This country-specific Q&A provides an overview of International Arbitration laws and regulations applicable in Norway.
What legislation applies to arbitration in your country? Are there any mandatory laws?
The Arbitration Act applies to arbitration that takes place in Norway. The place of arbitration is determined by an interpretation of the arbitration agreement.
The Norwegian Arbitration Act is mandatory, but the parties may contract out of the provisions of the Act by agreement to the extent specified in each section.
Is your country a signatory to the New York Convention? Are there any reservations to the general obligations of the Convention?
Norway ratified the New York Convention on March 14 1961 and the Convention entered into force 11 June 1961.
Norwegian law does not limit the scope of the Convention. However, Norway has made reservations to the Convention so that it applies only to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards made in the territory of one of the contracting states. Further, under these reservations, the Convention does not apply to proceedings when the subject matter is immovable property situated in Norway or a right in or to such property. However, in accordance with the Norwegian Arbitration Act an arbitration award will be enforced and recognized in Norway irrespective of which country it is made.
What other arbitration-related treaties and conventions is your country a party to?
Except for the New York Convention, Norway is also a party to several other treaties and conventions relating to arbitration. The most relevant are the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention) and several bilateral investment protection agreements (e.g. with Chile, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka).
Is the law governing international arbitration in your country based on the UNCITRAL Model Law? Are there significant differences between the two?
The Arbitration Act is based on the UNICITRAL Model Law, but Norway has not adopted the UNICITRAL Model Law directly. There are no significant differences between the Norwegian law and the UNICITRAL Model Law. However, one major difference is that the Norwegian Arbitration Act does not require that arbitration agreements are entered into in writing. On some points, the Arbitration Act enhances more detailed regulation than the UNICITRAL Model Law. Inter alia when it comes to duty of confidentiality and public access, the Arbitration Act states that the duty of confidentiality only applies if the parties have agreed so in the arbitration agreement.
Are there any impending plans to reform the arbitration laws in your country?
What arbitral institutions (if any) exist in your country? When were their rules last amended? Are any amendments being considered?
Traditionally, most arbitrations in Norway have been ad hoc, in the sense that no arbitration institution is involved.
Historically, there has only been one arbitral institution in Norway. That is the Arbitration and Dispute Resolution institute of the Oslo Chamber of Commerce (OCC). The institute is a body incorporated in the Chamber, which deals with matters of arbitration and dispute resolution. The arbitration rules were last amended in 2016, and the new rules on arbitration, together with new rules on mediation, went into force 1 January 2017.
Also worth mentioning is the Nordic Offshore and Maritime Arbitration Association (NOMA). NOMA offers a set of arbitration rules which promote transparent and cost-efficient arbitrations. In 2021, NOMA revised its arbitration rules. However, these rules are nearly identical to the rules implemented in 2017. As the rules from 2017, the rules from 2021 emphasise speed and simplicity, and take a light-touch approach to institutional arbitration. In terms of speed and efficiency, the NOMA Rules have shorter time limits and omit certain procedural steps as compared to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules on which they are based. For example, the deadlines for appointing arbitrators are shorter and there is no requirement for a response to the notice of arbitration. In 2021 NOMA also introduced a fast track procedure. These rules, that provides an even simpler and more efficient process, can be used when the parties have agreed so or/and the claim does not exceed USD 250 000. Examples of rules in the fast track procedure is that the arbitration panel consist of a sole arbitrator, that the parties may not submit more than one written statement each in addition to the statement of claim and the statement of defence, and that the time limits are shorter than for the ordinary arbitration rules. Most of the rules are flexible in the sense that the parties are allowed to make adjustments. In addition to the process rules, the NOMA has also developed a set of Best Practice Guidelines which are intended to assist tribunals and parties on certain procedural points.
Is there a specialist arbitration court in your country?
What are the validity requirements for an arbitration agreement under the laws of your country?
Only disputes at the disposal of the parties may be subject to arbitration.
