The operation of recognition, registration and enforcement of arbitral awards in Cyprus is governed by a framework of three distinct yet complimentary pieces of legislation that comprehensively cover this field, set out below.
As a signatory to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards commonly known as the New York Convention, adopted on the 10 June 1958 (the “New York Convention”), Cyprus codified its provisions by transposing them into domestic legislation in the form of the Ratifying Law on the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1979 (Law 84/1979).
This is supplemented by the International Commercial Arbitration Law of 1987 (Law 101/1987), which is modelled after the UNCITRAL Model Law with minor amendments. Pursuant to Law 101/1987, international commercial arbitral awards can be recognized and registered regardless of the country which issued them, thus broadening the operational scope of enforcement of arbitral awards to countries which have not ratified the New York Convention.
Criteria and Procedure
Pursuant to Article IV of the New York Convention as transposed by Law 84/1979, an applicant must provide:
The above procedural preconditions are mirrored in Section 35 of Law 101/1987.
A Cyprus Court can refuse the recognition and registration of an international arbitral award only on the basis of the grounds stipulated in Article V of the New York Convention, as transposed in Law 84/1979, which are the following:
Furthermore, additional grounds are provided by Section 36 of Law 101/1987, which relate to the finding by a Court that:
Pursuant to Section 5 of the Foreign Courts Judgments (Recognition, Registration and Enforcement) Law of 2000 (Law 121(I)/2000), which applies to any foreign Court judgment or arbitral award or decision of a foreign body of a country which Cyprus has signed relevant bilateral treaties with and such judgment or award is enforceable in the country in which it is issued. Applications for the recognition and registration of international arbitral awards are commenced with an application by summons accompanied by an affidavit submitted to the competent District Court. Pursuant to Section 2 of the Law 121(I)/2000 and as has been stated obiter with regards to recognition and registration of foreign judgements, and which can be similarly applied to arbitral awards, in the Supreme Court of Cyprus case VTB Bank (Open Joint-Stock Company) v Taruta Sergey Alekseyevich, General Application number: 378/14 judgment dated12/06/2020 , in order for Cyprus Courts to assume jurisdiction, either the respondent or, in cases where the respondent resides abroad, the applicant must be residing in Cyprus.
Once an international arbitral award has been recognized and successfully registered in Cyprus, it obtains the same legal status as a domestic judgment and Courts will treat it as such for purposes of execution. An applicant can thus expect execution to take form in the following methods of execution in relation to monetary claims:
Cyprus demonstrates an overall pro-enforcement approach both legislatively and judicially. Cyprus Courts have restricted their role to that of procedural supervision as to uphold the pro-enforcement spirit of the applicable international instruments. Furthermore, the enactment of the Registration and Regulation of Sworn Translators of 2019 (Law 45(I)/2019) providing for a Registry of registered translators, has resolved the issue previously experienced as to whose translations the Courts will consider as official, thus circumventing minor technicalities surrounding the matter. Furthermore, a proposal for the introduction of a new improved law regulating the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is currently in discussions and thus it is expected that Cyprus will become an even more pro-enforcement jurisdiction.
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