Until 2000, the competence for procedural laws in Switzerland had been vested with the cantons and not with the Swiss Federation. For domestic arbitration, a unification of the cantonal provisions had taken place through a Concordat, which is an agreement between cantons. The Concordat regarding domestic arbitration was concluded in 1969 (“Concordat”).
On 1 January 2011, the new Swiss Code on Civil Procedure (“CCP”) will enter into force. It regulates and unifies the civil procedure before State Courts throughout Switzerland. In its Part 3, it provides for a new set of rules for domestic arbitration.
The present article discusses the main principles and goals of the revised rules on domestic arbitration in Switzerland. Although the new rules are based on the Concordat, some changes have been introduced. The present article highlights the most important ones. The drafters of the CCP provisions on domestic arbitration have not limited themselves to amending the Concordat but have taken the opportunity to modernize the current regime of domestic arbitration and have thus introduced new provisions regulating the issues which have not been explicitly provided for under the old regime. Some of these provisions are specifically noteworthy also from the point of view of international arbitration practitioners because these provisions are also new in comparison to Chapter 12 of the Swiss Private International Law Act (“PILA”), which forms the Swiss lex arbitrii for international arbitration. The article therefore also briefly highlights the main differences of the revised rules on domestic arbitration as compared to Chapter 12 PILA.
Finally, as a concluding remark, the author addresses the question of whether, in light of the newly introduced rules on domestic arbitration, the PILA is in need of a revision as well.ASA Bulletin