Enforcing arbitral awards in Germany
Produced in partnership with Dr. Evgenia Peiffer and Dr. Tom Christopher Pröstler of CMS
Enforcing arbitral awards in Germany

The following Arbitration practice note produced in partnership with Dr. Evgenia Peiffer and Dr. Tom Christopher Pröstler of CMS provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enforcing arbitral awards in Germany
  • Introduction to enforcement under German arbitration law
  • Recognition and enforcement of foreign awards
  • Admissible application
  • Grounds for refusal of recognition and enforcement
  • Recognition and enforcement of domestic awards
  • Competent court and application process
  • Awards recognised and enforced in another jurisdiction
  • Execution

This Practice Note considers the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in Germany.

Note: all German judgments referred to in this Practice Note are not reported by LexisNexis® UK.

Introduction to enforcement under German arbitration law

Germany is a traditionally arbitration-friendly jurisdiction. The German law on arbitration is set out in Book 10 (ss 1025–1066) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO). It is closely modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Arbitration (the Model Law) and governs both domestic and foreign arbitrations, with only limited differences between the two.

Under German law, as in most jurisdictions, the enforcement of arbitral awards is a two-stage process. First, the award must be recognised and declared enforceable by the competent state court, which thereby vests in the award the same effect as a state court judgment would have vis-à-vis the parties. This procedure is governed by the law on arbitration. Second, if not complied with voluntarily, the award must be enforced in the same way as a state court judgment (for clarity this procedure will be referred to by the synonymous term ‘execution’). The execution is governed by the general provisions for the enforcement of judgments, in particular ZPO, Book 8 (ss 704–959).

Formally, the German law on arbitration differentiates between the enforcement of domestic and foreign awards. It follows from ZPO, s 1025, that domestic awards are

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