Switzerland is a global hub for commodity traders, and therefore also a significant jurisdiction for disputes arising in the commodities sector. A recent decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (Decision 5A_441/2015 of 4 February 2016 (ASA Bull. 2/2016)) addresses important issues relating to commodity sales contracts and Swiss enforcement proceedings. The case involved arbitral proceedings…

By Matthias Scherer and Sam Moss, LALIVE In a judgment dated 7 July 2014, which was made public on 20 August 2014 (case no. 4A_124/2014), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) addressed the enforceability of a precondition for arbitration in a multi-tier dispute resolution provision, namely the requirement to submit a dispute to…

Arbitration proceedings sometimes spawn a host of parallel court proceedings.  It is not unheard for parties to seek to instrumentalise courts, sometimes with the complicity of the courts themselves, to escape the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal.  Such conduct may, however, expose parties to liability for breach of the arbitration agreement, as was confirmed by…

By Matthias Scherer and Catherine A. Kunz In a recent decision dated 21 December 2012 (5A_355/2012), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court clarified the conditions for obtaining a freezing order for the purpose of enforcing an arbitral award or a foreign court decision.  The decision, which will be published in the forthcoming ASA Bulletin 2.2013 with…

In a recently published decision dated 6 August 2012 (4A_119/2012), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirmed its own jurisprudence according to which state courts facing a jurisdictional defense based on an alleged arbitration agreement must not assess in full the validity of the arbitration agreement. In such cases, the state court must limit itself to a summary examination of whether or not a valid arbitration agreement exists.

On 27 September 2012, the Swiss Parliament adopted a motion that had been introduced earlier this year tasking the Government to prepare a report on the Swiss Arbitration Law (chapter 12 of the Federal Act on Private International Law (PILA)).  The objective of the report is to further enhance the attractiveness of Switzerland as a…

and Sam Moss, Lalive In its recent decision dated 2 July 2012 in case 5A_754/2011, the Swiss Supreme Court ruled for the first time on the issue of whether, pursuant to Art. IV(2) of the New York Convention (“NYC”), a full translation of an award must be produced by parties seeking recognition and enforcement in…

On 1 June 2012, the new revised version of the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration (“Swiss Rules”) will come into force.  According to Article 1.3, the new Rules will apply to all Swiss Rules proceedings in which the Request for Arbitration is submitted after 1 June 2012, unless the Parties agree otherwise. The Swiss Rules…

By Matthias Scherer and Simone Nadelhofer, LALIVE, Geneva and Zurich The Swiss Federal Supreme Court recently published a decision rendered last addressing the enforceability of an English Worldwide Freezing Order (“WFO”) in Switzerland. Of particular interest was the question whether a party can apply for a mere declaration of enforceability without actually seeking to enforce…

By Matthias Scherer and Sam Moss In a recent decision issued on 7 November 2011 on a request for annulment of a partial award on jurisdiction rendered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“TAS”), the Swiss Supreme Court recalled and applied its previous jurisprudence on the interpretation of pathological arbitration clauses (Case 4A_246/2011). The…

and Sandrine Giroud, Lalive In a decision issued on 23 November 2011, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court gave some welcome guidance on the rules of immunity applicable to the enforcement of ICSID awards in Switzerland (Decision 5A_681/2011 dated 23 November 2011 – The published decision is redacted but mentions the date of the ICSID award…

The ASA seminar on “Arbitral Institutions under Scrutiny” on 9 September in Zurich yielded some interesting insight in the practice of arbitration institutions, and views of well-known practitioners on the problems faced by modern arbitration systems. After the general introduction from ASA President Michael E. Schneider, Lara Bander and Mehtap Tari Hirt, two post-graduate students…

In its decision 4A_162/2011 of 20 July 2011, which was published on 2 September 2011, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court elaborated on the content of – and limits to – the right of parties to call witnesses. The arbitration which gave rise to the decision was between the Jamaica Football Federation and its former coach,…

In a recent decision, the Swiss Supreme Court examined whether contractual provisions contemplating certain procedural steps before initiating arbitration proceedings impacted the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal (Case no. 4A_46/2011 of 16 May 2011, to be published in ASA Bulletin, 2011. English translation to be published in Swiss International Arbitration Law Reports, 2011). The contract,…

According to the rules governing domestic arbitration (Art 30 of the Concordat on Arbitration, and, as of 1 January 2011, Art. 378 of the Swiss Federal Code on Civil Procedure), a party that does not pay its share of the advance on the arbitration costs requested by the arbitral tribunal risks to lose the benefit…

Introduction: Many international commercial contracts (such as e.g., construction, distribution, sale and purchase) are governed by Swiss (substantive) law as per a choice of law provision. Often the choice of law is made in combination with an arbitration clause referring disputes to arbitration in Switzerland. The effect of international sanctions on commercial contracts has become…