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)

Uruguay (República Oriental del Uruguay).

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

28 June 1983.

Uruguay adopted the New York Convention by Decree-Law No. 15.229 on 11 Dec. 1981.

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 is 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?

On those occasions when this issue has been dealt with (in actions claiming the annulment of an award), Uruguay courts ruled that an award rendered in Uruguay in international arbitration proceedings under the ICC Rules involving foreign companies and international trade matters was not a domestic award but should rather be considered as a foreign award.

(Sources: 2d Court of Appeals for Civil Matters, Judgment No. 161/03, 18 June 2003; 7th Court of Appeals, Judgment No. 106/2007, 16 May 2007; 1st Court of Appeals, Judgment 74/2001, 2 Feb. 2011.)

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)?

The relevant domestic rules governing the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards are contained in Act No. 15.982, 18 Oct. 1988, General Procedural Code (Código General del Proceso, 'CGP').

(Source: CGP, Arts. 537, 538, 539, 540, 541, 543.)

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?

No. However, in enforcement proceedings, the defendant may file a defence based on a statute of limitations or expiry of the obligation whose enforcement is sought.

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

N/A.

D. National courts and court proceedings

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

Uruguayan law makes a distinction between the recognition and the enforcement of a foreign award.

If the mere recognition of the award is sought, i.e. a party wants a court to admit the imperative or evidentiary effects of the award, jurisdiction lies with the ordinary court at the place where the party wants those effects to be recognized.

(Source: CGP, Art. 540.)

If a party wants to enforce an award ruling against a party, then a preliminary exequatur procedure must be filed with the Supreme Court of Justice. Once this procedure is completed, the award must be forwarded to the ordinary court of first instance having jurisdiction pursuant to internal rules of jurisdiction for it to process the enforcement. For example, the court of first instance (i) of the domicile of the respondent in Uruguay, or (ii) of the place where the respondent's assets are located in Uruguay, would have jurisdiction to process the enforcement.

(Source: CGP, Art. 541)

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 the respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.)?

There are no express rules to establish the court's jurisdiction.

In the only three recent cases involving the enforcement of foreign awards (Supreme Court of Justice judgments 41 of 18 Feb. 2004, 85 of 9 May 2008 and 791 of 7 Sept. 2012), the defendants were companies with registered offices or domicile in Uruguay. This circumstance or the existence of assets in Uruguay, as well as the existence of any other relevant connection with the country, are adequate grounds on which to establish the jurisdiction of Uruguayan courts over the enforcement of a foreign award.

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

The exequatur proceedings heard by the Supreme Court of Justice are inter partes proceedings. After the claim is filed by the applicant, the respondent is given 20 days in which to file an answer; then the opinion of the General Attorney's Office is obtained; and finally a non-appealable judgment is rendered.

(Source: CGP, Art. 541.)

10.

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

No.

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

None.

11. What is the earliest stage in legal proceedings for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards at which a party can obtain execution against assets?

Execution against the respondent's assets can be obtained after the exequatur decision of the Supreme Court of Justice at the earliest. Prior to such decision, during the exequatur proceedings the applicant may request conservatory measures, which the Supreme Court of Justice has indeed granted in some cases involving the enforcement of a foreign judgment.

Once the exequatur decision is rendered, during the subsequent enforcement process in the court of first instance, the court's first step is to issue a judgment admitting the enforcement proceedings, on the basis of which the applicant may seek to execute against the respondent's assets. The respondent is then given an opportunity to file defences against execution on the basis of prior payments made in favor of the applicant. The defence of insufficient title referred to in Art. 379 CGP would not be admissible against an award that has been granted exequatur.

(Source: CGP, Art. 379.)

E. Evidence required

12.

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

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

(Sources: New York Convention, Art. IV(2); CGP, Arts. 539.2, 543; in judgment 85 of 9 May 2008, the Supreme Court of Justice, upon the defendant's objection, refused exequatur for an arbitral award issued in France owing to the lack of an arbitration clause signed by the defendant.)

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

There is no legal provision on the subject. However, for the enforcement of foreign awards, the arbitral award and the document containing the arbitration agreement.