In addition, the ordinary rules and principles of formation and validity under Norwegian contract law apply to arbitration agreements. The Arbitration Act or Norwegian contract law do not prescribe a particular form of the arbitration agreement – it can be made orally or in writing. However, they may be declared void if they are entered into under duress, fraud or undue influence, or if the agreement is deemed unreasonable pursuant to Section 36 of the Norwegian Contract Act. There are some additional validity requirements, including requirements to written forms, that apply to arbitration agreements in special cases (e.g. in relation to carriage of goods and consumer disputes).
Are arbitration clauses considered separable from the main contract?
Yes – the doctrine of separability is codified in Section 18 (2) of the Arbitration Act. The act states that:
“…an arbitration agreement which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract. A decision by the arbitral tribunal that the contract is null and void shall not in itself entail that the arbitration agreement is null and void.”
Do the courts of your country apply a validation principle under which an arbitration agreement should be considered valid and enforceable if it would be so considered under at least one of the national laws potentially applicable to it?
The Norwegian Arbitration act section 43 states that an award may be set aside if i.a. the arbitration agreement is invalid under the law to which the parties have agreed to subject it or, failing such agreement, under Norwegian law. This is in line with the UNICITRAL Model Law art. 34 (2)(a)(i).
Is there anything particular to note in your jurisdiction with regard to multi-party or multi-contract arbitration?
The Arbitration Act contains no consolidation clauses. Accordingly, the tribunal cannot consolidate separate arbitral proceedings without the parties’ consent. The Arbitration Act does not distinguish between different types of arbitration agreements. Although it is not expressly stated in the Arbitration Act, it is clear that multiparty agreements are recognised under Norwegian law (e.g. in the preparatory works to the act).
In what instances can third parties or non-signatories be bound by an arbitration agreement? Are there any recent court decisions on these issues?
A party is, in principle, only bound if he or she accepts the agreement in accordance with the rules of contract formation. A third party can be bound by an arbitration agreement if the subject matter of the agreement is transferred to such third party. Further, third parties can in some instances be bound by an arbitration agreement if they make direct claims against one of the parties to the agreement based on the agreement. In this respect, we also note that according to Norwegian rules on the binding force of judgments, arbitral awards are binding on third parties to the same extent as the third parties would have been bound by an equivalent agreement regarding the subject matter of the award.
In a decision from 2017 the Norwegian Supreme court stated that even in cases concerning a corporate group, it is normally only the company having entered into an agreement that is bound by it, but the question arises whether a subsidiary should be deemed to have entered into the arbitration agreement made by the parent company. According to the Supreme court there may be reason to determine the agreement threshold on less strict terms than in other cases where the contractual party and the third party have no contractual obligations towards each other (HR-2017-1932-A paragraphs 101 and 102).
Are any types of dispute considered non-arbitrable? Has there been any evolution in this regard in recent years?
Only disputes concerning legal relations in respect of which the parties have an unrestricted right of disposition are arbitrable. Matters like criminal offences, having a person declared incapacitated, divorce and adoption can therefore not be subject to arbitration. Matters like intellectual property, competition, securities transactions and intra-company disputes can in principle be subject to arbitration, to the extent the dispute only contains elements the parties can freely dispose of. Only the private law effects of competition law may be tried by arbitration.
There has not been any specific evolution in this regard in recent years.
The tribunal’s competence may be challenged. This also includes whether the parties are entitled to refer the dispute to arbitration – a question that the tribunal considers ex officio.
If a Norwegian court finds that the subject matter of the dispute was incapable of settlement by arbitration pursuant to Norwegian law, recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award may be refused or the award may be set aside.
Are there any recent court decisions in your country concerning the choice of law applicable to an arbitration agreement where no such law has been specified by the Parties?
Not to our knowledge.
How is the law applicable to the substance determined? Is there a specific set of choice of law rules in your country?
