Answer ... The main rule is that the principles of contract law indicate the way in which the parties come to be bound by an arbitration agreement. As stated in question 1, the Arbitration Act does not prescribe any particular form for an arbitration agreement to be valid. There are no formal requirements under Swedish law (eg, written form), but there is precedent for finding that an arbitration agreement exists only if it is clear that the parties have agreed on arbitration and not on any other kind of dispute resolution.
The Swedish courts are generally very arbitration friendly and tend to be reluctant not to enforce an arbitration agreement. When deciding whether a dispute is covered by an arbitration agreement, the court will construe the arbitration agreement following ordinary rules applicable to contract interpretation, assessing, among other things:
- the parties’ intentions;
- the literal meaning of the arbitration agreement; and
- other related circumstances.
Arbitration agreements are also subject to the ordinary principles of contract law regarding invalidity due, for example, to duress or incapacity to contract.
Answer ... Yes – the doctrine of separability is codified in Section 3 of the Arbitration Act, which states that: “Where the validity of an arbitration agreement which constitutes part of another agreement must be determined in conjunction with a determination of the jurisdiction of the arbitrators, the arbitration agreement shall be deemed to constitute a separate agreement.”
Answer ... If the parties have not determined the seat of arbitration, the arbitrators shall determine this. The arbitrators may hold hearings and other meetings elsewhere in Sweden or abroad, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
There are no provisions regarding the language of the arbitration in the Arbitration Act and thus the parties are free to agree which language to apply. However, if the parties have not agreed on the language of the proceedings, the arbitrators shall determine this, further to their obligation to handle the dispute in an impartial, practical and speedy manner. The starting point is that an arbitration in Sweden shall be held in Swedish. Another language may be used if there are particular reasons for this – for example, if the parties have always used another language or are not themselves Swedish.