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Starting an arbitration proceeding
What is needed to commence arbitration?
An ad hoc arbitral proceeding is initiated when a party receives a written request for arbitration, containing:
- an express and unconditional request for arbitration;
- a statement of the issue covered by the arbitration agreement and to be resolved by the arbitrators; and
- a statement of the party's choice of arbitrator (where the party is required to appoint an arbitrator).
An arbitral proceeding administered by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is commenced when the institute receives a request for arbitration which includes:
- the names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of the parties and their counsel;
- a summary of the dispute;
- a preliminary statement of the relief sought, including an estimate of the monetary value of the claims;
- a copy or description of the arbitration agreement or clause under which the dispute is to be settled;
- where claims are made under more than one arbitration agreement, an indication of the arbitration agreement under which each claim is made;
- comments on the number of arbitrators and the seat of arbitration; and
- if applicable, the name, address, telephone number and email address of the arbitrator appointed by the claimant.
Are there any limitation periods for the commencement of arbitration?
Are there any procedural rules that arbitrators must follow?
Section 21 of the Arbitration Act provides that arbitrators will handle the dispute in an impartial, practical and speedy manner. They will act in accordance with the decisions of the parties insofar as there is no impediment to so doing.
However, as stated in Section 24, to the extent necessary the arbitrators must afford the parties an opportunity to present their respective cases in writing or orally.
Where a party so requests, and provided that the parties have not otherwise agreed, an oral hearing must be held before determination of an issue referred to the arbitrators.
Further, a party must have the opportunity to review all documents and other materials pertaining to the dispute which are supplied to the arbitrators by the opposing party or another party.
Are dissenting opinions permitted under the law of your jurisdiction?
Can local courts intervene in proceedings?
Swedish courts have no power to intervene in arbitration proceedings. However, the Swedish courts have jurisdiction over some matters relating to arbitration.
Can the local courts assist in choosing arbitrators?
Local courts may assist in appointing arbitrators if a party, the party-appointed arbitrator or a designated body fails to fulfil its obligation to appoint an arbitrator.
What is the applicable law (and prevailing practice) where a respondent fails to participate in an arbitration? Can the courts compel parties to arbitrate? Can they issue subpoenas to third parties?
The Arbitration Act provides no means to compel the parties to arbitrate. However, if any of the parties fails to appear at a hearing or otherwise fails to comply with an order of the arbitrators without valid cause, such failure will not prevent continuation of the proceedings and a resolution of the dispute based on the existing materials.
Local courts may assist in the taking of evidence if the tribunal considers it necessary to hear a witness under oath or truth affirmation or to produce documentary evidence.
In what instances can third parties be bound by an arbitration agreement or award?
An arbitration agreement generally binds only the parties thereto. However, in certain situations the effects of an arbitration agreement can also extend to non-signatories.
For example, in cases of universal succession (eg, mergers) the successor is bound by an arbitration agreement that was binding on the succeeded party. Although also a form of universal succession, bankruptcy comes with distinct principles in this regard; generally, where the debtor’s rights are subject to arbitration agreements, the bankruptcy estate is bound by those.
Swedish law does not recognise the group of companies doctrine.
Default language and seat
Unless agreed by the parties, what is the default language and location for arbitrations?
Usually, it is for the arbitrators to determine the language to be used in the proceedings, unless agreed by the parties.
Section 22 of the Arbitration Act provides that, unless agreed by the parties, the arbitrators will determine the place of arbitration.
How is evidence obtained by the tribunal?
As stated in Section 25 of the Arbitration Act, the parties will supply the evidence. However, the arbitrators may appoint experts unless both parties are opposed.
What kinds of evidence are acceptable?
The Arbitration Act contains no provisions on the admissibility of evidence. Thus, the parties are free to introduce such evidence as they consider appropriate. Thereafter, it is up to the tribunal to determine the evidentiary value of the evidence introduced.
Is confidentiality ensured?
A party to an arbitration is generally not subject to any confidentiality undertakings in relation to the proceedings, unless agreed to.
However, arbitrators are bound to keep confidential information that they learn in the proceedings.
Can information in arbitral proceedings be disclosed in subsequent proceedings?
If a party seeks court assistance, the existence of the dispute and its subject matter, including the award, become public knowledge unless the court grants a request for confidentiality based on the fact that the material contains trade secrets.
What ethical codes and other professional standards, if any, apply to counsel and arbitrators conducting proceedings in your jurisdiction?
There are no specific ethical guidelines for arbitrators or counsel to be followed during arbitration proceedings. Although the International Bar Association Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration are not binding in Sweden, they are generally observed, at least in part.
If the arbitrators or counsel are members of the Swedish Bar Association, the association’s ethical rules also apply to them during arbitration proceedings.
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