcement (general rule).
(Source: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 258/2 and 339; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Art. 73.)
18. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign awards?
Whether a party can obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted depends solely on the will of the applicant and the nature of the obligation created under the foreign award.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 261/1 and 2, 263; Law No. 120/2001 Coll., Arts 37 and 38.)
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?
Enforcement proceedings may be discontinued if the debtor informs the court that the award has been set aside.
(Sources: Law No. 99/1963 Coll., Arts. 268/1(b).)
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.)?
As noted above in Q.8, if the debtor is not domiciled in the Czech Republic, the applicant seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign award must establish that the debtor has assets in the Czech Republic in order for the courts to take jurisdiction. This may prove difficult in practice since assets may not be publicly registered. The judicial enforcing officer may require security to cover the costs of enforcement.
Alexander J. Belohlávek