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Jurisdiction

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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 29 Apr 2021

Supreme Court analyses conflicting forum selection clauses

The Supreme Court recently assessed a case where the parties had agreed two conflicting forum selection clauses within the same contract: an arbitration agreement and a jurisdiction clause in favour of a state court. Conflicting forum selection clauses providing for the jurisdiction of state courts on the one hand and arbitral tribunals on the other hand are regularly contained in one......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 26 Mar 2021

COVID-19 and commercial leases – new court decisions

To date, there have been three COVID-19-related lockdowns in Austria. During each of these periods, the customer area of shops had to be closed to the public, except for certain essential retail stores. Restaurants could offer takeaway and delivery services only and hotels were shut subject to certain exceptions. This situation has created significant uncertainty regarding tenants' right to......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 12 Mar 2021

COVID-19 and commercial leases – one year on

Two lower court decisions have confirmed tenants' right to claim a COVID-19-related rent reduction in general. However, both decisions must be read carefully and leave many questions unanswered, particularly in cases where shops made or could have made limited use of their premises during the national lockdowns by offering online delivery or click and collect services. In addition, state aid......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 24 Dec 2020

Can eye rolling be a reason to challenge an arbitrator?

The Supreme Court recently dealt with the challenge of an arbitrator on the grounds that he had rolled his eyes during the pleading of a party's representative. Said arbitrator did not explicitly contest the accusation of having rolled his eyes. Nonetheless, he claimed to be able to objectively give a legal assessment of the facts of the case. This decision adds to the case law on the......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 29 Oct 2020

Supreme Court scrutinises admissibility of videoconference hearings

The Supreme Court recently determined the admissibility of conducting an arbitral hearing by means of a videoconference in the context of challenge proceedings. The court held that even where one party opposes, ordering a remote hearing in arbitration is admissible and does not constitute a reason to challenge the arbitral tribunal. This decision must be regarded as a precedential landmark......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 8 Oct 2020

Supreme Court specifies reasoning standards for awards

Under longstanding Supreme Court case law, defective reasoning did not previously constitute a severe enough violation of procedural public policy to set aside an award. However, in recent years, the court has reversed this trend and repeatedly held that non-adherence to certain reasoning standards in arbitral awards can be a ground to set aside an award. In a recent decision, the Supreme......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 16 Jul 2020

Supreme Court scrutinises decision awarding costs to losing party

The Supreme Court recently considered whether a final arbitral award on the reimbursement of costs violated Austrian public policy. The claimant had ultimately succeeded in the arbitration conducted under the rules of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. Nevertheless, the cost decision ordered it to reimburse the respondent's costs. The Supreme......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 3 Apr 2020

COVID-19 measures may entitle tenants to rent reductions

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the government has ordered all shops and service providers, except those providing certain vital services, to close to customers from 17 March 2020 until 13 April 2020. The closure of shops may entitle tenants to reduced rent and ancillary costs. However, it does not entitle tenants to terminate their lease for cause. This article sets out......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 16 Jan 2020

Supreme Court takes strict stance on conflict of interest

The Supreme Court recently considered whether the fact that an arbitrator and a party counsel in one arbitration acted as co-counsel in another unrelated arbitration cast doubt on the arbitrator's independence and impartiality and thus disqualified him from acting as arbitrator in the arbitration under review. In its decision, the court correctly acknowledged the reality of the Austrian......
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Pitkowitz & Partners | Austria | 18 Oct 2019

Supreme Court redefines location surcharge in rent control leases

In early 2019 the Supreme Court passed three decisions confirming and clarifying its 2017 decision which had limited landlords' right to request a location surcharge for rent-controlled apartments in desirable neighbourhoods. Based on the court's judgment, approximately 100,000 apartments no longer qualify for the location surcharge. However, the court's vague criteria for determining whether......
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