Cour d'appel de Paris no 20-10166 - Boralex Energie France c Innovent - Pôle 5 - Chambre 16 - Arret - French - 30 November 2021
domestic arbitral award - arbitrators' signature - date - conformity of the deliberation - modification of the hearing - principle of adversarial proceedings - public order - arbitrators' mission - dismissal
Seized of an appeal for annulment against an internal award, recalled that the signature of the award by the three arbitrators makes it presumed that they deliberated and pronounced the award by a majority. It rejected the plea of nullity based on the uncertain date and the alleged absence of signature of the arbitrators on the same document, noting that the date of the award was the date on which the chairman of the tribunal signed last, the two co-arbitrators having signed at an earlier date, and that there was no formality requiring that the arbitrators sign on the same page, the fact that the arbitrators signed separately on separate sheets, collated, not allowing to doubt the signature by the arbitrators of the same award.
After rejecting the objection of inadmissibility of the claim based on the violation of contradiction due to the modification in extremis of the possibility of hearing one of the parties as a witness, the ICCP-CA rejected this claim on the grounds that the modification of the organization of the hearing was the subject of a prior consultation of the parties, the latter having been able to formulate reservations and having been given the same time to prepare their defense, the parties could not therefore claim that there had been a violation of the adversarial process, whereas the arbitral tribunal had given the parties the possibility of questioning the legal representative of the opposing company at any time during the hearing, which the claimant did not believe it had to do.
Also rejected the plea of violation of public policy based on the same ground, as one of the parties had not been placed in a substantially disadvantageous situation, all the more so as the ICC rules allow the procedure to be managed with a view to efficiency, which was the case, the procedural choices having been debated with respect for the adversarial process. The Court did not find that the mission had been violated either, since the change in the organization of the hearing did not affect the rights of the defense and the party claiming to have been harmed did not provide proof of either a grievance or a loss.