Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
Arbitration is an alternative method of dispute resolution, or ADR, whereby one or more arbitrators (professionals of recognised standing, usually from the legal field) definitively settle a dispute by way of an award with has the same effects as a final and binding court judgment.
Arbitration and mediation are two different ways of resolving a dispute. In arbitration, the arbitrator, acting as a judge would, settles the dispute between the parties in the manner he considers best. In mediation, the mediator does not decide a dispute, but rather endeavours to bring the parties closer together, so that it is they who resolve their differences and find the most appropriate means of putting an end to them.
The ATPA can be chosen for any so-called parties’ “free disposition” disputes, that is, those which are not falling within the compulsory jurisdiction of state courts, as is the case in criminal matters or in matters relating to the civil status of individuals. Therefore, any civil or commercial law dispute may, in principle, by resolved by arbitration and, consequently, submitted to the ATPA.
In contrast with cases brought before state courts, arbitration offers the great advantages of speed (on average, the final resolution of a dispute takes one year), of confidentiality (arbitral proceedings are strictly confidential) and of the specialisation of the arbitrators, who are carefully chosen in consideration of the specific matter they will have to deal with.
The Arbitral Tribunal of the Principality of Andorra is an institution, created by the 13/2018 Act of 31 May, adopted by the Consell General (Andorran Parliament) and whose purpose is to promote arbitration as an alternative method of dispute resolution and to administrate the domestic and international arbitration proceedings entrusted to it.
It is the parties who, in the first place, have the power to choose the arbitrators they trust to resolve the dispute submitted by them to the ATPA. Where no agreement is reached or in case of appointment difficulty, the ATPA shall seek out the best appropriate experts, considering the specific characteristics of the dispute to be resolved, and will ensure, at all times, that the chosen arbitrators have no link with the parties. A body provided for in the ATPA’s By-Laws, the “Arbitral Board”, composed of five independent members responsible for ensuring the quality, independence and impartiality of the arbitrators, is entrusted with their confirmation or nomination, as the case may be.
As before any other any arbitral institution, proceedings at the ATPA are governed by its own Rules, modern and innovative and, alternatively, the by arbitration law or any other procedural rules chosen by the parties, which may be either the Andorran law on arbitration or any other law to which the parties have agreed to submit.
Like all countries which, at the image of the Principality of Andorra, have a recent arbitration law, there is no right of appeal against the arbitral decisions – known as arbitral awards -rendered under the auspices the ATPA. However, an application may be made for an award to be annulled on the grounds that the arbitrators have breached fundamental rules of procedure or violated principles of national or international public order.
In order to ensure the success of the arbitral proceedings, the APTA verifies, in conducting the confirmation process, that the sole arbitrator or arbitrators proposed by the parties satisfy the conditions necessary to carry out their mission. Where one of the parties fails to nominate an arbitrator or where the parties fail to reach agreement regarding the choice of the sole arbitrator or the president of the Arbitral Tribunal, the ATPA shall proceed with the appointment of a qualified and trusted professional. In all events, the ATPA ensures that the sole arbitrator or arbitrators are and remain independent and impartial during the entire duration the proceedings and that the matter to which the dispute relates falls within the scope of their expertise. Moreover, the ATPA, through its Secretary General, ensures the smooth running of the arbitration and offers the arbitrators all the necessary support. Finally, the ATPA reviews the draft award to check its lawfulness and that all the parties’ requests have been addressed.
The costs of the arbitral proceedings are clearly set out in the Annex to the Rules and may be evaluated using the costs calculator available on the ATPA’s website. In all cases, the ATPA will receive a minimum, non-refundable, amount of €2,000 to cover administrative costs.