The event was opened by Mercedes Romero, Partner of Pérez-Llorca’s Litigation and Arbitration practice and author of the book “Arbitraje y Jurisdicción: Principios Básicos y Jurisprudencia”, a practical reference book on the competences attributed to Spanish courts and tribunals on arbitration matters, and their interpretation in case law. Speakers at the event included José Antonio Ballestero, Senior Judge of the High Court of Galicia and member of the CGPJ; Francisco de Borja Iriarte, Senior Judge of the High Court of the Basque Country and Dámaso Riaño, Secretary General of the Madrid Court of Arbitration and associate professor of corporate law and arbitration at IE Law School.
Mercedes Romero opened the session with some remarks on the relationship between arbitration and jurisdiction and, in particular, the jurisdictional control of arbitration awards. This is a topical subject given the recent admission by the Constitutional Court of a writ of amparo (“recurso de amparo”) against two rulings of the Civil and Criminal Chamber of the High Court of Madrid, which set aside an award as it considered it to be insufficiently justified.
Then, Francisco de Borja Iriarte, drawing from his extensive experience as a senior judge and lawyer, gave his thoughts on the relationship between arbitration and jurisdiction, as well as the implications that the use of jurisdictional control over arbitration awards may have for the principle of legal security.
José Antonio Ballestero shared his view on the new discussion forums created between professionals working in arbitration and the courts, such as the recent CGPJ-CEA Arbitration Forum (“Foro de Arbitraje CGPJ-CEA”), the conclusions of which were announced recently. The senior judge specifically stressed the need for judges, arbitrators and lawyers to consider these issues together.
Lastly, Dámaso Riaño closed the event with some practical considerations on the way that arbitration institutions deal with these matters, as well as the control and preventative function that they can exercise, for example, through so-called award scrutiny.
After the presentations of the speakers, a dialogue took place in which attendees asked specific questions on the topics discussed. Other topical matters concerning the relationship between arbitration and jurisdiction were also discussed, such as the interpretation of public order and the act of going against it as a reason for the setting aside of an award, particularly in cases of a lack of justification, and the extent of arbitration institutions’ duty of impartiality.