(Sources: CGP, Arts. 539, 543; Supreme Court Decision No. 41/2004.)

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

Originals or duly certified copies may be filed.

(Sources: New York Convention, Art. IV(1); CGP, Arts. 539(1), 543.)

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

One original or duly certified copy is required (and as many ordinary copies as there are parties to the proceedings).

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

The originals are not necessarily kept by the court. At any stage in the proceedings the party may ask to have certified copies made and the originals returned.

(Source: CGP, Art. 72.1.)

13.

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

Yes, if the documents are not in the country's official language they must be translated.

(Source: New York Convention, Art. IV(2); CGP, Arts. 539.1, 543.)

(b) If yes, into what language?

They must be translated into the country's official language, which is Spanish.

(Sources: New York Convention, Art. IV(2); CGP, Arts. 539.1, 543.)

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

Translations must be done by an official translator.

(Sources: New York Convention, Art. IV(2); CGP, Arts. 72.3, 539.1(2) and (3), 543.)

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

All documents must be translated, but in the case of very extensive documents it is possible to translate only the part that is pertinent to the proceedings.

(Sources: New York Convention, Art. IV(2); CGP, Arts. 72.3, 539.1(2) and (3), 543.)

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. Although in recent years there have been no cases dealing with this issue, scholarly opinion is in favour of the possibility.

(Source: New York Convention, Art. VI.)

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

None. Uruguay does not apply the forum non conveniens concept.

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

No, but the court can order it upon an ex parte request.

(Source: New York Convention, 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?

Proceedings for recognition and enforcement of awards are public, including all documents that are filed.

Upon an ex parte request, the court can order non-disclosure of the proceedings for justified reasons of security, morality or protection of the reputation of any of the parties.

(Source: CGP, Art. 7.)

(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?

No hearings are provided for in the case of recognition and enforcement of foreign awards.

If enforcement of the award is sought within the framework of existing proceedings in Uruguay, it is possible that its validity and effectiveness could be discussed at hearings in such proceedings. Hearings are public, but upon an ex parte request the court can order that the hearings be closed to the public for justified reasons of security, morality or protection of the reputation of any of the parties.

(Source: CGP, Arts. 7, 540.)

(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 secrets or State secrets)?

Yes, as a general rule, judgments on recognition and enforcement are published in legal reviews. However, if the proceedings for recognition and enforcement were made confidential by court decision, the judgment will also be kept confidential

(Source: CGP, Art. 7.)

H. Other issues

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

There are no rules or decisions specifically prohibiting or limiting recognition and enforcement of interim or partial awards. In fact, the Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration provides for recognition and enforcement of interlocutory or partial foreign awards and can be applied by analogy to cases subject to the New York Convention.

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

There are no rules or decisions limiting recognition and enforcement of awards granting monetary relief.

(Source: CGP, Art. 541.1.)

In view of the New York Convention's pro-award spirit, the silence of the Uruguayan rules, and the restrictiveness of the grounds for refusing recognition or enforcement of awards under the New York Convention, it is possible to obtain recognition and enforcement of foreign awards granting non-monetary relief in Uruguay.

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

A party may obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in a foreign award, provided such part is clearly distinguishable from the rest, in cases of (i) partial invalidity of the award or (ii) when the applicant seeks enforcement of only a part of the relief granted.

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?

It is not possible to obtain recognition or enforcement of an arbitral award if the party against whom it is to be enforced proves that it has been set aside or suspended by the competent authority of the country in which or under whose law it was made.

Scholarly opinion in Uruguay considers that a court may reject recognition and enforcement of an award that has been set aside or suspended by the competent authority of the country in which or under whose law it was made, even if the party against whom its enforcement is sought does not raise that defence as a public policy objection to enforcement.

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.)?

The process for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards does not involve any particular or more onerous costs than those involved in the enforcement of local awards.

If attachment of the respondent's assets is sought, the applicant must identify such assets.

(Source: CGP, Art. 380.2.)

Country Rapporteur:

Paul Arrighi Bustamante