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Switzerland is arbitration-friendly

Switzerland is an arbitration-friendly jurisdiction. 

The principle of party autonomy is recognized to the fullest possible extent. Key features of Swiss arbitration law:

  • Compatibility with the arbitration rules of all the major arbitration institutions (ICC, Swiss Chambers of Commerce, LCIA, DIS, AAA, SIAC etc.).  You can choose whatever institutional rules you like, or none at all; Swiss law will support you.
  • Freedom to retain counsel of your choice, to determine the language of the proceedings, and to select any applicable procedural rules.
  • Free choice of arbitrators.
  • Far-reaching subject-matter arbitrability: any dispute involving a financial interest is arbitrable.
  • Efficient framework for disputes between States/state enterprises and companies.
  • Power of arbitral tribunals to issue interim measures of protection.
  • Intervention of the state courts only in support of an arbitration (appointment of the arbitral tribunal, enforcement of arbitral evidentiary orders, or interim measures, limited review of awards).  

The most important feature of Swiss law is that it provides for only very limited grounds for potential challenge of the award: a disgruntled party can generally not delay the enforcement of an award by initiating post-award court proceedings; there is no review on the merits of the award, no appeal on a point of law is available, no costly multi-step annulment proceedings before the courts need to be feared.  Challenges to an award rendered in Switzerland are handled by a single court, i.e. the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, and are dealt with expeditiously (normally within six months). Since the Swiss arbitration law came into force into 1989, very few awards have been annulled.

Swiss arbitral awards enjoy respect abroad where they are routinely enforced, an important consideration for international businesses.