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Lisbon Court of Appeal | Enforcement of Arbitral Awards | Grounds for Resisting Enforcement | 12-07-2012 | Case #0035

Lisboa Court of Appeal
Date: 12-07-2012
Case Nr. 2191/11.6YYLSB-A.L1-7


An arbitral award equates to a court judgment for the purposes of an enforcement procedure. The award debtor may not invoke there any ground that he could have invoked during a setting aside procedure.



  1. The arbitral award is an enforceable document, equaling to a court judgment. This nature enshrines the structure of the enforcement procedure and the grounds that the debtor may resort to resist enforcement.
  2. The law provides for grounds to challenge an arbitral award, either as a cause of action for an autonomous annulment or as grounds for resisting enforcement.
  3. Art. 27(1)(a) to (e) of Law 31/86, of August 29 [old Arbitration Act] contains an exhaustive list of circumstances that may be grounds to annul an arbitral award. Those circumstances essentially relate to aspects of a formal nature. The annulment may not be sought on different grounds other than those contemplated in Law, in the very same way as it happens with the procedure to resist the enforcement of a court judgment.
  4. According to Arts. 814 and 815 of the Code of Civil Procedure, if the enforcement procedure relates to an arbitral award, the debtor is not allowed to invoke grounds that he could have lawfully invoked in a procedure to set aside that arbitral award. If the debtor invokes those grounds at the enforcement stage, the procedure must be dismissed, according to Art. 817(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure.