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The Amendment of Spain’s Arbitration Act: A Promising But Unfinished Agenda

By Guiller­mo Bayas Fer­nán­dez
Attor­ney-at-law in Spain
Fun­dación Rafael del Pino schol­ar
NYU LL.M. Can­di­date, Class of 2011


Last Sep­tem­ber, the Span­ish Gov­ern­ment sent to the Par­lia­ment a bill (the Bill) to reform the cur­rent Span­ish Arbi­tra­tion Act (Ley 60/2003, de 23 de diciem­bre, de Arbi­tra­je), which is now being dis­cussed in Con­gress. The Bill improves dif­fer­ent aspects of the exist­ing reg­u­la­tion, main­ly those con­cern­ing the action to set aside the award, arbi­tra­tors’ lia­bil­i­ty, arbi­tra­tion of cor­po­rate dis­putes and the effect of insol­ven­cy pro­ceed­ings on arbi­tra­tion agree­ments. How­ev­er, the pos­si­ble sup­pres­sion of dis­sent­ing opin­ions prej­u­dices arbi­tra­tion and the reg­u­la­tion on chal­lenge of judi­cial juris­dic­tion favors friv­o­lous attempts to avoid abid­ing by arbi­tra­tion agree­ments. respec­tive  Addi­tion­al­ly, the pro­posed assign­ment of func­tions among judi­cial bod­ies in arbi­tra­tion issues lacks coher­ence and does not cre­ate a long-demand­ed uni­fi­ca­tion appeal on arbi­tra­tion mat­ters. While this arti­cle wel­comes some of the intend­ed mod­i­fi­ca­tions, it rais­es con­cerns that Spain might be los­ing a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to adopt a mod­ern reg­u­la­tion that would advance its chances of becom­ing a prime inter­na­tion­al arbi­tra­tion seat.

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