Journal of International Arbitration

Volume 35 (2018)

Volume 35 (2018) / Issue 2

Johannes Koepp, Agnieszka Ason, 'An Anti-Enforcement Bias? The Application of the Substantive Public Policy Exception in Polish Annulment Proceedings' (2018) 35 Journal of International Arbitration, Issue 2, pp. 157–171


This article examines how Polish courts have dealt with annulment applications based upon purported violations of substantive public policy and measures the Polish jurisprudence against the standards developed by the national courts in England, France, Switzerland and Germany. It identifies an anti-enforcement bias of the Polish courts which, in sharp contrast to their European counterparts, still favour an expansive interpretation of the public policy exception and have surprisingly little qualms in engaging in a thinly veiled merits review with unclear boundaries. The markedly interventionist approach of the Polish judiciary encourages annulment applications, which both ill-serves the arbitral process generally and undermines recent efforts to promote Poland as a desirable seat for international arbitration specifically.


A solution to these ills can only be found in a narrower interpretation of the substantive public policy exception, in harmony with the standards developed by the national courts in the major European arbitration centres.

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ISSN: 0255-8106
ID: JOIA2018009