This Country Answer reflects the state of the law as of 31 December 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)

Finland.

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

19 April 1962.

(Source: Decree on the Implementation of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 8/1962.)

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

(a) reciprocity?

No.

(b) commercial relationships?

No.

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. Finland applies the territoriality principle, according to which an award is always domestic if the award was made in Finland and foreign if the award was made in a foreign State.

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 (967/1992, as amended); (ii) Code of Judicial Procedure (4/1734, as amended); (iii) Execution Code (705/2007); (iv) Law on the Publicity of Court Proceedings in Ordinary Courts (370/2007).

C. Limitation periods (time limits)

6.

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

There are no specific provisions in Finnish arbitration law on the limitation period applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards. There has been some discussion on whether the limitation period applicable to enforcement of court judgments under Finnish law also applies to foreign arbitral awards. However, the general view is that the limitation period is calculated pursuant to the law of the award.

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

If the limitation period applicable to enforcement of court judgments also applies to foreign arbitral awards, the relevant limitation period is 5 years from the date of the award.

(Source: Law on the Expiry of Debts 728/2003, Art. 13.)

D. National courts and court proceedings

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

Court of first instance, i.e. district court.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

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.)?

Jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards normally lies with the Finnish district court (i) at the place where a respondent who is a natural person is domiciled or habitually resident; (ii) at the place where a respondent that is a legal entity is registered, principally conducts its administration or has a branch, department, agency or other place of business; or (iii) which the parties have, by written agreement, designated as the court with jurisdiction over the enforcement of the arbitral award. Jurisdiction based on the criteria above may be refused only if the judgment to be given by the Finnish court in the case would clearly be of no legal relevance to the parties.

Jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards may also lie with the district court at the place where the respondent has assets, if no Finnish court would otherwise have jurisdiction in the case. On this basis, jurisdiction may be refused if (i) a judgment to be given by the Finnish court in the case would have no factual or legal relevance for the parties, or (ii) it is clearly more appropriate for the court of another State to consider the case in light of factors connecting the case to more than one State, of the evidence to be presented in the case, of the costs to the parties and other circumstances, and provided the procedure to be followed or the legislation to be applied in the foreign court would not be contrary to Finnish public policy.

The court will consider on its own motion whether it has jurisdiction over the case.

(Source: Code of Judicial Procedure, Ch. 10, esp. Arts. 1(3, 18, 19, 25, 26.)

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

The first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement is usually obtained through inter partes proceedings. As a general rule, the district court must give the respondent the right to submit statements or evidence relating to the enforceability of the arbitral award. The court will deal with the matter in chambers, unless (i) a witness or other person is to be heard in person or (ii) the matter is disputed and the respondent requests an oral hearing or the court considers a hearing necessary to clarify the matter. The court may declare the foreign award enforceable ex parte if there is a particular obstacle to hearing the respondent. An example is when the court is unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the respondent.

(Sources: Arbitration Law, Art. 55; Code of Judicial Procedure, Ch. 8, Art. 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?

There are two levels of appeal or recourse. A final decision of the district court may be appealed to the Court of Appeal. A final decision of the Court of Appeal may be appealed to the Supreme Court if leave to appeal is granted.

(Source: Code of Judicial Procedure, Ch. 25, Art. 1 and Ch. 30, Arts. 1 and 2.)

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)?

A foreign arbitral award may be executed against assets once the district court has declared the award enforceable.

(Source: Execution Code, Ch. 2, Art. 19.)

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 arbitration agreement or document containing the arbitration clause and (ii) the arbitral award.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

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

The Arbitration Law implies that it would be necessary to provide: (i) the arbitration agreement or the arbitration clause in a will, deed of donation, bill of lading or similar document, or in the articles of a company or corporate entity and (ii) the entire arbitral award. Court practice has considered it sufficient to provide only the operative section of the award, i.e. the actual decision without recitals and detailed reasoning.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

Originals or certified copies of the award and the arbitration agreement are required.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

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

Pursuant to the Arbitration Law, only one original or duly certified copy is required. However, it is standard practice to file an extra certified copy for serving notice upon the respondent.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

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

The court will keep the originals if they are the only documents filed. In practice, the applicant may avoid this by submitting certified copies instead of or in substitution for the originals.

13.

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

A translation of the documents is required, unless the court grants an exemption.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

(b) If yes, into what language?

Finnish or Swedish.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 54.)

(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. There are no specific provisions on the person required to certify the translations. Instead, it is left to the court to decide in casu whether the certification can be considered sufficiently reliable.

(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)?

This is left to the discretion of the court, which may decide that the applicant must provide a full translation of the documents or that translations of parts of the documents will suffice.

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. 55.)

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

Under Finnish arbitration law, there are no other grounds on which a court could stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards.

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

At the applicant's request, the court may order the respondent to provide suitable security and decide that the provision of such security is a prerequisite for granting a stay.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 55.)

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 general rule is that documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards become public once they are submitted. However, they must be kept secret to the extent that they include certain confidential information specified in the Law on the Publicity of Court Proceedings in Ordinary Courts. Such information includes, inter alia, State secrets. In addition, the court may order that the parts of the documents that contain information considered confidential under other statutes shall be kept secret, provided that (i) a party has so requested or there are otherwise specific grounds for keeping such information secret and (ii) the publicity the document would receive if released into the public domain is likely to cause substantial harm or damage to the interests that secrecy is intended to protect (including, e.g., business secrets).

(Source: Law on the Publicity of Court Proceedings in Ordinary Courts, Arts. 1, 9 and 10.)

(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?

The general rule is that oral hearings on recognition and enforcement of foreign awards are public. However, at a party's request or for other specific reasons, the court may close proceedings to the public when e.g. (i) a document is presented that is required by law to be kept secret (e.g. a document containing a State secret); (ii) a document is presented that a court has ordered to be kept secret (e.g. a document containing a business secret); or (iii) a person who has a legal right to refuse to answer a certain question is heard.

(Source: Law on the Publicity of Court Proceedings in Ordinary Courts, Arts. 14 and 15.)

(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, but they form part of the public record. However, the court may order the judgment to be kept secret to the extent that (i) it includes information that is required by law to be kept secret (e.g. State secret); (ii) it includes information that a court has ordered to be kept secret (e.g. business secret); or (iii) it includes information presented in non-public proceedings.

(Source: Law on the Publicity of Court Proceedings in Ordinary Courts, Arts. 22 and 24.)

H. Other issues

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

There are no specific statutory provisions on a party's right to obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards. However, in legal literature it has been considered possible to obtain recognition and enforcement of such an award if it contains a final decision on an independent issue.

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 Finland of 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?

There are no specific statutory provisions on obtaining recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign awards. As a general rule, the court may not consider or grant partial recognition and enforcement of an award on its own initiative. However, an applicant may specifically request recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in a foreign award. This may be possible when (i) the award is partially invalid or (ii) when the applicant requests enforcement of only part of the relief granted in a foreign award and does not ask for enforcement of the rest of the relief.

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 has been set aside by a competent foreign authority may be recognized and enforced in Finland, if and only if (i) the respondent does not invoke the fact that the award has been set aside as a ground for denying recognition and enforcement or (ii) the respondent invokes the fact that the award has been set aside as a ground for denying recognition and enforcement but does not provide evidence thereof.

(Source: Arbitration Law, Art. 53.)

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.)?

No.

Country Rapporteur:

Marko Hentunen