The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce ("the SCC Institute") has adopted new arbitration rules, which entered into force on January 1, 2007 and will be applied to any arbitration commenced on or after January 1, 2007, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. The new rules update the former version (adopted in 1999), with the intention of making the rules more accessible to international users.
A number of the changes to the Rules are of a structural or linguistic character, for example changing "Place of Arbitration" to the more technical "Seat of Arbitration." One of the most important substantial changes, is the new Article 11, which now includes a provision on consolidation. Upon the submission of a Request for Arbitration concerning a legal relationship in respect of which an arbitration between the same parties is already pending under the Rules, the Board of the SCC Institute may, at the request of a party, decide to include the claims contained in the Request for Arbitration in the pending proceedings. Such decision will, however, only be made after consulting the parties and the Arbitral Tribunal. The former Rules do not contain any such provision on consolidation.
The revision of the Rules has also led to changes regarding the appointment of arbitrators. Whereas the former Rules stated that, if the Arbitral Tribunal consisted of a sole arbitrator, he should be appointed by the SCC Institute, the new Rules state that the parties are given 30 days within which they have the opportunity to jointly appoint the arbitrator. If the parties fail to make the appointment within the aforementioned time period, the arbitrator shall be appointed by the Board of the SCC Institute. It should also be noted that the parties are free to agree on a different procedure for the appointment of the Arbitral Tribunal than that provided for under the Rules (Article 13(1)).
Another significant change of the provisions on appointment of arbitrators is in cases where there are multiple claimants or respondents and the Arbitral Tribunal is to consist of more than one arbitrator. If so, the multiple claimants, jointly, and the multiple respondents, jointly, shall appoint an equal number of arbitrators. This was also the case with the former Rules. However, in contrast to the former Rules, if either side fails to make such joint appointment, the Board of the SCC Institute shall appoint the entire Arbitral Tribunal (Article 13(4)). The reason for this change is to avoid the risk that a national court should consider the appointment of arbitrators as unfair and quash the award.
Pursuant to the revised Rules, in the case of a challenged arbitrator, the arbitrator shall resign if the other party agrees to the challenge (Article 15(4)). The procedure under the former Rules (i.e., decision by the Board of the SCC Institute) shall be applied in all other cases. Another new feature is the provisional timetable, intended to increase the efficiency of the proceedings (Article 23). After the referral of the case to the Arbitral Tribunal, the Arbitral Tribunal shall promptly consult with the parties in order to establish a provisional timetable for the proceedings.
Additionally, various provisions on evidence have been rewritten. The new Rules expressly state that the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of evidence shall be for the Arbitral Tribunal to determine. It is also stated that, at the request of a party, the Arbitral Tribunal may order a party to produce any documents or other evidence which may be deemed relevant to the outcome of the case.
There is also a new provision which provides that the Arbitral Tribunal may, at the request of a party, grant any interim measures that it deems appropriate (Article 32). An interim measure may take the form of an order or an award. This should also be in line with UNCITRAL’s Model Rules on interim measures.
The Swedish Arbitration Act does not include any basic rules on the confidential nature of the proceedings and the Swedish Supreme Court recently ruled that the parties do not incur any duty of confidentiality sanctioned by liability in damages. Nor are the parties’ legal representatives or the arbitrators under any legal obligation to maintain secrecy concerning the dispute according to the Swedish Arbitration Act, although the consensus view is that arbitrators shall observe discretion about the arbitral proceedings. The new Rules, however, stipulate that the SCC Institute and the Arbitral Tribunal, appointed under the Rules, shall maintain the confidentiality of the arbitration and the award, unless otherwise agreed by the parties (Article 46).
The revision of the Rules is hoped to further strengthen the SCC Institute and Stockholm as an attractive location for future domestic and international arbitration proceedings.