Cour d'appel de Paris no 20-05583 - Unilever c Usine Pingouin - Pôle 5 - Chambre 16 - Arret - French - 9 November 2021
international arbitral award - jurisdiction - transmission of the clause - dismissal
In this case, the ICCP-CA rejected the claim for setting aside the arbitral award, essentially based on the plea of lack of jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. The court recalls that « the appreciation of the scope of the arbitration agreement may thus lead the court to have to analyze its applicability, its validity or its opposability to the parties to the dispute and thus to have to appreciate in the context of the claim for annulment the circumstances of the dispute in fact and in law, without this examination being able to be, apart from the causes provided for by the texts, constitutive of a ground for inadmissibility » (§22) and « pursuant to a material rule of the international law of arbitration, applicable to an arbitration whose seat is in France, the arbitration clause is legally independent of the main contract which contains it directly or by reference. It is not affected by the ineffectiveness of that act » (§24).
In view of the circumstances of the case, the court considered that the contract containing the arbitration clause could have been transferred to companies belonging to the same group, even though they had not physically signed this contract, not without pointing out that « in view of its contractual dimension, the arbitration clause is transmitted automatically as an accessory to the right of action, which is itself an accessory to the substantive right that is transmitted » (§34).