Comparative Guides

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4. Results: Answers
International Arbitration
Legal framework
What is the relevant legislation on arbitration in your jurisdiction? Are there any significant limitations on the scope of the statutory regime – for example, does it govern oral arbitration agreements?

Answer ... Arbitration in Sweden is governed by the Arbitration Act of 1999 (SFS 1999:116). The Arbitration Act governs all arbitrations seated in Sweden and applies equally to domestic and international disputes. The Arbitration Act does not prescribe any particular form for the arbitration agreement. The requirement is that the parties make clear in some way that arbitration has been chosen as the procedure for resolving disputes (eg, by stating that disputes shall be decided in accordance with the Arbitration Act). It is hence theoretically possible to conclude a binding arbitration agreement orally or through conduct. However, in practice, arbitration agreements are concluded in writing.

Any matters on which the parties may reach a settlement is considered arbitrable (see question 8). As further described under question 8, an arbitration clause may be set aside pursuant to Section 36 of the Swedish Contracts Act (SFS 1915:218) if it is considered unreasonable.

The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) is one of the world’s leading arbitration institutes and is frequently used for the resolution of national and international disputes. Arbitration proceedings may be administered by the SCC if the parties have agreed that the dispute shall be resolved by arbitration under the SCC Rules, either as part of the arbitration clause or later once a dispute has arisen. As an alternative to the ordinary proceedings pursuant to the SCC Rules, the arbitration clause may refer to the SCC Rules for Expedited Arbitration.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
Does this legislation differentiate between domestic arbitration and international arbitration? If so, how is each defined?

Answer ... The legal rules governing arbitration in Sweden are the same for domestic and international arbitration, but some additional rules apply to international arbitration. Domestic and international arbitration are not defined, but the Arbitration Act states that it also applies to disputes with “an international connection”. As examples, an international connection might involve the following:

  • One or both of the parties are domiciled abroad, or were so when the arbitration agreement was made; or
  • The dispute has arisen because of activities abroad.

While there is no special law for cases where one or both parties are domiciled abroad, the Arbitration Act includes a number of rules that apply only to international disputes. One such rule states that the law governing the arbitration agreement shall be Swedish law, unless the parties have clearly and specifically agreed on some other law to govern the agreement. Another rule that applies only to international arbitrations gives parties in a commercial relationship which have no domicile or place of business in Sweden the right to exclude or limit the applicability of the grounds for setting aside an award.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
Is the arbitration legislation in your jurisdiction based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration?

Answer ... The Arbitration Act is not based on the UNCITRAL Model Law and does not correspond to it in form. However, in substance, the Arbitration Act is very close to the UNCITRAL Model Law.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
Are all provisions of the legislation in your jurisdiction mandatory?

Answer ... Some provisions of the Arbitration Act are mandatory, while most are non-mandatory and the parties can, under the principle of party autonomy, agree on the procedure to be followed. The Arbitration Act is not based on any presumption that the rules are mandatory, unless it is expressly indicated that the parties are entitled to make an agreement which overrides the rule. Several sections in the Arbitration Act provide for derogation by agreement between the parties. However, it cannot be inferred from this, e contrario, that other provisions are peremptory. The parties do not have the right to exclude or restrict the applicability of the rules of invalid awards under Section 33. Certain sections of the Arbitration Act guarantee the parties’ basic procedural safeguards and provisions of this kind cannot always be changed by agreement between the parties. In some cases, such agreement can be accepted if it does not excessively limit the legal protection which the rule is intended to provide. The parties may not agree on a procedure which is contrary to public policy, due process or natural justice. Swedish parties are further not entitled to enter into exclusive agreements – that is, agreements where they exclude in advance the application of the rules of challenge. Neither can the parties conclude a binding agreement that the arbitration award need not be in writing or signed by the arbitrators.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
Are there any current plans to amend the arbitration legislation in your jurisdiction?

Answer ... The Arbitration Act is undergoing legislative revisions and a proposal in the form of a government bill has been drafted to the Swedish Parliament for decision.. The proposed changes of the legislation include the following:

  • that the arbitral tribunal’s decision regarding its jurisdiction, where the tribunal finds that it has jurisdiction, may be appealed directly to the court of appeal and may no longer be challenged in the district court;
  • measures to improve the procedure for challenging awards, such as that all challenge proceedings will be handled by the court of appeal, and that English may be used if the involved parties so agree;
  • that it be possible to consolidate multiple proceedings between two parties in certain circumstances; and
  • new provisions regarding applicable substantive law on the matters of dispute.

The new legislation is proposed to enter into force on 1 March 2019.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
Is your jurisdiction a signatory to the New York Convention? If so, have any reservations been made?

Answer ... Sweden is a party to and has ratified the New York Convention without any declarations or reservations.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
Is your jurisdiction a signatory to any other treaties relevant to arbitration?

Answer ... Sweden is also a party to the Washington Convention, the Geneva Protocol of 1923 and the Geneva Convention of 1927.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sandra Kaznova from Hammarskiold & Co
International Arbitration