Most Read Contributor in Switzerland, February 2017
In a decision rendered on January 24, 2017, the Swiss Federal
Criminal Court in Bellinzona ruled that an accused party may
personally participate in cases where the Swiss Federal Attorneys
Office ("Office") takes evidence abroad via the means of
international criminal assistance procedures.
In the present case, the Office had filed in July 2015 and
February 2016 a request with criminal investigators in Brazil to
interrogate certain individuals in that country. In line with a
long-standing practice, the accused party was allowed to file vis
à vis the Office a questionnaire whereby the Office would
pose the accused person's respective questions and later give
the accused person access to the interrogation protocols. Legal
commentators in Switzerland had critized this obvious limited
participation rights for quite some time.
The Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona now shared these
concerns by extending the accused person's participiation
rights to include the right to personally attend the evidence
taking abroad or to send at least its legal representatives to the
foreign place of evidence taking.
The Office had argued that the accused person was represented by
its Brazilian attorneys so that there was no need for duplicated
legal respresentation in Brazil. The Swiss Federal Criminal Court
refused this argument by saying that only Swiss legal
representatives were suited to focus in the interrogations on the
Swiss aspects of the criminal proceedings.
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On 26 October 2016, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in Kazakhstan Kagazy Plc & 6 others v (1) Baglan Abdullayevich Zhunus (2) Maksat Askaruly Arip (3) Shynar Dikhanbayeva  EWCA Civ 1036.
With high cost and inefficiency top of the list of party concerns about the arbitral process, institutions, arbitrators, practitioners and indeed legislators are keen to find ways to address those concerns.
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