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Supreme Court of Justice (Portugal) | Kompetenz-Kompetenz | 21-06-2016 | Case #0016

Supreme Court of Justice
Date: 21-06-2016
Case Nr. 301/14.0TVLSB.L1.S1


 The court may refuse to refer the parties to the arbitral tribunal only where the arbitration agreement is manifestly null and void.


1. In assessing objections to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal, the court must act with restraint, and give the arbitral tribunal priority in the assessment of its own jurisdiction. Pursuant to the negative effect of the arbitration agreement embodied in Art. 5/1 of the VAL, the arbitrators are the first judges of their competence.

2. The court may refuse to refer the parties to arbitration and stay court proceedings only where it finds that the arbitration agreement is ‘manifestly’ and incontrovertibly null and void. The term ‘manifest’ implies that the court shall dispense with the production of evidence in making this determination.

3. As production of evidence is to be dispensed with, the court should not decide upon allegations of vices of will in the conclusion of the contract. Thus, the court may only consider the external requirements of the contract, such as form and arbitrability.

This case summary was kindly prepared by Sameer Thakur (, NALSAR University of Law), Rishabh Raheja, (, NALSAR University of Law), and Abhishek Babbar (