The arbitral tribunal shall apply such rules of law as have been chosen and agreed by the parties as applicable to the substance of the dispute. In the absence of an agreement between the parties regarding the substantive law applicable to the dispute, the arbitral tribunal shall in accordance with the Arbitration Act Section 31 apply the substantive law determined by Norwegian private international law. Norwegian private international law is influenced by the rules regarding choice of law in the European Union (i.e. the Rome Convention and Rome I Regulation), and includes also mandatory rules of law to protect, for example, employees, consumers, insured parties and trade agents from entering into unfavourable (choice of law) agreements, in addition to the ordre public rule.
Have the courts in your country applied the UNIDROIT or any other transnational principles as the substantive law? If so, in what circumstances have such principles been applied?
Norway has a dualistic system, which means that transnational rules must be incorporated into Norwegian law to be directly applicable as substantive law. However, UNIDROIT-principles of International Commercial contracts are often referred to by the parties and also applied by the court when interpreting contracts. See i.a. https://lovdata.no/pro/avgjorelse/lb-2021-26379.
In your country, are there any restrictions in the appointment of arbitrators?
Arbitrators must be impartial and independent from the parties and qualified for the task. Before undertaking the assignment, each arbitrator must inform the parties of any circumstances which may question his or her impartiality or independence. Within these requirements, the parties are free to choose and nominate arbitrators. However, the restrictions are not mandatory and can therefore be departed from in the arbitration agreement.
There are few mandatory requirements for the tribunal in the Arbitration Act. The parties are free to stipulate specific requirements for the tribunal in the arbitration agreement (e.g. imposing specific qualification requirements for the arbitrators, a different number of arbitrators or a different appointment procedure – except in relation to each party’s right to seek the ordinary courts’ help in order to nominate one or more arbitrators when the parties cannot agree).
Are there any default requirements as to the selection of a tribunal?
Unless the parties agree otherwise, the tribunal will consist of three arbitrators. Arbitrators must be impartial, independent and qualified.
The parties shall as far as possible appoint the arbitrators jointly. If the parties fail to agree on the nomination of three arbitrators, they must each nominate one arbitrator within one month of the other party’s request. The nominated arbitrators will then jointly appoint a chair. The parties may request assistance from the ordinary courts if they cannot agree on the nomination of one or more arbitrators. However, the court’s nomination cannot be appealed.
Can the local courts intervene in the selection of arbitrators? If so, how?
If the appointment of an arbitral tribunal cannot be agreed on, the parties can demand the local courts to appoint the arbitrators. The courts may also play a part if the appointment of an arbitrator is challenged (see question 20 below).
Can the appointment of an arbitrator be challenged? What are the grounds for such challenge? What is the procedure for such challenge?
The appointment of an arbitrator can be challenged, if there are circumstances that question his or her impartiality, independence or qualifications. In practice, the latter requires that the arbitration agreement has identified specific qualifications for arbitrators. However, if the arbitrator’s qualifications are evidently inadequate, the appointment can be challenged even if the parties have not agreed on specific qualification requirements. A party can only challenge an arbitrator for reasons that he or she becomes aware of after the appointment has been made.
Unless agreed otherwise, a party which challenge the appointment of an arbitrator must submit a written reasoned challenge before the tribunal within 15 days after the party became aware of the relevant circumstances. The tribunal will reach a decision on the submitted challenge unless the arbitrator withdraws from his or her assignment or the other party agrees with the challenge. The tribunal’s decision can be appealed to the ordinary courts within one month from the decision is received by the parties. The ordinary court’s decision cannot be appealed. Further, the same objection cannot be used as an invalidating factor or obstacle against recognition and enforcement of the award.
