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Commercial arbitration as provided for in Article 3 of Appendix VI of the ECR may be used for any dispute arising in connection with the interpretation or performance of a contract and which cannot be settled amicably.

Yes. To submit a dispute to arbitration, the parties must have agreed on this possibility in an arbitration agreement contained in the contract. The arbitration agreement must be in writing, so that the parties’ intention to submit any dispute to arbitration is expressly recognised. It must indicate: AFCOT Le Havre RGE-ECR arbitration.

Paragraph 1.1 of Article 3 of Appendix VI states that arbitrators will give a ruling as mediators. They are therefore exempt from applying the rules of law, which amounts to authorising them to rule in equity. It is important to underline that arbitrators act as real judges, and are not the parties’ representatives. They do not therefore defend the arguments of the parties who appointed them; they impartially examine the disputed facts and take part in the discussions in complete independence.

The party wishing to use arbitration must notify the other party of its wish. Written proof of sending and receiving must be kept. In their request for arbitration, the plaintiff must appoint the first arbitrator (Art 2.1.2). The defendant then has 15 days (Art 2.1.2) to notify the plaintiff of the name and particulars of the second arbitrator.

The first two arbitrators thus appointed have 30 days (Art 2.1.2) to jointly choose the third arbitrator who will act as chairman of the court of arbitration. The date of appointment of the third arbitrator marks the starting point of the arbitration proceedings, for which a period of six months is foreseen (Art 2.3.1). However, depending on the circumstances, the arbitrators’ assignments may be shorter or longer. In the latter case, it may be extended for a maximum period of six months.

Once the 15-day period has expired (Art 2.1.2), the plaintiff will send a request to the Presiding Judge of the Commercial Court of Le Havre (Art 2.1.5) for him to appoint an arbitrator on the defendant’s behalf.

No. Each party may appoint the arbitrator of their choosing without them necessarily being on the AFCOT list.

To obtain enforcement, an application for exequatur must be made to the Tribunal de Grande Instance (high court) in whose jurisdiction the award was handed down. The application is filed by the first party to take action to the office of the court, together with the original award and a copy of the arbitration agreement.

The main difference lies in the fact that arbitration results in an enforceable instrument in the form of an award, whereas mediation results in an agreement between the parties which is not an enforceable instrument. The parties’ attention is therefore drawn to the voluntary nature of performing the agreement reached.

The arbitrators’ assignment is expected to last for six months at the most from the date the third arbitrator accepts his assignment. However, it may be extended for a further six months, either by agreement between the parties, or at the request of one of them or the court of arbitration, by the Presiding Judge of the Commercial Court of Le Havre.

  • Request for arbitration. Day 1.
  • Appointment of the second arbitrator within 15 days of the request for arbitration.
  • Appointment of the Chairman of the court of arbitration within 30 days of the appointment of the 2nd arbitrator. Starting point of the six-month period.
  • Statement of claim. Served within 15 days of the appointment of the court of arbitration.
  • Statement of defence. Served within 30 days of the service of the notice of arbitration.
  • In case of counterclaim, the plaintiff then has 30 days to submit a counterstatement.
  • 30 days after receiving the statement of defence (or the counterstatement in the case of a counterclaim), the assignment report is drafted.
  • Payment of a deposit within 20 days of signing the assignment report.
  • Closure of a debate.
  • Issue of the award.
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