and Katherine Bell, Schellenberg Wittmer In decision 4A_554/2014 dated 15 April 2015, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court considered an application to set aside an award on the ground of violation of the right to be heard where the sole arbitrator had based her award on a legal concept that had not been explicitly pleaded by…

and Katherine Bell, Schellenberg Wittmer In 2014, the Swiss Supreme Court rendered 32 decisions on petitions to set aside international arbitral awards. Consistent with a traditionally low success rate, the Supreme Court granted only 4 of the 32 petitions. One of these four petitions was considered in a French-language decision dated 7 April 2014 (Decision…

co-authored by Georg von Segesser and Mirina Grosz, Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd. In a recent decision, the Swiss Federal Tribunal rejected an appeal to set aside a final award of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) (Decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal (“DFT”) of 11 June 2014, 4A_178/2014). The appellant, a professional cyclist who faced…

By Georg von Segesser / Elisabeth Leimbacher / Katherine Bell, Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd. In two almost identical German language decisions dated 27 March 2014 (Decisions 4A_362/2013 and 4A_448/2013) the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) considered that the reliance on an illegally obtained video recording in a CAS award does not violate public policy (these…

Co-authored by Georg von Segesser, Benjamin Moss and Aileen Truttmann, Schellenberg Wittmer An arbitral tribunal’s relationship to state courts remains a complex and often contested topic. A particularly interesting question in this regard is whether a party to arbitral proceedings should be able to seek recovery of damages it was ordered to pay in state…

In a French-language decision dated 18 June 2012 in Case 4A_488/2011, the Swiss Supreme Court considered as “convincing” the view that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has jurisdiction to hear an appeal filed after expiry of the time limit. Since the time limit to appeal turned out to be met in this case, the…

With its decision of 27 March 2012, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held unlawful a disciplinary sanction by which FIFA threatened the football player Matuzalem with a lifetime ban in case he failed to pay a damage claim of his former club and employer. By an earlier decision of the CAS, Francelino da Silva Matuzalem,…

At its session of 15 November 2011, the International Council of Arbitration for Sports (ICAS) amended Article 14 of the Statutes of the bodies working for the settlement of Sport-related Disputes (Article S14) and abandoned the old regime which provided that with regard to the list of CAS arbitrators, the ICAS had to respect a…

In a decision dated 20 September 2011, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that the arbitration clause contained in a License Agreement for boxing equipment, interpreted by the CAS arbitral tribunal as referring to any dispute related to the said agreement, could equally cover disputes arising out of other related contracts, such as the contract…

The High Court of the Canton of Zurich had to examine in a recent case whether the allegedly false testimony of a witness in arbitration proceedings was punishable under the Article 307 of the Swiss Criminal Code as perjury. Up to now, it was disputed by scholars whether the requirements for witness testimony in state…

In a decision dated 14 June 2011 and published on 7 July 2011, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court dismissed an appeal to set aside an arbitral award holding that the right to the appointment of an expert by the tribunal is not violated where the respective request was not made in a timely manner and…

According to article 7 of the Swiss Private International Law (PILA), if the parties have entered into an arbitration agreement, the Swiss Court before which the action is brought shall decline its jurisdiction unless it finds that the agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed. An initiative to amend article 7…

In a landmark decision dated 29 October 2010, published on 19 November 2010 (case 4A_234/2010), the Swiss Federal Tribunal dismissed a motion to set aside a Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) award based on the alleged impartiality of one of the co-arbitrators. The Court firstly clarified that the independence and impartiality expected from any…

In a landmark decision of 13 April 2010 (4A_490/2009, published on 2 July 2010), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirmed that the principle of res judicata is part of procedural public policy, and it set aside a CAS award for violation of that principle. At first sight, the decision of the Federal Supreme Court seems…

In a decision dated 8 December 2009, published on 13 June 2010 (case 4A_446/2009, published as 136 III 107), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that persons acting as board of directors of a company that subsequently became insolvent cannot rely on an arbitration clause contained in the articles of association of that insolvent company…

In two decisions both dated 11 January 2010, published on 16 April 2010 (cases 4A_256/2009 and 4A_258/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court dismissed two appeals regarding the irregular constitution of an arbitral tribunal by stating that the complainant failed to sufficiently substantiate his allegations. Background In 2006, two ICC arbitrations were initiated. They had the…

In a decision dated 11 February 2010, published on 29 March 2010 (case 4A_444/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against a tribunal’s decision that it had jurisdiction over a request for declaration that damages are owed due to the violation of an arbitration clause. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal because it…

In its first newsletter of the year 2010, the Swiss Chambers’ Court of Arbitration and Mediation was able to announce a high increase in arbitration cases submitted to the Court under the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration. A total of 104 new arbitration cases was submitted in 2009, an increase of more than fifty percent…

In a decision dated 10 February 2010 (4A_612/2009), the Swiss Federal Tribunal rejected a petition to set aside a November 2009 CAS Award against German speed-skater Claudia Pechstein. The Federal Tribunal took some unusual procedural steps – including foregoing the usual exchange of written pleadings – to speed up the proceedings and to decide the…

As of 1 January 2011, Swiss domestic arbitration proceedings will be governed by Articles 353 et seq. of the new Swiss Code on Civil Procedure (“CCP”). Articles 353 et seq. CCP will replace the Concordat on Arbitration (“Concordat”), currently governing domestic arbitration proceedings. The dichotomy between domestic arbitration and international arbitration will continue to exist,…

The Swiss Parliament is currently contemplating a reinforcement of the negative effect of the “competence-competence” principle in the Swiss legislation. According to a parliamentary initiative, a Swiss court that is seized on the merits and faced with a plea of lack of jurisdiction based on the existence of a valid arbitration agreement should review such…

In a recent decision dated 6 November 2009 (4A_358/2009), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court set aside an award by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. The Supreme Court held that although its practice regarding the validity of arbitration agreements was generally liberal, in the present case the mere fact that the appellant…

In international arbitration proceedings in Continental Europe, particularly in Germany but also in Switzerland and other countries, it has become increasingly popular for arbitral tribunals to get involved and even take active steps in facilitating a settlement between the parties during the course of a pending arbitration. This raises a number of issues, and parties…

In a recent decision dated 26 October 2009 (4A_428/2009), the Swiss Federal Tribunal held that a party that enters into a procedural agreement in parallel state court proceedings following unsuccessful compulsory judicial conciliation does not waive its right to arbitration when that party does not proceed on the merits without making any objections.