We note that any objection to jurisdiction must be raised no later than in the party’s statement of defence, which implies that the party’s participation in the appointment of arbitrators does not prevent it from making a jurisdictional objection. However, if the party’s delay is justifiable (e.g the objection was raised immediately after it became aware of the situation), the tribunal may accept the objection even though it is overdue. If an arbitrator becomes de jure or de facto unable to perform his or her functions, or for other reasons fails to act without undue delay, his or her assignment will be terminated if; he or she withdraws from the assignment; the parties agree on termination; or on the request of one of the parties, the ordinary court rules that he or she should be terminated (the court decisions cannot be appealed).
Save for any agreement to the contrary, new arbitrators will be appointed pursuant to the same appointment procedure (see question 17 and 18 above).
Have there been any recent developments concerning the duty of independence and impartiality of the arbitrators
Not to our knowledge.
Have there been any recent decisions in your concerning arbitrators’ duties of disclosure, e.g., similar to the UK Supreme Court Judgment in Halliburton v Chubb?
Not to our knowledge.
What happens in the case of a truncated tribunal? Is the tribunal able to continue with the proceedings?
Save for any agreement to the contrary, new arbitrators will be appointed pursuant to the same appointment procedure (see question 17 and 18 above).
Are arbitrators immune from liability?
No, arbitrators must perform their tasks pursuant to their appointment agreements. The agreements are subject to general contract law principles and thus, arbitrators may in principle be held liable for breach of contract. However, the threshold to impose liability is likely intent or gross negligence.
Is the principle of competence-competence recognized in your country?
Yes, the tribunal decides its own jurisdiction (e.g. whether the dispute may be referred to arbitration and objections over the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement).
Provided that the tribunal finds that it has jurisdiction before making its award, the parties may appeal the decision to the ordinary courts within one month. A jurisdiction or competence objection may be raised as grounds for setting aside the award or rejecting the enforceability of the award.
Any objection to jurisdiction must be raised no later than in the party’s statement of defence. This implies that the party’s participation in the appointment of arbitrators does not prevent it from making a jurisdictional objection. However, if the party’s delay is justifiable (e.g. the objection was raised immediately after it became aware of the situation), the tribunal may accept the objection even though it is overdue.
What is the approach of local courts towards a party commencing litigation in apparent breach of an arbitration agreement?
Arbitration agreements are enforceable in Norway. The Norwegian courts will dismiss claims or actions subject to arbitration at a party’s request, provided that the request is made before or at the latest when reviewing the merits of the claim or action. The party which asserts that the claim or action is subject to arbitration must prove the existence of the arbitration agreement.
If one of the parties claims that the arbitration agreement is void, the court has jurisdiction to decide on its validity (and the rest of the case, provided that the agreement is actually declared void). However, if arbitral proceedings are already commenced when the action is brought before an ordinary court, the court will dismiss the action, unless it is clear that the arbitration agreement is void. If the arbitral tribunal has declared that it has jurisdiction, the decision can be appealed to the ordinary courts.
How are arbitral proceedings commenced in your country? Are there any key provisions under the arbitration laws relating to limitation periods or time bars of which the parties should be aware?
This depends on the arbitration agreement. If the agreement does not govern the commencement of proceedings, the arbitration is considered commenced when the defendant is notified that the dispute will be tried by arbitration. There are no formal requirements as to the filing of a demand for the dispute to be referred to arbitration.
Under the OCC rules, however, be aware of article 5 where not paying the registration fee within the time limit has the effect that the proceedings will not be deemed to have been initiated until the date the payment was actually made.
Arbitral proceedings must be carried out as set out in the arbitration agreement and in accordance with the Arbitration Act. However, the act itself contains few specific procedural rules. Within the boundaries of the act and the arbitration agreement, the proceedings will be carried out as the tribunal deems appropriate. Arbitration in Norway tends to rely on the Dispute Act 2005, which governs civil procedure in Norway.
There are no key provisions in the Arbitration Act relating to limitation periods or time barring.
In what circumstances is it possible for a state or state entity to invoke state immunity in connection with the commencement of arbitration proceedings?
The Arbitration Act does not regulate questions related to state immunity. To what extent one party to the proceedings may rely upon state immunity must be assessed by the tribunal according to international law.
