1 October 2021

Arbitration in Switzerland

In this part 2 of our blog series on dispute resolution in Switzerland, we focus on arbitration. Switzerland has a long tradition as a venue for international arbitration. In fact, the very first arbitration ever was seated in Switzerland, so arbitration is, so to speak, a Swiss invention. For over two hundred years, Switzerland has been one of the most important venues worldwide for international arbitrations.

Arbitration in Switzerland can take place in all kinds of languages, under any applicable law, and under different sets of rules of arbitration. The key advantages remain the same:

  • The legal and economic environment is extremely stable, so outcomes are predictable and an unbiased process is safeguarded;
  • Arbitrability is broader than in most jurisdiction, which means that virtually any dispute with a financial interest can be resolved via arbitration;
  • The legal community offers highly dedicated, learned, and multilingual professionals with a profound knowledge of international trade and commerce, both as counsel and arbitrators;
  • Arbitral proceedings are even more confidential than proceedings before state courts;
  • An efficient court system supports the parties, and also the arbitral tribunal, in case of need (e.g., by providing injunctive relief or appointing a chairperson of the tribunal);
  • The grounds to appeal an award are very narrow, so the appeal process is limited to – statistically extremely exceptional – instances where the award is defective or the process that led to it was faulty;
  • The appeal process is extremely fast (the average duration is six months);
  • In international cases where neither of the parties has its domicile in Switzerland, they can even altogether exclude the possibility of an appeal, which streamlines the process and makes it even more cost-efficient;
  • Awards are enforceable all over the globe due to their high quality as well as Switzerland's accession to the New York Convention.

As of 1 June 2021, the Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution (SCAI) has changed its legal form and was renamed to Swiss Arbitration Centre. At the same time, the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration were revised. The new rules are cutting-edge. They, in particular, provide for a more active role of the court and the secretariat, contain improved provisions dealing with multi-contract and multi-party arbitrations, and implement changes reflecting technological developments (remote hearings etc.).

Switzerland offers thus world-class dispute resolution via arbitration. Choosing Swiss-seated arbitration, whether or not in combination with Swiss substantive law as the governing law, is therefore a wise choice for contractual parties.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Categories: China Desk, Litigation and Arbitration

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