Due to issues with payment in the framework of a supply contract, a company brought an action before an ad hoc arbitral tribunal. The latter rendered an award on 21 June 2016, ordering the defendants to pay a certain amount of money. The defendants brought an action for the annulment of the award, on the basis of the disregard of the adversarial principle and of the lack of reasoning. They particularly blamed the arbitrators of having considered that the defendants’ debt was not challenged although it was challenged in its principle and its amount. The arbitrators, therefore, breached the adversarial principle and did not provide motivation for the award.
The Court of Appeal reminds that the adversarial principle only requires the parties to make their claims known and to discuss the claims of the opposing party in order for the arbitral tribunal to render a decision with the knowledge of each parties’ claims. Moreover, the annulment review by the judges only concerns the existence of such claims and not their relevance. In fact, the award was not lacking reasoning. The defendants only criticise the reasons of the developed arguments, suggesting the judges to substantively review the award, which is not permitted. The action is therefore dismissed.