Frequent Asked Questions Frequent Asked Questions

Arbitration is a private dispute resolution system by which the parties, instead of resorting to a judge, mutually agree to submit their controversies to one or several independent third parties, the arbitrators. These individuals are entrusted to solve the conflict and render a decision (called award) that is binding for the parties and may be enforced.

Arbitration can be of several kinds. Institutional arbitration, administered by the Madrid Court of Arbitration, provides a number of safeguards and benefits to obtain a final solution generally within no more than 12 months, thanks to the support offered by  the Rules of the Madrid Court of Arbitration, one of the most modern and complete legal instruments in arbitration.

Dispute resolution by arbitration involves parties participating on equal terms in a neutral and independent process. It also entails eliminating the disadvantages of proceedings in ordinary state courts. In addition to the timing element, in international disputes arbitration eliminates the difficulty of parties having to litigate in their national courts.

Disputes are settled by impartial arbitrators which are independent of the parties and experts in the subject-matter of the dispute. Arbitration is flexible, that is, it gives the parties the possibility to adapt deadlines and procedures to the particular case. It also ensures confidentiality regarding the very existence of the arbitration, any information disclosed during the arbitration proceedings and the award. The decision the parties obtain is final and has the same effect as a final judicial decision, since it is not subject to appeal. Arbitration awards are binding and easy to enforce.

An award is a final decision against which no ordinary appeal can be filed. However, it is possible to initiate an action to annul the award on the basis of a closed list of grounds.

Arbitration is a consensual procedure. This is why in order to submit a controversy to the Madrid Court of Arbitration it is necessary that both parties in conflict agree to do so. The most usual way to do it is by inserting an arbitral clause in their corresponding contract submitting the resolution of disputes to the Madrid Court of Arbitration. In the section of this webpage about the Rules of the Court you will find a model clause in several languages.

The parties can also submit their controversies to the Madrid Court of Arbitration after the dispute has arisen, even if they had no prior agreement in this respect, so long as both agree. 

No. The Madrid Court of Arbitration is an international arbitration court and has experience in administering arbitrations involving non-Spanish parties and in languages other than Spanish. The Court can administer arbitrations even if their seat is located outside Spain.

Under the Court’s Rules, if the choice is that the dispute be resolved by a sole arbitrator, the parties are free to appoint such arbitrator by mutual agreement. Similarly, if the case has to be resolved by an Arbitral Tribunal, each party is entitled to appoint one arbitrator. Those two party-appointed arbitrators will then be in charge of designating the chairperson. In case no agreement is reached by the parties or the party-appointed arbitrators, as the case may be, the Court will designate the Chairperson.

When appointing arbitrators for the different cases submitted to the Court, the latter analyses the specifics of the case, as well as the education, background and experience of the potential arbitrators, so as to ensure the suitability of each arbitrator for the particular case and the maximum level of impartiality.

Yes. The Court may act as appointing authority. Upon the parties’ request, the Court will appoint an arbitrator in an arbitration not administered by the Court.

Yes. The Madrid Court of Arbitration may administer arbitrations in any place of the world the parties agree to.

Yes. The Madrid Court of Arbitration can administer cases in English and French.

Each arbitration is treated by the Madrid Court of Arbitration in an individualized manner. Each case has its complexity and pace and thus it is difficult to set a standard duration for an arbitration. Arbitrators must generally render an award within 6 months following the answer to the claim. In average, arbitrations last about 10 months.

Yes. The Court has a fast track procedure for arbitrations with an economic value in dispute under 100.000 Euros. In that fast track option, time limits and procedural steps are shortened. For example, the arbitrator must render an award within 4 months instead of 6 and only one evidentiary hearing takes place. In that hearing, the parties also present their closing statements orally.

Yes. Arbitration is confidential to any person who is not a party, but the parties have access to the file.

The costs of arbitration at the Madrid Court of Arbitration are very competitive in comparison with other Spanish and international courts. Costs include the Court’s admission and administration fees, as well as the arbitrators’ fees. In this webpage you can find a cost calculator which makes it possible to estimate the costs of an arbitration before starting it.

Before signing the award, the arbitrators submit it to the Court for review. The Court may make strictly formal modifications. Additionally, the Court may also make suggestions to the arbitrators as to the merits of the case and cost allocation, without prejudice to the arbitrators’ freedom to resolve the case as they deem fit.

In order to divulge the experience of the Court, the Rules make it possible to publish awards, so long the parties agree and any references to the names of the parties or data that may identify them have been removed.