What happens when a respondent fails to participate in the arbitration? Can the local courts compel participation?
If the respondent fails to submit a defence without reasonable cause, the arbitral tribunal will continue the proceedings. Failure to submit a defence will not be deemed as an acceptance of the claimant’s claim. If the respondent does not appear at the hearing or fails to submit evidence, the tribunal may decide the case based on the facts at hand. The arbitral tribunal and local courts cannot compel the parties to cooperate.
Can third parties voluntarily join arbitration proceedings? If all parties agree to the intervention, is the tribunal bound by this agreement? If all parties do not agree to the intervention, can the tribunal allow for it?
Neither the Norwegian Arbitration Act, nor the most common arbitration rules used in Norway (OCC rules and NOMA) allow for the joinder of parties.
Can local courts order third parties to participate in arbitration proceedings in your country?
Neither the Tribunal nor the local courts can order third parties to participate in the arbitration proceedings. The arbitral tribunal or a party with the consent of the arbitral tribunal may ask the court to take testimony from parties and witnesses and take other evidence.
What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending the constitution of the tribunal?
Provided that the parties have not agreed otherwise and on the request of one of the parties, the tribunal may grant interim measures necessary due to the subject matter of the dispute (e.g. preserve evidence substantial to the case). However, interim measures decided by the arbitral tribunal are not enforceable and thus cannot be enforced by the ordinary courts.
The courts have the right to order interim measures in disputes subject to arbitration. The parties may request interim measures from the courts before or during arbitral proceedings (i.e. security attachments and preliminary injunctions), pursuant to Chapters 32 to 34 of the Norwegian Dispute Act. Interim measures decided by the courts are enforceable.
Are anti-suit and/or anti-arbitration injunctions available and enforceable in your country?
Not to our knowledge.
Are there particular rules governing evidentiary matters in arbitration? Will the local courts in your jurisdiction play any role in the obtaining of evidence? Can local courts compel witnesses to participate in arbitration proceedings?
The parties are responsible for illuminating and clarifying the factual basis upon which the case shall be determined. The principal rule is that all kinds of evidence are acceptable (witnesses, experts, documents etc). The arbitral tribunal (or the parties with the tribunal’s acceptance) can request the local court’s assistance in taking or hearing evidence. The arbitral tribunal can refuse evidence that obviously has no significance to the case, and it can limit the production of evidence if the extent of the evidence presented is in no reasonable proportion to the importance of the dispute.
In practice the examination of witnesses is dealt with in the same manner they are dealt with before the ordinary courts. The witnesses are examined and cross-examined before the tribunal. On request of a party, the tribunal may request that a party discloses certain evidence. The request by the arbitral tribunal, however, is not enforceable. The court can, by request, give assistance in taking evidence. The court’s request is, to a certain level, enforceable.
What ethical codes and other professional standards, if any, apply to counsel and arbitrators conducting proceedings in your country?
Counsel who is usually an attorney, is bound by the applicable codes of ethics for lawyers. No specific ethical codes apply to arbitrators in Norway.
In your country, are there any rules with respect to the confidentiality of arbitration proceedings?
Arbitral proceedings and awards are not subject to confidentiality, unless the parties agree otherwise.
There is no public right to be present at arbitral proceedings. A third party or the general public can only attend the arbitration proceedings when agreed between the parties.
Are there any recent decisions in your country regarding the use of evidence acquired illegally in arbitration proceedings (e.g. ‘hacked evidence’ obtained through unauthorized access to an electronic system)?
Not to our knowledge.
How are the costs of arbitration proceedings estimated and allocated?
Save for any agreement with the parties to the contrary, the arbitral tribunal determines its own remuneration. The parties are jointly liable for the tribunal’s costs. The arbitral tribunal may order a party to pay the other party’s costs to the extent it deems appropriate. The arbitral tribunal can order security for its own costs, but not for the parties’ costs.
