Two novelties for arbitration in Switzerland: a new name and structure for the leading commercial dispute resolution institution in Switzerland – the Swiss Chamber’s Arbitration Institution (SCAI) becomes the Swiss Arbitration Centre Ltd. (Swiss Arbitration Centre) with the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) as main shareholder – and the new Swiss Rules enter into force today.
Both will have only slight impact on the arbitration proceedings from a practical view. While continuing to ensure great party autonomy and flexibility, the new Swiss Rules enhance even more efficiency and are in line with current technological trends accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic (inter alia a paperless proceeding in principle (e.g. Art. 3.1 for the Notice of Arbitration), the option of remote hearings (Art. 27), new rules for cross-claims, joinder and intervention (Art. 6) and consolidation of proceedings (Art. 7)). Further, the costs (Appendix B) have been adjusted (increased as well as lowered). The new Swiss Rules apply to all arbitration proceedings in which the Notice of Arbitration is submitted from today on (unless the parties have agreed otherwise, Art. 1.2).
Arbitration agreements referring to SCAI or the Swiss Chambers of Commerce will remain valid and binding. However, in line with the institution’s new name the Swiss Rules’ Model Clause has been adapted as well and now refers to “the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration of the Swiss Arbitration Centre”. To avoid any dispute on the validity of an arbitration agreement in the future, it is recommended to use the adapted Model Clause for any new arbitration agreement.
The Swiss Arbitration Centre can be found on the “unique global dispute resolution platform” Swiss Arbitration under the leadership of the ASA.
When to choose the Swiss Arbitration Centre (or another of the most popular arbitral institutions) depends – as always – on the circumstances of each case. A first overview of the key features of the Swiss Arbitration Centre (and of the other most popular arbitral institutions) can be found in our Tool Box on Arbitral Institutions.