Arbitration agreements

What are the formal requirements for an enforceable arbitration agreement?

For an arbitral agreement to be valid in Sweden: (i) the parties to the agreement must have legal capacity to enter into the arbitral agreement; (ii) the arbitral agreement must be valid according to Swedish contract law; (iii) the arbitration agreement must refer to disputes arising from a specific contractual relationship or to a specific dispute; and finally (iv) the matter must be ‘arbitrable’. There is no formal requirement that the arbitration agreement must be in writing.

Arbitral procedure

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

The arbitral proceeding is initiated when a party requests arbitration in writing. Besides this rule, the parties are in general free to agree on the applicable procedure, and the arbitrators must act in accordance with what the parties agree. However, there are a few general rules that are mandatory. These rules mainly serve to safeguard the fundamental interests of the parties and the state.

The mandatory rules are that:

  • the parties must be treated equally;
  • the arbitrators must afford the parties an opportunity to present their respective cases in writing or orally to the extent necessary;
  • a party shall be given the opportunity to get access to all the material that concerns the dispute and that has been presented to the arbitrators; and
  • that the parties cannot empower the arbitral tribunal to use certain procedural measures that are exclusively reserved for the courts (eg, imposition of fines or hear a witness under oath).

When and in what form must the award be delivered?

According to the Arbitration Act, an arbitral award must be in writing and signed by the arbitrators. If the arbitrators have left out their signatures by oversight, they may correct the arbitral award by adding the missing signatures. If the majority of the arbitrators sign the arbitral award, it is sufficient that the reason why not all arbitrators have signed the award is noted in the award. The parties may decide that the chair of the arbitral tribunal alone is to sign the award.

The award must be delivered to the parties promptly, but the Arbitration Act does not regulate in what manner the award is to be delivered to the parties.


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

An award cannot be appealed in the same way as a judgment, because an award cannot be challenged on material grounds. However, a party can seek nullification of the award or that the award in set aside on procedural grounds.

An award is null and void if: (i) it includes determination of an issue that is not arbitral according to Swedish law; (ii) the award, or the circumstances in which it was rendered, are incompatible with the fundamental principles of the Swedish legal system; or (iii) the award does not fulfil the requirements with regard to the written form and signature.

The award may be set aside by a court if:

  • the arbitration agreement is invalid;
  • the arbitrators have rendered the award after the expiry of the period decided on by the parties, or the award exceeds the mandate of the arbitrators;
  • the arbitral proceedings should not have taken place in Sweden;
  • an appointment of an arbitrator was made contrary to what the parties agreed according to the Arbitration Act;
  • there is a lack of capacity or impartiality of an arbitrator; or
  • there are other procedural irregularities that are presumed to have influenced the outcome of the case.

A party may not invoke a circumstance that the party have waived by participating in the proceedings without objection. A party who wants to challenge the award must do so within two months after receiving the award.


What procedures exist for enforcement of foreign and domestic awards?

For a foreign award to be enforced in Sweden, a party must file an application of recognition and enforcement of the award at the Svea Court of Appeal. Recognition and enforcement is regulated by the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, to which Sweden is a party.

A domestic award may, after the application by a party, be enforced by the Swedish Enforcement Authority. In order for the Enforcement Authority to enforce the award, it must have gained legal force and fulfil the formal requirements of being in writing and signed.