Can pre- and post-award interest be included on the principal claim and costs incurred?
Interest will accrue according to the agreement between the parties. Otherwise, the tribunal may award interest in accordance with the law applicable to the dispute. The penalty interest rate pursuant to the Norwegian Act on Interest on late payment per 1 July 2022 is 9,25 % a year, and is subject to adjustment twice a year. Such penalty interest will apply for the principal claim when the claim is due (damages claims are due 30 days after notice requiring payment has been given) and for the costs incurred when the time limit for paying the award has expired.
What legal requirements are there in your country for the recognition and enforcement of an award? Is there a requirement that the award be reasoned, i.e. substantiated and motivated?
Arbitral awards must be made in writing and signed by all the arbitrators. It is sufficient that the majority of the arbitrators have signed the award, provided that the reason for the minority’s refusal is stated in the award. It must state the time and place of the award.
Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the award must also state:
The reasons on which it is based;
Whether it is unanimous and,
If it is not, which of the arbitrators that are dissenting and on what grounds.
Further, a signed duplicate of the award must be sent to the district court to be kept in its records.
Both Norwegian and foreign arbitral awards are considered enforceable in Norway. The enforcement request must be sent to the local enforcement authorities or the local district court, depending on whether the award is Norwegian or foreign.
The recognition or enforcement of an arbitral award may be refused if:
one of the parties to the arbitration agreement lacks legal capacity, or the arbitration agreement is invalid under the laws agreed by the parties or, failing such agreement, under the law of the jurisdiction in which the arbitral award was made;
the party against which the arbitral award is being invoked was not given sufficient notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or the arbitration, or was not given an opportunity to present its case;
the arbitral award falls outside the scope of the tribunal’s jurisdiction;
the composition of the arbitral tribunal was incorrect;
the arbitral procedure was contrary to the law of the place of arbitration or the parties’ agreement, and it is obvious that this may have affected the decision; or
the arbitral award is not yet binding on the parties or it has been set aside (permanently or temporarily) by a court at the place of arbitration or by a court in the jurisdiction of the law which has been applied to the dispute.
The courts will ex officio refuse recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award if:
the dispute cannot be determined by arbitration under Norwegian law; or
recognition or enforcement of the arbitral award would be contrary to public policy (ordre public).
If the reason for refusing recognition or enforcement affects only part of the award, only that part will be refused.
What is the estimated timeframe for the recognition and enforcement of an award? May a party bring a motion for the recognition and enforcement of an award on an ex parte basis?
The estimated timeframe for the recognition of an award can be a few weeks, however, substantive objections to the validity of the award may delay the process. The timeframe for enforcement can be similar, but the enforcement procedure may vary depending on what kind of asset the enforcement is related to. Foreclosure sales related to real property will take longer time. Normally, we estimate 2-3 months from the request is sent to the court until security is established in the defendant’s assets.
Does the arbitration law of your country provide a different standard of review for recognition and enforcement of a foreign award compared with a domestic award?
No, the same standard apply to a foreign award and a domestic award.
Does the law impose limits on the available remedies? Are some remedies not enforceable by the local courts
No, but the award may be unenforceable in certain instances.
Can arbitration awards be appealed or challenged in local courts? What are the grounds and procedure?
Mistakes in computation or any clerical or typographical errors may be corrected by the tribunal ex officio within one month of the issue of the award. The tribunal will hear the parties before making a correction, usually a written proceeding. If the tribunal finds that the request is justified, it must make the correction within one month of the receipt of the request.
Save for any deviating agreement between the parties, the tribunal may also make an additional award on claims brought before it under the arbitral proceedings which should have been included in the original award. Any additional awards must be requested by one of the parties within one month of the receipt of the original award. The additional award must be made within two months of receipt of the request.
