AGA Partners successfully represented the Ukrainian agri-trading company in a dispute with a Belarusian trading company before the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (“ICAC”).
The dispute concerned the buyer’s failure to pay for a delivered parcel of the goods as well as his failure to take full quantity of the goods under the sale contract. The Client sought recovery of balance price for the goods, market price damages and penalty for delay in payment.
The buyer claimed that payment for the goods from his side was prevented due to a force majeure, allegedly triggered by the Presidential Decree of the Republic of Belarus No. 70 of 25 February 2020 (“Decree”), setting a mandatory one-year grace period for debts’ repayment. However, AGA Partners convinced the Arbitral Court that the said Decree was not a force majeure, since (1) the buyers’ company was not subject to the Decree, 2) there was no connection between the Decree and the buyer’s duties under the sale contract, (3) the parties expressly excluded breaches of payment duties from a scope of a force majeure clause.
The proceedings were further complicated by the buyer’s abuse of temporary restrictions, imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic, in order to postpone hearing of the matter.
Partner Iryna Moroz commented the case as follows:
“This matter raised quite an uncommon situation of governmental intervention into commercial relations, which led to a temporary suspension of a debt collection process. Furthermore, once more the ICAC has proven its efficiency by countering a party’s delaying tactics to save time and costs for the proceedings”.
AGA Partners, together with the partners of the Georgian law firm BLC Law Office, successfully enforced the award of London commercial arbitration in Georgia, the region of Guria. The Supreme Court of Georgia satisfied the application for the recognition and enforcement of the award. AGA Partners recovered the full amount of the damages awarded to the client.
The team also managed to obtain security in support of the foreign arbitral award and seize the bank account, as well as other property of the debtor located in Georgia. This step secured the client execution of the award from the property seized.
The peculiarity of the case was that the parties entered into an arbitration agreement by exchanging emails without using the signatures and seals of the companies. In many jurisdictions, this may result in a refusal to recognize an arbitral award due to the formal approach of local courts, requiring the original arbitration agreement signed by both parties.
However, during oral hearings, the team of lawyers was able to prove in court the validity of the arbitration agreement under applicable English law and the compliance with the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Partner, Iryna Moroz, commented on the execution of the award:
“The successful outcome of this case demonstrates that Georgia is a favorable jurisdiction for the enforcement of arbitral awards. The application for enforcement is considered directly by the Supreme Court of Georgia, which decision is final and cannot be appealed. Judges adhere to a pro-arbitration approach and consider cases quite promptly, particularly in imposing interim measures. Actually, the seizure of assets, as a preliminary security of the arbitral award, played a decisive role in the successful execution.”
Our practice of dispute resolution and international arbitration is recognized by international rating agencies. The list of cases won by us on behalf of our clients and the high appraisal given by world's leading companies confirm the perfect quality of our services in the field of international trade and agribusiness.
We understand the specific needs of each client and provide tailored solutions to any problem. The exclusivity of the client is the basis of our work, so we handle only those issues that we are professionals in.
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