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Sovarex S.A. v Romero Alvarez S.A.

Hamblen J considered (1) whether an arbitration award debtor had lost the right to challenge the award by participating in the proceedings before the arbitral tribunal on jurisdiction; (2) whether s. 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 was a summary enforcement procedure so that an award debtor only needed to show real grounds for doubting the validity of the award for a s. 66 application to be dismissed; (3) whether the Court should dismiss or stay the English enforcement proceedings in favour of prior Spanish proceedings, which were Regulation proceedings under the Brussels Regulation, relating to the validity of the contract containing the arbitration agreement. On (1), the Judge held that the award debtor had not participated in the arbitration so had not lost the right to challenge the award. On (2), the Judge held that s. 66 (unlike s. 26 of the Arbitration Act 1950) dealt with enforcement generally and so the old test of "real grounds for doubt" did not apply. On (3), the Court held that there was no basis for dismissing or staying the English non-Regulation proceedings in favour of the Spanish Regulation proceedings.

David Lewis appeared for the claimant, instructed by HBJ Gateley solicitors.