On 1 June 2021, the revised Swiss Rules of International Arbitration (Swiss Rules) will enter into force and generally apply to all arbitrations in which the Notice of Arbitration is filed on or after that date. Read this article to find out about the key changes.
The Swiss Arbitration Centre
The Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution (SCAI) will be renamed to Swiss Arbitration Centre Ltd. (Swiss Arbitration Centre) and transformed into a Swiss stock corporation with the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) as majority shareholder. Arbitration agreements which refer to SCAI or the Chambers of Commerce will continue to be valid and binding and will be recognized and applied by the Swiss Arbitration Centre as the legal successor of SCAI.
Notice of Arbitration
Under the new rules, Claimant will be able to submit the Notice of Arbitration electronically. Unless the Secretariat or Claimant requests otherwise, no hard copies of the Notice of Arbitration will be required. This also applies to the Answer to the Notice of Arbitration.
Cross-claims, Joinder, Intervention
The revised Swiss Rules contain new provisions regarding cross-claims, joinder of parties and the intervention of parties. A Party asserting a cross-claim, requesting a joinder or an intervention may submit a notice of claim. After the constitution of the arbitral tribunal and hearing of all parties, the tribunal will decide on the admissibility of the cross-claims, request for joinder or request for intervention.
The possibility to submit a request to consolidate arbitration proceedings is now expressly provided for in the revised Swiss Rules. Proceedings shall be consolidated into the arbitration commenced first, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or decided by the Court.
Appointment of Arbitrators
If the parties have not agreed upon a procedure for the constitution of the arbitral tribunal in multi-party proceedings, the revised Swiss Rules provide that the Court shall set a reasonable time limit to designate an arbitrator. This will allow for a swift appointment of the arbitral tribunal in multi-party proceedings.
Independence, Impartiality and Disclosures of Arbitrators
Under the revised Swiss Rules each arbitrator has the duty to promptly disclose to the Secretariat and to the parties any circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to their impartiality or independence arising in the course of the proceedings (see our post on recent case law in this regard).
Appointment of New Representative
Proof of authority of a representative of a party may be requested at any time and the arbitral tribunal may oppose the appointment of a new representative where this would jeopardize the impartiality or independence of the arbitral tribunal.
Organization and Conduct of the Proceedings
The arbitral tribunal will hold an initial case management conference with the parties to discuss the organization of the arbitration proceedings and issues of data protection and cybersecurity. Further organizational conferences may be held throughout the proceedings if deemed appropriate. Moreover, the parties may agree to resolve the dispute by mediation at any time during the arbitration proceedings. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the arbitration proceedings will be stayed during that period.
Hearings for the presentation of evidence by witnesses or experts at any stage of the proceedings may be held in person or remotely by videoconference or other appropriate means, as decided by the arbitral tribunal after consulting with the parties.
The originals of the award signed by the arbitrators will be served on the parties provided that the fees and (travel) expenses of the arbitral tribunal, the costs of expert advice and of other assistance, the registration fee and the administrative costs have been paid in full.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.