An arbitral award cannot be appealed unless agreed by the parties. However, awards may be set aside by a nullity procedure before the ordinary courts if:
one of the parties to the arbitration agreement lacks legal capacity, or the agreement is invalid under the laws to which the parties have agreed or, failing such agreement, under Norwegian law;
the party bringing the action for setting aside the award was not given sufficient notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the arbitration, or was not given an opportunity to present its case;
the arbitral award falls outside the scope of the arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction;
the composition of the arbitral tribunal was incorrect; or the arbitral procedure was contrary to law or the parties’ agreement and it is obvious that this may have affected the decision.
When the issue of an arbitral award’s validity is brought before the courts, the court will set aside the award if:
the dispute was not capable of being determined by arbitration under Norwegian law;
or enforcement or recognition of the arbitral award is contrary to public policy.
If the grounds for invalidity affect only part of the award, only that part will be considered invalid.
The nullity procedure, by way of issuing a writ before the ordinary courts, must be initiated within three months of receipt of the award. However, if the tribunal corrects mistakes in the award, makes an additional award or handles any request for any corrections or additional awards, the deadline for initiating a nullity procedure before the courts is three months of receipt of the decision.
If the court finds grounds to set aside the award it may, at the request of a party, adjourn the action for setting aside the award and refer the case back to the tribunal for further processing and a new decision if the court finds that this may result in the reversal of the grounds for setting aside the award. Setting aside an arbitral award implies that the arbitration agreement again becomes effective, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or implied in the judgment.
Can the parties waive any rights of appeal or challenge to an award by agreement before the dispute arises (such as in the arbitration clause)?
To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?
In principle, enforcement cannot be carried out against assets owned by a state, except if the assets are related to the state’s regular commercial business.
In what instances can third parties or non-signatories be bound by an award? To what extent might a third party challenge the recognition of an award?
According to Norwegian rules on the binding force of judgments, arbitral awards are binding on third parties to the same extent as the third parties would have been bound by an equivalent agreement regarding the subject matter of the award.
The Arbitration Act has no specific regulation regarding to what extent a third party may challenge the recognition of an award.
Have there been any recent court decisions in your jurisdiction considering third party funding in connection with arbitration proceedings?
No, we are not aware of third party funding having been raised as an issue in Norwegian arbitration proceedings recently. However, third party funding is a hot topic in Norway in general – irrespective of the dispute being subject to arbitration or not.
Is emergency arbitrator relief available in your country? Are decisions made by emergency arbitrators readily enforceable?
This is not available under the Arbitration Act, and thus it will depend on the arbitration agreement. It is not commonly used in Norway.
Are there arbitral laws or arbitration institutional rules in your country providing for simplified or expedited procedures for claims under a certain value? Are they often used?
The Arbitration Act has no special regulations for small claims. The rules of Oslo Chamber of Commerce offers a simplified, fast track procedure. This procedure is not related to claims under a certain value. The precondition for the simplified fast track-procedure is that the parties agree to it. In addition to this, NOMA (Nordic Offshore and Maritime Arbitration Association) also provides a fast track procedure. These rules applies when the claim does not exceed USD 250 000 and/or the parties have agreed to it. This fast track procedure was introduced in 2021, and it is therefore unknown how often they will be used.
Is diversity in the choice of arbitrators and counsel (e.g. gender, age, origin) actively promoted in your country? If so, how?
There is a growing recognition in the Norwegian arbitration community that one should seek more diversity. Although the focus on diversity in arbitration is still at an early stage, this is visible in several ways. For example, the topic is discussed at seminars in the field, and some law firms have signed the “arbitration pledge” which was created in 2015. The pledge seeks to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators.
Have there been any recent court decisions in your country considering the setting aside of an award that has been enforced in another jurisdiction or vice versa?
Not to our knowledge.
Have there been any recent court decisions in your country considering the issue of corruption? What standard do local courts apply for proving of corruption? Which party bears the burden of proving corruption?
Not to our knowledge.
