On July 3rd, 2018 Uruguay sanctioned its first specific law on international commercial arbitrage, when the House of Representatives passed the Law of International Commercial Arbitrage (that is yet to be published in the Official Journal), following the previous approval by the Senate on May 16th.

The main precedent is the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitrage of the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law.

The new law, which has 41 articles, is organized into 9 chapters as follows:

I) General Provisions
II) The Arbitrage Agreement
III) The Composition of the Arbitral Tribunal
IV) The Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal
V) The Substantiation of Arbitrage Proceedings
VI) The Pronouncement of the Award and Termination of the Actions
VII) The Costs of Arbitrage
VIII) The Impugnation of the Award
IX) The Recognition and Execution of the Awards

Article 1 establishes that the law applies in cases of international commercial arbitrage, in the absence of multilateral or bilateral treaties in force in the Republic. Likewise, it shall be understood that the arbitrage is "international" if: a) the parties to an arbitrage agreement have, at the time the agreement is concluded, their establishments in different States, or b) the place of compliance with a substantial part of the obligations of the commercial relationship or the place with which the subject of the litigation has a closer relationship is located outside the State in which the parties have their establishment. It should be mentioned that the sole will of the parties cannot determine the international nature of the arbitrage.

Article 7 defines the "arbitrage agreement" as an agreement by which the parties decide to submit to arbitrage all or certain disputes that have arisen or may arise between them with respect to a certain legal, contractual or non-contractual relationship.

Article 19 provides that the parties shall be free to agree on the procedure to be followed by the court of arbitration. In the absence of agreement, the court of arbitration may, subject to the provisions of the law, direct the arbitrage in the manner it deems appropriate, including the power to determine the admissibility, relevance and value of the evidence.

Regarding the rules applicable to the merits of the matter, article 28 establishes that the arbitral tribunal will decide the litigation in accordance with the rules of law chosen by the parties as applicable to the case. If the parties do not indicate the applicable law, it will be chosen by the court of arbitration according to the criteria it deems appropriate. The court of arbitration shall decide ex aequo et bono or as a friendly compounder only if the parties expressly authorize it. In all cases, the court of arbitration will decide in accordance with the stipulations of the contract and will consider the uses of international trade applicable to the case.

Finally, article 40 provides that the arbitral award, whatever the country in which it was issued, will be recognized as binding in the Republic and, upon presentation of a written request to the competent court, will be executed.

Montevideo, July 2018