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)

Lithuania.

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

12 June 1995.

(Source: Lithuanian Parliament Resolution No. I-760 on Ratification of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 17 Jan. 1995, Official Gazette 1995, No. 10.)

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

(a) reciprocity?

Lithuania has made the following reservation in respect of the New York Convention: the Republic of Lithuania shall apply the rules of the New York Convention in respect of arbitral awards made in the territories of the countries which are not parties to the New York Convention only on the ground of reciprocity.

(Source: Lithuanian Parliament Resolution No. I-760 on Ratification of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 17 Jan. 1995, Official Gazette 1995, No. 10.)

(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?

The Law on Commercial Arbitration of the Republic of Lithuania (Law on Commercial Arbitration) sets out the criteria for an arbitration to be considered international (i.e. not domestic). The New York Convention is applicable to awards made in such proceedings. The only criterion for considering proceedings as international is the fact that the place of arbitration is outside the Republic of Lithuania.

(Source: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996, No. 39-961, 45, Art. 3 Pt 15.)

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) Lithuanian Parliament Resolution No. I-760 on Ratification of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 17 Jan. 1995, Official Gazette 1995, No. 10; (ii) Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996, No. 39-961, and subsequent amendments; (iii) Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (Code of Civil Procedure) No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1340, 42, and subsequent amendments; (iv) Law on Courts of the Republic of Lithuania No. I-480, 31 May 1994, Official Gazette 2002, No. 17-649, and subsequent amendments; (v) practice of the Supreme Court of Lithuania.

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?

Lithuanian laws do not directly provide a limitation period for commencing proceedings for recognition and/or enforcement of foreign awards. However, once the court has issued a judgment recognizing and allowing a party to enforce an award, the party may apply for an enforcement order (execution writ). The limitation period for executing the enforcement order is laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 606 Pt 2.)

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

The enforcement order (execution writ) issued by the court after its judgment recognizing and allowing enforcement of an award must be submitted for enforcement (execution) within 5 years from when the arbitral award takes effect.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 606 Pt 2.)

D. National courts and court proceedings

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

Court of Appeal of the Republic of Lithuania.

(Sources: Law on Courts of the Republic of Lithuania No. I-480, 31 May 1994, Official Gazette 2002, No. 17-649, Art. 21 Pt 2; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002 No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 809 Pt 1; Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996, No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 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.)?

Lithuanian laws do not provide any special requirements for the court to accept jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards (i.e. domicile or assets of the respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.). Therefore, according to the Code of Civil Procedure, any person having a legal interest in the proceedings may apply to the Court of Appeal of Lithuania for recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 811.)

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

The first judgment granting or denying recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award is obtained through ex parte proceedings. In exceptional circumstances the court can decide to examine the case through inter partes proceedings.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 812 Pt 1.)

10.

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

Yes.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 3; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 812 Pt 1.)

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

One. A party can appeal a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (granting or denying recognition and/or allowing an award to be enforced) to the Supreme Court of Lithuania within 30 days of the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.

(Source: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 3; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 812 Pt 1 and Art. 345 Pt 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 judgment of the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Lithuania on the recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award takes effect on the date it is issued; the filing of an appeal to the Supreme Court does not suspend its enforceability. Therefore, under the Code of Civil Procedure, execution against assets may be obtained immediately after the Court of Appeal has issued its judgment granting recognition and enforcement of the foreign arbitral award. However, a party appealing against the judgment of the Court of Appeal may ask the Supreme Court to suspend enforcement of the judgment, and the Supreme Court is empowered to do so if it finds this necessary.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 279 Pt 1, Arts. 363, 588, 809 and 812.)

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; (ii) the arbitration agreement; (iii) evidence that the arbitral award has become effective (most commonly, a separate document is issued by the chair of the arbitral tribunal); (iv) where the respondent failed to attend the hearing, evidence that the party was duly notified of the venue and time of the hearing.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 2; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 811 Pt 2.)

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

Lithuanian laws on recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards do not specify whether the entire documents must be provided or only certain parts of the documents. However, the Code of Civil Procedure allows only relevant parts of the documents to be submitted if only a part of the document is related to the content of the written submission. In practice, the court may require an applicant to produce the documents in full if, for example, there is a dispute between the parties about the content of the parts of the document that have not been provided or if the court needs to determine whether the award deals with matters not covered by the arbitration clause.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 114 Pt 3.)

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

The duly authenticated original documents or duly certified copies are admissible. The certified copies of the documents (including the award) issued in foreign countries should be legalized or apostillized depending on the country where the document is issued, unless separate agreements/treaties establish other requirements. However, legalisation or apostillization of the arbitration agreement is not required.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Arts. 113 and 114.)

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

This depends on the number of parties to the proceedings. The applicant must submit one copy of the written submission and its annexes to the court and one copy for each participant in the proceeding.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 113 Pt 1.)

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

The court keeps the originals if they are submitted. However, the originals of the documents can be returned to the parties at their request. In this case, the originals must be replaced with duly certified copies.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 198 Pt 3.)

13.

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

Yes.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 2; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 811 Pt 2.)

(b) If yes, into what language?

Lithuanian.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 2; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 811 Pt 2.)

(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 should be duly certified. There are no specific requirements where the translation is done in Lithuania by a certified translator. Where the translation is done outside Lithuanian, the translation will need to be legalized or apostillized (depending on the applicable international treaty).

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 198 Pt 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)?

