Author: William R. Spiegelberger*
Published: March 2007
Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
Sources of Arbitration Law
This article is intended to provide a comprehensive and analytical description of the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Russia today. Although there have been several treatments of this subject, recent amendments to Russian law have rendered many in need of revision. Moreover, no commentator, as far as the author is aware, has endeavored to examine the aggregate body of published Russian court decisions that have enforced or refused to enforce foreign arbitral awards.
It would be a mistake to ignore the cases. The old Russian adage “don’t fear the court, fear the judge” is not completely inapt when it comes to the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Russia. Russian judges have sometimes reached what an outside observer might cosider surprising results in otherwise straightforward cases. Although the aberrant cases are not “law” in the sense of having precedential value, they do affect the parties involved in the most immediate way possible: an award is either enforced and thereby converted into something of value, or it is refused enforcement and the winning party’s damages (and costs and time and trouble) go uncompensated. Thus, it is not enough to understand what the law is, one must also know what the judges do.
*White & Case LLC, Moscow.