The enforcement of arbitral awards is usually governed by different sets of rules, depending on whether the award is domestic or foreign. Generally, a State will consider an award to be domestic if the seat of arbitration is within its territory—and foreign if it is not.
Each State freely establishes the rules that allow for the enforcement of a domestic award (i.e., one issued within its territory or in accordance with its laws).
Under Spanish law, the enforcement of domestic awards is basically governed by the same rules as judicial decisions. See Arts. 8.4, 44 and 45 of Arbitration Act 60/2003, of December 23, and Book III of Law 1/2000, of January 7, on Civil Procedure.
The recognition and enforcement of foreign awards are guaranteed by the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, made in New York on June 10, 1958. At present 170 States are parties to this treaty. All these States undertake to recognize the effectiveness of the foreign award and to grant its enforcement “in accordance with the rules of procedure in force” in the country. See Art. III of the New York Convention.
This Convention also establishes a numerus clausus list of grounds on which a State may refuse to recognize or enforce a foreign award, namely:
See Art. V of the New York Convention.
In Spain the enforcement of foreign awards is governed by the New York Convention as well as by any international convention that is more favorable to the granting of the exequatur of the specific award. See Art. 46 of the Arbitration Act 60/2003, of December 23.
The exequatur is mainly carried out in accordance with the provisions of Law 29/2015, of July 30, on International Legal Cooperation in Civil Matters, which establishes the procedure for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and instruments.