Litigation, Arbitration

Dispute resolution is one of VISCHER's core competences. We find the appropriate solution for your needs, be it through mediation and negotiation to find an amicable settlement, or by means of litigation or arbitration.

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Why does VISCHER focus on Dispute Resolution?

«Switzerland has traditionally welcomed foreign parties to find sound and practical Solutions to their commercial disputes before its Courts and Arbitral Tribunals – a fact unlikely to change. That is why litigation and arbitration are core practices for law firms that aspire to be among the most successful of the peers» (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Vischer, President of the commission of experts who drafted the Swiss Statute on Private International Law, which includes the Swiss Arbitration Act).

Our strategies for your success. VISCHER finds the appropriate solution for its client’s business conflict, be it through mediation and negotiation to find an amicable settlement or, if necessary, by means of litigation or arbitration. We at VISCHER believe that international arbitration is an ideal process to solve conflicts when commercial disputes arise between parties from different regions of the world. Alternatively, we trust the Swiss judicial system, which renders decisions on a sophisticated level and in due course. Consequently, Dispute Resolution is a main focus of our legal practice and our goal is to strive for excellence whether we represent our clients before arbitral tribunals or Swiss courts. Winning.

Why Dispute Resolution in Switzerland?

It is who you trust. Parties from around the world seek “Swissness”, which has become a synonym for precision and quality, efficiency, political neutrality, economic stability, and an impeccable infrastructure. The Swiss Service industry is renowned.

It has been done for a long time. International arbitrations were conducted in Switzerland when other countries considered alternative dispute resolution to be illegal. Switzerland is arbitration-friendly.

Any dispute involving an economic interest can be arbitrated, regardless of what foreign laws dictate. Further, Swiss courts hear most disputes involving foreign parties and rarely apply “forum non conveniens” defenses. Switzerland has a modern, widely tested arbitration law and recently adopted revised arbi-tration rules (2012). Local courts do not interfere. The parties’ will count.

Swiss courts are known for speedy and efficient resolution of disputes and a thorough application of the law. There are a number of specialized commercial courts, e.g. Zurich, Bern, Aarau, and St. Gallen. In addition, there are courts specialized to adjudicate labor or lease disputes. Some courts in Switzerland even deliberate in different languages at the same time.

Zurich and Geneva are Dispute Resolution venues of significant importance like London, Paris, New York, and Singapore. Switzerland is an ideal dispute resolution venue for solving economic disputes – it is international, modern and neutral.

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VISCHER combines elements of a successful, long-standing legal tradition with the new generation in our practice.

We have the experience. We represent private and state-owned parties before any arbitral tribunal or before state courts and we serve as arbitrators. We have an expertise in attaching assets In addition, VISCHER has a special focus on labor and bankruptcy procedures.

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Your business is our business. Clients respond to a worldwide and complex economic environment. New trends emerge quickly and a successful business has to adapt to always changing markets and new technologies with little time to react. In this environment, a speedy and satisfactory resolution of conflicts has a high priority because resources in time and costs are limited. New business opportunities are waiting, conflicts must be brought to a solution.

We answer our client's needs promptly by responding to the client's way of doing business. We work with clients jointly to solve problems.


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Some of our recent cases involve the following industries, such as Financial Services and Banking, Insurance and Reinsurance, Pharmaceuticals, Aviation and Transportation, construction, Commodities, and the like:

Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, and Reinsurance

  • Represented a pension fund against a group of banks in a litigation before the Commercial Court of Bern. The dispute concerned the role of banks and other banking groups that were connected in a joint venture with an independent pension fund. The fund was managing monies in excess of USD 2-3 billion. Specifically, the pension fund was planning to exit the contractual framework which was concluded between the pension fund, other pension funds, and a number of Swiss regional banks with respect to the handling, investment, and management of the managed funds. In addition, the matter related to bank guarantees in the amount of a few hundred million which were issued by the group of banks to secure the pension funds’ investments. VISCHER successfully obtained a preliminary ex parte injunction which ordered the banks not to merge among certain group companies. Thereafter, the injunction was lifted and the parties reached a settlement in late 2011.
  • The client and a company of a group of banks entered into a participation rights agreement. It intended to move its corporate seat from Basel, Switzerland, to Malaysia. In this context, the other side claimed that the client was to provide securities for the value of participation rights. It filed a claim in the court of Basel. VISCHER advised the client in moving the corporate seat to Malaysia and represents it in the dispute.
  • Representing a pension fund against a leading Swiss life insurance company in a multi-million dispute on the restitution of pension fund monies upon the expiry of a contractual relationship. VISCHER represented the client in an attempt to obtain monies under and following the termination of a certain reinsurance agreement.
  • Representing a leading bank in a dispute against the heirs of a former account holder regarding alleged breaches of the bank’s duty.

Real Estate

  • Acting as counsel for Respondents. Claimant exercised a put-option alleging that Respondents had violated post-closing obligations. Claimant submitted that it was, therefore, entitled to require Respondents to purchase shares in a (former) Swiss bank against payment of CHF 3 million. Respondents contested Claimant’s right to exercise the put-option based on various contracts.
  • Representing an estate against the tenant of a building in the center of the city of Zurich. The client sought to evict the tenant. The client fully won before the district court of Zurich, the court of appeal, and the Swiss Federal Court.


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Airlines and Transportation

  • Representing the client in a dispute against a foreign State regarding the payment of damages under supply contract which had to be terminated due to default in ICC arbitration. The seat of the arbitral tribunal is Geneva.
  • Acting as defendant’s counsel in a dispute against a major German bank on concurrent security interests in a jet aircraft. The aircraft is mortgaged in favour of the bank. The client performed costly services on the aircraft that were not fully paid by the owner, and, subsequently, both exercised a right of retention (mechanic’s lien) and obtained an attachment of the aircraft.
  • Representing a leading aircraft completions centre in a multi-million dollar dispute against a customer arising out of an aborted completion project. VISCHER coordinated the world-wide litigation and led the main proceedings taking place in Switzerland and including numerous injunction proceedings, a claim for payment, and a counterclaim for specific performance.
  • Representing a European State against the estates of SAirGroup and SAir-Lines in two separate bankruptcy proceedings. The actions contesting the schedule of claims in the amount of over CHF 750 million each were litigated before the Zurich District Court in accelerated proceedings under applicable Swiss bankruptcy laws. The disputes encompass, in addition to breach of contract and tort issues under the laws of the foreign state, complex issues relating to pending foreign civil proceedings and their effects on Swiss bankruptcy proceedings under the Lugano Convention.

Construction and Natural Resources

  • Enforcing a EUR multi-million arbitration award against a former buyer of natural resources. The ICC arbitration ended in a favourable award. The award had to be enforced against the buyer in Switzerland.
  • The client was involved in a litigation matter in California. It delivered equipment to a Swiss small airplane manufacturer. The airplane crashed in the U.S. causing casualties. VISCHER represented the client in this matter in the U.S. together with U.S. counsel.

Technology, Media and Telecom

  • Enforcement of a favourable ICC award against the client’s former contractual partner. The claims are related to telecom services. The client won the main claim full.


  • Successfully defended a major auditing company in a professional negligence dispute before Swiss State courts. Claimant alleged a breach of statutory duties within the framework of a re-valuation of assets and the audit of the opening balance sheet in the wider context of a restructuring. The court fully rebutted all of claimant's allegations and, by consequence, dismissed the claim.


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Phone +41 58 211 34 00

Aeschenvorstadt 4, Postfach, 4010 Basel
Phone +41 58 211 33 00

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