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)

Serbia.

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

27 April 1992 (date of promulgation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a new State established after dissolution of the former Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ('SFRY') ).

Explanatory note: On 12 Mar. 2001, the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia sent a Notification of Succession to the United Nations' Secretary General confirming the declaration dated 28 June 1982 made by the former SFRY.

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

(a) reciprocity?

Although the SFRY made a reciprocity reservation under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention, reciprocity is no longer required for recognition or enforcement of foreign awards in Serbia.

(Sources: 2006 Arbitration Act, Official Journal of the Republic of Serbia, No. 46/2006 ('2006 Arbitration Act'), Art. 66; Law ratifying the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, SFRY Official Journal, International Treaties, No. 11/81, 9 Oct. 1981 ('NYC Ratification Law'), Art. 1(1)(2).)

(b) commercial relationships?

Although the SFRY made a 'commercial relationships' reservation under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention, the commercial character of the relationship is no longer a requirement either.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 66; NYC Ratification Law, Art. 1(1)(3).)

Explanatory note: The SFRY also made a declaration that it would apply the New York Convention only to those arbitral awards that were rendered after the entry into force of the Convention. This reservation affirms the principle of non-retroactivity but has no practical significance because the enforcement of any award rendered before 7 June 1959 (date of entry into force of the Convention) would in any case be barred by the statute of limitations.

(Source: NYC Ratification Law', Art. 1(1)(1).)

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?

Awards rendered in Serbia are not considered as domestic awards if a foreign law was applied to the arbitral procedure. Thus, under Serbian law, there are two categories of 'foreign arbitral awards' subject to the New York Convention: (i) an award rendered outside Serbia, (ii) an award rendered in Serbia in proceedings to which a foreign procedural law was applied.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 64(3).)

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) Chapter IX, Arts. 64 to 68 of the 2006 Arbitration Law; (ii) Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security, Official Journal of the Republic of Serbia, Nos. 31/2011, 99/2011.

Explanatory note: Although courts have an important role in interpreting statutory law and international conventions, judge-made law is not an official source of law in Serbia.

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 is no specific limitation period applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards under Serbian law, and there have been no court decisions directly addressing the issue. However, it may be argued that the limitation period applicable to the enforcement of claims pursuant to judgments also applies to foreign awards.

(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 claims pursuant to judgments also applies to foreign awards, the relevant limitation period would be 10 years from the date when the award becomes final and binding on the parties. The statutory limitation period is a part of Serbian substantive law (Code of Obligations). The applicant may therefore commence legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of a foreign award but the court could deny enforcement of the award if the limitation period has expired.

(Source: Code of Obligations, Art. 379(1).)

D. National courts and court proceedings

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

Jurisdiction lies with the commercial court in whose territory the foreign award is to be enforced, i.e. where the respondent's assets are located.

(Sources: Court Organization Law, Official Journal of the Republic of Serbia, Nos. 116/2008, 104/2009, 101/2010, Art. 25(2); 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 65(1); Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security, Arts. 3, 81, 146, 208, 217, 240, 244.)

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.)?

There are no special requirements for jurisdiction over an application for recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act.)

General jurisdiction for enforcement lies with the court where the debtor is domiciled. There are also various specific rules for jurisdiction based on the location of assets.

(Source: Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security, Arts. 3, 81, 146, 208, 217, 240, 244.)

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 obtained through inter partes proceedings if the recognition of the foreign award is the main issue in the proceedings.

(Sources: general principles of due process; Civil Procedure Law, Art. 5, applicable pursuant to the Law on Non-Contentious Proceedings, Art. 30(1).)

If the recognition of a foreign arbitral award is a preliminary issue in enforcement proceedings, a decision is generally obtained through ex parte proceedings.

(Sources: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 65(2); Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security, Arts. 21(3), (5) and 37(4).)

If there is an appeal from the first decision granting or denying enforcement of a foreign award, the proceedings are continued inter partes.

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?

One. A decision of a commercial court granting or denying recognition and enforcement is subject to appeal to the Commercial Appellate Court within 30 days from the day of notification of the decision.

(Sources: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 68(2); Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security, Art. 39(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)?

After a foreign award is recognized (either in separate proceedings or as a preliminary matter in enforcement proceedings), the court must decide on enforcement. Execution against assets may be obtained as soon as the decision granting enforcement is rendered. An appeal against the decision granting enforcement does not prevent execution.

(Source: Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security, Arts. 40(1) and 68.)

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: the original arbitral award or a certified copy thereof; the original arbitration agreement or a document evidencing acceptance of the arbitration or a certified copy thereof.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 65(4).)

(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 provide the arbitral award in its entirety and the arbitration agreement in its entirety. The 2006 Arbitration Law does not specify whether the entire contract containing the arbitration clause must be provided, but the practice is to submit the entire contract to the court. If the contract is exceptionally long or contains confidential information, certain parts may be omitted.

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

Both are admissible.

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

One for the court and one or more for the parties depending on the number of other parties.

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

Yes.

13.

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

Yes.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 65(4)(3).)

(b) If yes, into what language?

The translation must be into the official language of the court in question. The official language is Serbian but in some jurisdictions Hungarian and Romanian are also official languages in addition to Serbian.

(Sources: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 65(4)(3); Law on Protection of Rights and Freedoms of Ethnic Minorities, Official Journal of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, No. 11/2002, Art. 11.)

(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. Serbian law does not expressly specify who may certify the translation of a foreign award. However, pursuant to the New York Convention, the translation must be certified by an official or sworn translator or by a diplomatic or consular agent.

(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)?

Yes. The applicant must provide a full translation of the documents.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 65(4)(3).)

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: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 67(1).)

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

There are no other grounds to stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards under Serbian arbitration law. However, pursuant to Serbian insolvency legislation, all enforcement proceedings against an insolvent debtor must be stayed.

(Source: Insolvency Law, Official Journal of the Republic of Serbia, No.104/2009, Art. 88.)

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

The court may, at the request of a party, make the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of appropriate security by the opposing party.

(Source: 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 67(2).)

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?

Yes. The documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award form part of the public record. Serbian courts do not have a duty to preserve the confidentiality of these documents once they have been filed.

(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 are generally public. However, hearings may be held in camera to preserve State, commercial or personal secrets, as well as in the public or a moral interest.

(Source: Civil Procedure Law, Art. 308(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)?

Like other judgments, judgments on recognition and enforcement of foreign awards are read publicly in the courtroom. If the hearing is held in camera, only the operative part of the judgment will be read publicly.

Extracts from judgments or the full texts of judgments may be published in periodicals of a professional or academic nature if selected by the editors. They are published without disclosing the names of the parties or any other information that may be damaging to the interests of the parties.

H. Other issues

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

Partial and interim awards may be recognized end enforced if they are final.

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 non-monetary relief in foreign awards under general rules in Serbian law regarding enforcement of non-monetary relief.

(Source: Law on Enforcement Procedure and Security.)

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

Partial recognition and enforcement of a foreign award is possible when the court finds that the award contains decisions on matters beyond the scope of the arbitration agreement, if the part of the award exceeding the scope of arbitration agreement can be separated from the rest of the award. An applicant can request enforcement of only part of the relief granted regardless of the issue of invalidity of part of the award.

(Sources: New York Convention, Art. V(1)(c); 2006 Arbitration Act, Art. 66(1)(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 2006 Arbitration Act does not specify whether a foreign award which has been set aside by a competent authority may nonetheless be recognized and enforced, and there is no case law directly addressing this issue.

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:

Mirjana Cukavac