Dr Martin Burkhardt

Martin Burkhardt

Lawyer biography


Dr. Martin Burkhardt is representing parties in commercial litigation and international arbitration. He is also sitting as arbitrator.

Practice Areas

Litigation and International Arbitration, International Legal Assistance, Contract and Commercial, International Private Law, Insolvency and Restructuring


German, English, French

Education and Professional Experience

  • 1988 University of St.Gallen (lic. iur.)
  • 1991 University of California Berkeley Law School (LL.M.)
  • 1991 Admission to New York Bar
  • 1992 Admission to Zurich Bar
  • 1994 Joined Lenz & Staehelin
  • 1996 University of St.Gallen (Dr. iur.)
  • 2000 Partner at Lenz & Staehelin


Swiss Bar Association (SAV), Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA), New York Bar Association, Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Committee

Publications (Selection)

Burkhardt, M., Adaptation of Contracts under Changed Circumstances in Swiss Law Practice: Contracts, Arbitration and Swiss Federal Court Practice, in: St.Gallen Studies of Private, Business and Economic Law, Bern/Stuttgart/Vienna 1996



Precautionary taking of evidence in support of current proceedings
Switzerland | 19 February 2019

Under the Civil Procedure Code, the Swiss courts usually take evidence only after the parties have fully pleaded all particulars. The taking of evidence is often preceded by multiple exchanges of written submissions; however, in certain cases, it may be unreasonable to wait until the proceedings have fully developed to take certain evidence. For such cases, Swiss law allows parties to request the so-called 'precautionary taking of evidence'. The Zurich Commercial Court recently issued a decision on one such request.

Federal Supreme Court rules on when restitution duty arises and on its prescription
Switzerland | 15 August 2017

The Federal Supreme Court recently ruled on at which point the statute of limitation starts to run and what its duration should be. It found that the statute of limitation applicable to the claim for restitution was 10 years and that it started to run on the receipt of each payment by the agent. The issue of statutory interest remained undecided, but now appears much less controversial

Court decides on controversial issue of mandate agreements and agency
Switzerland | 21 October 2014

The Zurich Commercial Court recently decided that the term 'obligation' according to the Code of Obligations not only includes specific contractual obligations, but may also apply to obligations on other legal bases, provided that they result from a legal transaction which the agent has concluded in its own name but in the interest and for the account of the principal.

Validity of arbitration clause contained in a player entry form
Switzerland | 28 September 2010

The Supreme Court recently denied the competence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on a case in which a professional ice hockey player refused to undergo a doping test. The decision is unusual in that it sets aside an arbitral award on the basis of the lack of competence of an arbitral tribunal.

Supreme Court rules on administration of evidence and the right to be heard
Switzerland | 03 August 2010

Two recent Supreme Court decisions highlight important procedural issues related to the administration of evidence and the right to be heard. As a rule, the party willing to provide new evidence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport proceedings must inform the the court panel of its intentions as soon as possible. If the evidence is yet to become readily available, parties can apply to suspend the proceedings.

Cost allocation in shareholder claims
Switzerland | 02 February 2010

The Federal Supreme Court recently rendered a significant ruling on the issue of cost allocation in proceedings initiated by shareholders in the context of a merger which may have repercussions on comparable proceedings. As a result of this decision, purchasers that buy shares shortly before a reorganization in order to gain additional compensation risk bearing the costs risk for claims under Article 105.

Supreme Court Rules on Avoidance Actions
Switzerland | 18 August 2009

Following a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2008 in connection with the insolvency of Swissair and its parent company SAirGroup, avoidance actions have become a broadly discussed issue in Swiss doctrine. Subsequently, a considerable number of decisions have been published relating to such actions. This update summarizes the effects of these new decisions and outlines the litigation aspects of avoidance actions.