We successfully represented a client in the enforcement of two foreign arbitral awards rendered under the rules of the Federation of Oils, Seeds, and Fats Associations (“FOSFA”) in London.

Challenged due to the absence of a signature

FOSFA is an international trade federation providing network, contracts, and supporting services for its members active in trading in oils, seeds, and fats. Our client had used one of the contract templates by FOSFA leading them to resolve a dispute with a business partner in a specialised arbitration in London.

The proceedings were held under the New York Convention of 1958 concerning the recognition and validity of foreign arbitral awards. The debtor challenged the validity of the arbitration agreement due to the absence of a signature in the contract containing the arbitration clause. The court rejected the defence explaining that under English (and Estonian) law the arbitration agreement does not have to be physically signed to be binding. The court further found that as the debtor had not disputed the FOSFA’s preliminary award on jurisdiction in England, it had waived its right to raise the defence in Estonia. As our client was successful in all arguments and the debtor was further obliged to bear all costs of the court proceedings.

Landmark matter

The proceedings for declaring the arbitral awards enforceable in Estonia lasted 12 months. The court order is immediately enforceable. The case is a testament to Estonian courts applying and honoring the principles enshrined in the New York Convention of 1958 concerning the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards to which Estonia is a party to.

Our services and client team

Our experienced international arbitration specialists advised and represented the client in the nuanced process of the enforcement of both the preliminary award on jurisdiction and the final award on substantive issues in Estonia. Moreover, to secure enforcement, we convinced the court to apply interim relief and arrest the debtor’s bank accounts for the duration of the court proceedings.

Our client team was led by partner Carri Ginter and supported by counsel Maria Pihlak and associate Raul Kartsep.