Have there been any recent court decisions in your country considering the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Slovak Republic v Achmea BV (Case C-284/16), Republic of Moldava v Komstroy LLC (Case C-741/19) and Republiken Polen v PL Holdings Sarl (Case C-109/20) with respect to intra-European investor-state arbitration? Are there any pending decisions?
Not to our knowledge.
Have there are been any recent decisions in your country considering the General Court of the European Union’s decision Micula & Ors (Joined Cases T-624/15, T-694/15 and T-694.15), ECLI:EU:T:2019:423, dated 18 June 2019? Are there any pending decisions?
Not to our knowledge.
What measures, if any, have arbitral institutions in your country taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
To our knowledge, the arbitral institutions have not implemented any further or specific measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rules have been scrutinized to ensure that they do not in any way hinder digitalization of the proceedings. Furthermore, digitalization of the proceedings have been a hot topic during the pandemic, especially when one of the parties do not consent to such digital proceedings. The recommendation has been that in order to avoid subsequent annulment actions and problems in connection with enforcement, the arbitration proceedings should only be digitalized where both parties agree to such setup.
Have arbitral institutions in your country implemented reforms towards greater use of technology and a more cost-effective conduct of arbitrations? Have there been any recent developments regarding virtual hearings?
The arbitral institutions have not implemented any reforms, but the applicable rules have been scrutinized to ensure that they do not in any way hinder digitalization of the proceedings. We would assume that virtual hearings/digital proceedings were used in a greater extent during the pandemic, especially when both parties consented to such virtual hearings. However, there is still an ongoing discussion as to whether the arbitrators can decide to have the hearings virtual, even though one of the parties do not consent to such digital proceedings. The recommendation has been that in order to avoid subsequent annulment actions and problems in connection with enforcement, the arbitration proceedings should only be digitalized where both parties agree such setup.
In your country, does the insolvency of a party affect the enforceability of an arbitration agreement?
The insolvency does not affect the validity of the arbitration agreement as such. However, if insolvency proceedings are initiated for one of the parties this may have an impact on who can represent the insolvent party (the bankruptcy estate with the trustee instead of the bankrupt debtor himself). This may further have an impact on how much coverage of the claim that can be achieved from the insolvent party.
Is your country a Contracting Party to the Energy Charter Treaty? If so, has it expressed any specific views as to the current negotiations on the modernization of the Treaty?
Norway has signed the Energy Charter Treaty in 2015, but the Treaty is not ratified by Norway. The dispute resolution mechanism in the Energy Charter Treaty has been considered to be contrary to the Norwegian Constitution.
Have there been any recent developments in your jurisdiction with regard to disputes on climate change and/or human rights?
Cases concerning human rights are regularly heard in the ordinary courts of law.
As for climate actions, the Supreme court ruled on a case in December 2020 related to the continued search for petroleum in the Barent’s sea north of Norway. The action, which was brought by climate organizations, was unsuccessful.
Has your country expressed any specific views concerning the work of the UNCITRAL Working Group III on the future of ISDS?
Has your country implemented a sanctions regime (either independently, or based on EU law) with regard to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine? Does it provide carve-outs under certain circumstances (i.e., providing legal services, sitting as an arbitrator, enforcement of an award)?
Yes. As a reaction to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Norway has implemented a sanctions regime. The sanctions are based on and is in accordance with the sanctions introduced by the EU. New sanctions are consecutively implemented in Norwegian law.
The regulation that implements the sanctions regime in Norwegian Law provides some exceptions that are relevant in this context. For example, it can be allowed to participate in transactions related to enforcement of an arbitration award if certain conditions are met.
Do the courts in your jurisdiction consider international economic sanctions as part of their international public policy? Have there been any recent decisions in your country considering the impact of sanctions on international arbitration proceedings?
Not to our knowledge.
Have arbitral institutions in your country taken any specific measures to administer arbitration proceedings involving sanctioned individuals/entities? Do their rules address the issue of sanctions?