It is necessary to provide full translations of the documents submitted to the court.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 198 Pt 2.)

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.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51.)

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

The court examining the application to recognize and/or enforce foreign arbitral awards may also stay proceedings for recognition and enforcement of the award where the time limit for applying to the competent authority to set aside the award has not yet expired.

The courts may also stay legal proceedings pursuant to general rules of the Code of Civil Procedure. However such situations in practice are most unlikely. The Code of Civil Procedure distinguishes between obligatory suspension and the court's discretion to suspend court proceedings.

A court must suspend proceedings on the following grounds: (i) where a party dies (natural person) or is dissolved (legal entity), but only where the legal rules governing the dispute allow for the transfer of rights to a successor who could then join the proceedings; (ii) when a party loses its legal capacity (in which case a legal representative will need to be found to represent that party's interests); (iii) when examination of a particular case is impossible until another civil, criminal or administrative case is examined (in practice, proceedings for recognition and/or enforcement of the foreign arbitral award may be suspended when another related case concerning jurisdiction or interim measures is being heard); (iv) when a case is heard in which property claims are raised against the respondent and the same property is at issue in a criminal case; (v) when a case is heard in which property claims are raised against the respondent, and bankruptcy or restructuring proceedings have been instituted against the respondent; (vi) when a case is heard in which property claims are raised against a commercial bank, and the bank has a temporary administrator appointed by the Lithuanian Bank; (vii) when a court applies to the Constitutional Court if it has reason to consider that the law or any other legal instrument or part thereof to be applied pursuant to the award is in conflict with the Lithuanian Constitution or laws; (viii) when a court applies to the Administrative Court for a decision on whether a legal instrument or part thereof is in conflict with the law or a legal instrument made by the government; (ix) when a court applies to a competent European judicial institution for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation or validity of European law; (x) in other instances set forth in law.

At the request of parties to proceedings or ex officio, a court may suspend a case on the following grounds: (i) searches are being carried out to locate the respondent (e.g. through public advertisement of the recognition/enforcement hearing; (ii) a court appoints an expert to make a determination on a specific issue or set of issues (e.g. appointment of an expert to determine whether the respondent was truly aware of a hearing in the arbitration proceedings); (iii) a party is serving in a national defence subdivision of the Republic of Lithuania and such subdivision is declared to be at war; (iv) in other instances when a court decides that it is necessary to suspend a case.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51; Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Arts. 163, 164, 812 Pt 4.)

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

Normally, the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement is not conditional on the provision of security; however, the court may, at the request of the party seeking recognition and/or enforcement of the arbitral award, require the other party to pay a deposit necessary to secure the enforcement of the award.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51 Pt 1; Lithuanian Parliament Resolution No. I-760 on Ratification of the 1958 New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 17 Jan. 1995, Official Gazette 1995, No. 10, Art VI.)

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?

According to the Code of Civil Procedure, documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record. A party seeking to preserve the confidentiality of the documents must file a request for protection with the court examining the case and the court has the right to satisfy the
request.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 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?

Cases concerning recognition and/or enforcement of foreign arbitral awards are heard by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania and the Supreme Court (appeal instance) in written form, so no public hearings are held. In exceptional circumstances the courts can decide to examine the case in a public hearing. In such cases hearings may be conducted confidentially at the request of a party or upon the court's own decision if certain grounds are established (e.g. protection of a natural person's privacy or State, professional or commercial secrets).

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Arts. 9, 356 and 812.)

(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)?

Yes, judgments on recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards are published. A party wishing to preserve the confidentiality of the proceedings can apply to the court to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings and the court has the right to satisfy the request. The court's ruling (i.e. final part of the judgment) is always published; however, confidential information may be excluded from it.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 10.)

H. Other issues

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

There are no express provisions in Lithuanian law on the recognition and/or enforcement of interim or partial foreign arbitral awards. In practice, interim and partial arbitral awards are generally recognized and enforced as long as they contain a final and enforceable decision on a particular issue.

(Sources: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Arts. 811, 812; Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 26.)

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 may obtain recognition and/or enforcement of non-monetary relief in a foreign arbitral award and the law does not impose any additional restrictions upon the recognition and/or enforcement thereof.

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

The Code of Civil Procedure authorizes a court to decide on the recognition and/or enforcement of only part of a foreign arbitral award. It is considered that if only part of the award satisfies the requirements for recognition and/or enforcement and that part can be separated from the whole award, the court may recognize only that part of the arbitral award. A party can also apply for recognition and/or enforcement of part of a foreign arbitral award.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 812 Pts 2 and 3.)

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?

The court has the right to refuse recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award that has been set aside by the competent authority of the foreign country. However, there is no established court practice as to when and in what circumstances the courts will exercise this discretion.

(Sources: Law on Commercial Arbitration No. I-1274, 2 Apr. 1996, Official Gazette 1996 No. 39-961, 45, Art. 51; judgment of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Lithuania, 7 Mar. 2006 in civil case no. 3K-7-179 Duke Investment Limited v. Kaliningrado sritis, Kaliningrado srities vystymo fondas. )

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.)?

Applications for recognition of foreign arbitral awards are not subject to stamp duty.

(Source: Code of Civil Procedure No. IX-743, 28 Feb. 2002, Official Gazette 2002, No. 36-1349, 42, Art. 811 Pt 3.)

Country Rapporteur:

Vilija Vaitkute Pavan

Other contributor:

Renata Berzanskiene