Arbitration agreements

What are the formal requirements for an enforceable arbitration agreement?

An arbitration agreement must be made in writing or in any other form allowing it to be evidenced by text, for example in email correspondence. However, the interpretation of an arbitration clause is not limited by the wording of the written agreement. Rather, other circumstances evidencing the parties’ intentions may also be taken into account.

Arbitral procedure

Does the domestic law contain substantive requirements for the procedure to be followed?

The parties are free to determine the procedure to be followed by the tribunal. In particular, they may either agree on individually designed rules, refer to a set of arbitration rules, or agree on a procedural law of their choice. The law does not contain mandatory procedural rules other than that the parties must be treated equally and that their right to be heard must be respected.


When and in what form must the award be delivered?

The award must be delivered in writing and be signed at least by the chairperson. The law does not require the tribunal to render its decision within a particular time period.


On what grounds can an award be appealed to the court?

Arbitral awards may be appealed to the Supreme Court within 30 days. In domestic arbitration, the parties may also agree that the award is appealable to the court of appeal at the seat of the tribunal. There is no right of further appeal. An award may only be appealed for the following reasons:

  • the single arbitrator was appointed or the arbitral tribunal was composed in an irregular manner;
  • the arbitral tribunal wrongly declared itself to have or not to have jurisdiction;
  • the arbitral tribunal decided issues that were not submitted to it or failed to decide on a prayer for relief;
  • the principles of equal treatment of the parties or the right to be heard were violated;
  • in domestic arbitrations: the award is arbitrary in its result because it is based on findings that are obviously contrary to the facts as stated in the case files or because it constitutes an obvious violation of law or equity;
  • in international arbitrations: the award is irreconcilable with public policy; and
  • only in domestic arbitrations: the costs and compensation fixed by the arbitral tribunal are obviously excessive.

In a domestic arbitration, a party may further request the court of appeal at the seat of the tribunal to exceptionally review the award if:

  • it subsequently discovers significant facts or decisive evidence that could not have been submitted in the earlier proceedings (excluding facts and evidence that arose after the arbitral award was made);
  • it can be proven that the award was influenced by a felony or misdemeanour;
  • it is claimed that the acceptance, withdrawal or settlement of the claim is invalid; or
  • the European Court of Human Rights determined that the European Charter of Human Rights has been violated, compensation is not an appropriate remedy, and review is necessary to remedy the violation.

There are no statutory provisions on the review of international arbitral awards. However, the Supreme Court recognises that revision is also available in international arbitration proceedings.


What procedures exist for enforcement of foreign and domestic awards?

Swiss arbitral awards are enforced like judgments of courts. Awards of arbitral tribunals seated outside Switzerland are recognised and enforced if the prerequisites of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards are met.