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Frequently Asked questions

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a private dispute resolution procedure whereby the parties, by mutual agreement, submit their dispute to one or more independent third parties (called arbitrators), instead of going to court. The arbitrators are in charge of resolving the dispute and issuing a decision (called an award) which the parties are bound to comply with and enforceable.

Arbitration can be of two types: ad hoc or institutional. Institutional arbitration managed by the Court of Arbitration of Madrid offers many guarantees and advantages for obtaining a final decision within a period of generally less than 12 months thanks to the support offered by the Court’s Rules, one of the most modern and complete legal instruments in arbitration.

What are the advantages of arbitration over court?

First and foremost, arbitration allows to obtain a final decision in less than 12 months. In 2021, the average duration of arbitration proceedings handled by the Court of Arbitration of Madrid was 10 months.

Moreover, disputes are settled by impartial arbitrators who are independent of the parties and experts of the matter in dispute.

Arbitration is also characterised by its flexibility, as it gives the parties the possibility to adapt the procedure in terms of deadlines and formalities to the specific case. In addition, confidentiality is guaranteed concerning the very existence of the arbitration procedure, the information and documents disclosed during the arbitration and the award itself.

The final decision obtained by the parties (the award) is final and has the same effectiveness as a final court judgement, as it is not subject to appeal. Arbitral awards are binding and easy to enforce both in Spain and abroad.

It is possible to challenge an award?

There is no ordinary appeal against an award, given that the award is a final decision. However, an annulment action may be brought on specific grounds against the award.

How to submit a dispute to the Court of Arbitration of Madrid?

Arbitration is a consensual procedure. In order to file a request for arbitration before the Court of Arbitration of Madrid it is necessary that both parties have submitted the resolution of the dispute to arbitration, regardless of whether before or after it has arisen. For this purpose, an arbitration clause must be inserted in the contract from which disputes may arise in the future. A model arbitration clause can be found in the “Regulations and Agreement” section. The parties may also submit their disputes to the Court of Arbitration of Madrid after they have arisen, even if not previously agreed, provided that the parties agree to such submission.

How are arbitrators appointed in arbitrations handled by the Court of Arbitration of Madrid?

According to the Rules of the Court, if the parties have chosen to have the dispute decided by a sole arbitrator, they are free to agree on the appointment of a sole arbitrator. In the case of an Arbitral Tribunal, each party may designate one of the co-arbitrators who in turn choose the Chairman. If no agreement is reached between the parties or between the co-arbitrators appointed by the parties, the Arbitral Tribunal shall make the corresponding appointment.

For the appointment of arbitrators in the different cases submitted to it, the Court of Arbitration analyses the specific case and the training, background and experience of the potential arbitrators, with the aim of appointing suitable arbitrators for the specific dispute, also guaranteeing independence.

Can the Court of Arbitration of Madrid act as appointing authority?

Yes. The Court may act as appointing authority, if the parties so request, to designate the arbitrator in proceedings not administered by the Court.

Can the Court of Arbitration of Madrid administer arbitration proceedings in other languages?

Yes, the Court of Arbitration of Madrid can administer proceedings in English and French. In addition, our institution provides translation services.

Can the Court of Arbitration of Madrid administer arbitration proceedings outside Madrid?

Yes, the Court of Arbitration of Madrid can administer arbitration proceedings anywhere in the world that the parties mutually agree.

How long does an arbitration procedure administered by the Court of Arbitration of Madrid usually take?

At the Court of Arbitration of Madrid, we deal with each arbitration proceeding on an individual basis. Each case has its own complexity and pace, so it is difficult to establish a standard duration. However, arbitrations usually last about 10 months.

Is there an abbreviated procedure?

Also known as expedited procedure or fast track procedure, there is an abbreviated procedure for arbitrations for amounts of less than 600.000 euros (six hundred thousand) in which the time limits and procedural formalities are shortened. For example, the arbitrator has 4 months to issue an award instead of 6 months and a single hearing is held for the taking of evidence and the formulation of conclusions.

Can I obtain information from an arbitration proceeding to which I am a party?

Yes. The arbitration is confidential to any third party outside the arbitration, but the parties have access to the arbitration file.

What are the costs of the proceedings?

The costs of the arbitration proceedings at the Court of Arbitration of Madrid are very competitive compared to other Spanish and international courts. The costs consist of the Court’s admission and administration fees and the Arbitrator’s Fees. On this website you will find a cost calculator that will allow you to get an idea of the costs of arbitration before you start.

Does the Court of Arbitration of Madrid review awards before they are notified to the parties?

The awards, prior to their signature by the arbitrators, are submitted to the Court for review, which may make strictly formal modifications and, while respecting the arbitrators’ freedom of decision, make suggestions on substantive aspects. The Court may also make suggestions on the determination and breakdown of costs.