A Belgian concession holder had signed an exclusive distributorship agreement with a Swedish company, which contained an arbitration clause and provided for the application of Swedish law. After the termination of the distributorship agreement by the Swedish company, the Belgian distributor claims before the Belgian court an equitable compensation and additional compensatory damages on the basis of the provisions of the Belgian Code of Economic Law.
Article X.39 of the Code of Economic Law does not prevent that the court must first decide on the plea for lack of jurisdiction raised by the respondent.
The court considers that the dispute between the parties is of a pecuniary nature because it concerns a claim for damages with a pecuniary value. The legislator has thus excluded the restriction concerning provisions of public policy if the dispute concerns “a matter with a pecuniary nature”. The case law of the Court of Cassation to which the concession holder refers dates back from before the reform of the arbitration law and does therefore not appear adequate in the present matter. The court has no jurisdiction because of the arbitration clause provided in the contract.b-Arbitra | Belgian Review of Arbitration