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What legal requirements are there for recognition of an award? Must reasons be given for the award? Does the award need to be reviewed by any other body?
Generally speaking, the Arbitration Act contains few formal requirements regarding the arbitral award. Section 31 of the Arbitration Act provides that the award must be made in writing and signed by the arbitrators. Non-observance of these requirements would result in the arbitral award being invalid. Further, according to Section 31, the place or seat of arbitration and the date when the award was made must be stated in the award. However, non-observance of these requirements will not render the award invalid.
Legal literature holds that even though it is not explicitly stated in the Arbitration Act, the award must identify the parties to the dispute as well as the dispute itself. It is also held in the legal literature that an award must contain a clear and definitive decision. No explicit statutory requirement obliges arbitrators to state their reasons in the award, but the tribunal is, in practice, required to do so.
Article 36 of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Rules explicitly provides that the tribunal must make its award in writing and, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, state the reasons on which the award is based. The award must also include the date of the award and the seat of arbitration, and be signed by the arbitrators.
The award is not subject to review or scrutiny by any other body (except where there is a question as to the applicable institutional rules).
Timeframe for delivery
Are there any time limits on delivery of the award?
The Arbitration Act contains no time limit for the delivery of the award, but provides that disputes will be handled in a speedy manner.
Article 37 of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) Arbitration Rules explicitly provides that the final award must be made no later than six months of the date on which the arbitration was referred to the tribunal. On a reasoned request from the tribunal, or if otherwise deemed necessary, the SCC board may extend this time limit.
Does the law impose limits on the available remedies? Are some remedies not enforceable by the court?
If the dispute is arbitrable, a tribunal may, within the scope of the arbitration agreement, grant any remedy or relief available to the courts.
What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending constitution of the tribunal?
Available interim relief includes orders to:
- provide security for the claim that will be adjudicated by the tribunal;
- seize property;
- preserve evidence; and
- take actions or refrain from taking actions which are likely to cause imminent harm or prejudice to the arbitral process.
Local courts can issue interim relief pending constitution of the tribunal.
The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Rules contain rules regarding emergency arbitration, which can be used to obtain an emergency decision on interim measures before the tribunal is constituted.
Interim measures issued by an arbitral tribunal are not enforceable.
Can interest be awarded?
Yes, on request by a party.
At what rate?
A party’s entitlement to interest is held as a substantive issue. In cases where Swedish law applies, interest will apply to an award unless otherwise agreed between the parties. The default penalty interest rate under the Swedish Interest Act 8%, plus the reference rate established by the Swedish central bank.
Is the award final and binding?
Yes, the award is final and binding on the parties when it is issued.
What if there are any mistakes?
Section 32 of the Arbitration Act enables the tribunal, within 30 days of the announcement of the award, to correct or supplement the award at its own initiative if it finds that:
- the award contains any obvious inaccuracy as a consequence of a typographical, computational or other similar mistake; or
- the tribunal by oversight has failed to decide an issue which should have been dealt with in the award.
On request by any of the parties, the tribunal may also correct an award or interpret the decision in an award. Before a decision to correct, supplement or interpret the decision in the award, the parties should be afforded an opportunity to express their views with respect to the measure. Further, an award whereby the arbitrators concluded the proceedings without ruling on an issue submitted to them for resolution may be amended, in whole or in part, on application by one of the parties.
Can the parties exclude by agreement any right of appeal or other recourse that the law of your jurisdiction may provide?
Parties cannot exclude or limit the right to challenge the award beforehand, except in cases concerning a commercial relationship, where none of the parties is domiciled or has its place of business in Sweden. After the award has been rendered, the parties are free to waive their right to challenge it.
When it comes to awards dismissing or rejecting a claim due to, for instance, lack of jurisdiction, it has been established in case law that the parties may agree to waive their right to challenge such award, both before and after it is rendered.
What is the procedure for challenging awards?
Any challenges to awards must be filed with the court of appeal within the jurisdiction where the proceedings were held. If this is not stated in the award, the Arbitration Act stipulates that the challenge can be brought before the Svea Court of Appeal. According to Section 34(3) of the Arbitration Act, a challenge against an award must be brought within three months of the receipt of the award.
In general, the court of appeal’s decision on matters of invalidity, setting aside and amendment of an award may not be appealed. However, the court can permit a party to appeal where the case is of importance as a matter of precedence.
On what grounds can parties appeal an award?
There are no grounds for appealing an award on the merits of the case. However, the Arbitration Act enables a party to make an application to the court of appeal to decide on the validity of an award or to challenge the award.
According to Section 33 of the Arbitration Act, an award is invalid if:
- it includes a determination on an issue that may not be decided by arbitrators under Swedish law;
- it, or the manner in which it arose, is clearly incompatible with the basic principles of the Swedish legal system (public policy); or
- it does not fulfil the requirements with regard to the written form and signature in accordance with the Arbitration Act.
According to Section 34, an award may, in whole or in part, be set aside on the motion of a party if:
- it is not covered by a valid arbitration agreement between the parties;
- the arbitrators made the award after the expiration of the period decided on by the parties, or where the arbitrators have otherwise exceeded their mandate;
- the arbitral proceedings should not have taken place in Sweden;
- an arbitrator was appointed contrary to the agreement between the parties or the Arbitration Act;
- an arbitrator did not meet the impartiality requirements or possess full legal capacity; or
- an irregularity occurred in the course of the proceedings (without fault of the party) which likely influenced the outcome of the case.
Under Section 36 of the Arbitration Act, parties can challenge awards where the arbitrators concluded the proceedings without ruling on an issue submitted to them (ie, rejection or dismissal).
What steps can be taken to enforce the award if there is a failure to comply?
The award is an enforcement title and can be enforced by the Swedish Enforcement Authority on application of a party.
Can awards be enforced in local courts?
Awards rendered in Sweden are final and binding and constitute, just like judgments rendered by local courts, an enforcement title. Thus, there is no need to enforce the awards in local courts. The awards can be enforced by the Swedish Enforcement Authority.
How enforceable is the award internationally?
As Sweden ratified the New York Convention without reservation, the award may be enforced in contracting states.
To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?
Swedish law accepts state immunity at the enforcement stage to the extent that the relevant property is used for official purposes or purposes nearly linked to the official purposes. Should the property not be sufficiently connected to the state’s official purposes, enforcement of the award will be possible.
Are there any other bases on which an award may be challenged, and if so, by what?
No, the grounds on which an award can be challenged are exhaustive.
How enforceable are foreign arbitral awards in your jurisdiction?
Sweden is a signatory to the New York Convention. This means that foreign awards from other signatory countries may be enforced in Sweden. To enforce a foreign award in Sweden, the party seeking enforcement must file an application with the Svea Court of Appeal for recognition and enforcement.
For awards rendered under the Washington (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) Convention, no application to the Svea Court of Appeal is required. Such awards are enforceable as if they were a final judgment of a Swedish court or a Swedish arbitration award.
Will an award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration be enforced in your jurisdiction?
A judgment by which an award has been set aside can be invoked as a defence against an application for enforcement.