Tavernier Tschanz updates

Supreme Court reconfirms requirements for appointment of independent tribunal expert
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • December 07 2017

In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge on the basis that the arbitral tribunal's refusal to appoint a tribunal expert was not a violation of the applicant's right to be heard. With respect to the annulment proceedings and grounds for annulment, this decision seems to express limitations to the formal nature of the right to be heard in adversarial proceedings, at least in respect of the right to adduce evidence.

Supreme Court rules on waiver of challenge
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • November 30 2017

In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court held that an arbitration clause contained a valid waiver of challenge against the award. The court also held that such a waiver extended to the applicant's subsidiary request for revision. When interpreting arbitration clauses to determine whether they contain such a waiver, the term 'appeal' should be understood as referring to the remedy that parties have against an award in Switzerland, namely the challenge proceedings.

Supreme Court partially annuls award for violation of right to be heard
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • September 14 2017

In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court partially annulled an award on the grounds that the arbitral tribunal had failed to take into account the claimant's argument in support of one of its prayers for relief. The dispute arose in connection with a tourism project regarding the construction and operation of a hotel and casino in the West Bank. The agreement was governed by Swiss law and provided for arbitration in Zurich.

Ex post short extension to file statement of claim is no ground for challenge
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • May 25 2017

The Supreme Court recently refused to interfere with a sole arbitrator's decision to extend the timeframe to file the statement of claim. The question may arise again at the enforcement stage in the context of Article V(1)(d) of the New York Convention, which provides that recognition and enforcement of an award may be refused, among other things, if "the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement of the parties".

Recent decisions on public policy
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • March 23 2017

According to four recent arbitral decisions, the concept of 'public policy' does not depend on the nature of the underlying dispute; the transfer of bribes is incompatible with public policy only to the extent that bribery is established but not taken into account by the arbitral tribunal; the violation of personality rights is not incompatible with public policy, unless there is a serious violation of fundamental rights; and the rules on the burden of proof are not part of public policy.

Revision of arbitral award granted for discovery of new evidence
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • January 26 2017

The Supreme Court recently admitted a request for revision of an arbitral award based on the subsequent discovery of new evidence in relation to bribery. The court recalled that the revision of arbitral awards can be sought based on the Federal Tribunal Statute and that, among other things, newly discovered evidence must prove either newly discovered facts or facts that were already known in the main proceedings but remained unproven.

Independence of arbitrators in large international law firms
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • December 01 2016

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court had to deal with the independence of an arbitrator who was a lawyer in a large international law firm. The court found that there was no indication of a conflict of interest and left undecided the question of whether a revision of an international arbitral award could be sought based on the subsequent discovery of grounds to challenge an arbitrator.

Second round of written submissions and dissenting opinion
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • September 22 2016

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the parties to an arbitration can validly agree to limit the first phase of the proceedings to one round of written submissions, and that the enforcement of this agreement does not violate the parties' right to be heard. In another recent case, the court held that a dissenting opinion issued by an arbitrator is not part of the arbitral award, has no legal effects and must not be taken into account by the court when deciding a challenge against the award.

Failure to comply with mandatory pre-arbitration requirement
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • July 14 2016

The Supreme Court recently annulled an arbitral award for failure to comply with a mandatory pre-arbitration requirement. It held that failure to comply with such a requirement leads to the suspension of the arbitration proceedings until the requirement has been complied with. Despite holding that there may not be a solution applicable to all cases, the decision provides some legal certainty regarding the consequence of failure to comply with a mandatory pre-arbitration requirement.

Valid and binding arbitration agreement in draft contract
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • May 19 2016

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court found that an arbitral tribunal may have jurisdiction based on the arbitration agreement contained in a draft contract. The court made clear that the principle of autonomy of the arbitration clause can apply even if the main contract never came into existence and that the invalidity of the main contract may actually affect the validity of the arbitration clause.

Denial of justice cannot serve as disguised appeal
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • February 11 2016

A recent decision confirms that the Supreme Court continues to rely on its well-established practice regarding the parties' right to be heard. However, this practice may be perceived to be quite strict for the party that must accept the arbitral tribunal's (sometimes unjustified) refusal to examine the arguments submitted to it, as the court itself acknowledged.

Supreme Court partially annuls CAS arbitral award
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • December 03 2015

In a recent decision the Supreme Court partially annulled a Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitral award for violation of the plaintiff's right to be heard. This decision confirms that in specific circumstances, arbitral awards may be partially annulled. It also clarifies that public policy does not prevent parties to arbitration from agreeing to limit the arbitrators' power to review the case.

Additional decision on res judicata
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • September 10 2015

The Supreme Court recently issued a new decision dealing with the principle of res judicata. The decision makes clear that the liberal approach advocated when assessing the identity of the parties should not apply when assessing the identity of the claims. It further seems to exclude application of an international concept of res judicata in Switzerland.

Supreme Court rules again on res judicata
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • July 16 2015

The Supreme Court has confirmed that there is no incompatibility with public policy where a Swiss arbitral tribunal ignores a foreign decision which, although vested with final and binding effect in the country of origin, cannot be recognised in Switzerland under the New York Convention. This decision confirms the well-settled principle that res judicata is public policy.

Bribery and incompatibility with public policy
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • April 16 2015

The Supreme Court has confirmed that bribery may constitute a ground for annulment of arbitral awards, to the extent that bribery is established and the arbitral tribunal has refused to consider it in the challenged award. In this case, the tribunal found that proof of objectionable conduct on the claimant's part had not been submitted and reiterated that the principle that criminal law has precedence over civil law is not part of procedural public policy.

Challenge against decision to discontinue or stay arbitration proceedings?
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • February 12 2015

The Supreme Court recently held that procedural orders on the discontinuation or stay of arbitration proceedings cannot be challenged, unless they contain an implicit decision on jurisdiction. When drafting procedural orders on the discontinuation or stay of arbitration proceedings, arbitrators should indicate whether they intend to make any final determination as to jurisdiction, so parties have no doubt as to the challenge being available.

Supreme Court rules on FIDIC pre-arbitration steps
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • November 27 2014

In a decision that provides guidance to parties bound by the General Conditions of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers in respect of dispute adjudication board (DAB) pre-arbitration duty, the Supreme Court recently held that DAB pre-arbitration procedure qualifies as a mandatory pre-arbitration step. However, such a step cannot be relied on in case of an excessive delay in the constitution of the DAB.

Supreme Court rules on res judicata
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • September 18 2014

The Supreme Court recently confirmed an arbitral award which had denied the res judicata effect of a foreign court decision on the ground that the foreign court did not analyse the question submitted to the arbitrators. The decision provides detailed guidance on res judicata and does not close the door to an assessment of the party-identity requirement that is not strictly formalistic.

Arbitration agreement binding on non-signatory parent company
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • July 17 2014

The Supreme Court recently partially set aside an arbitral award on the grounds that the arbitral tribunal had wrongly denied jurisdiction over the non-signatory parent of a party to the arbitration agreements on which the arbitration proceeding was based. The court found that this parent had become a party to the arbitration agreements based on the principle of good faith.

Principle of autonomy – temporal limitation of arbitration agreement denied
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • May 22 2014

The principle of autonomy of arbitration agreements provides that an arbitration clause represents a standalone agreement. In a recent decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that the termination of the arbitration agreement must have no effect on the main agreement. Parties which would like to derogate from this rule should say so expressly in the arbitration agreement.

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