The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution, also known as the “SCAI”, is an arbitration institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which offers dispute resolution services based on the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration (the “Swiss Rules”) and the Swiss Rules of Commercial Mediation. The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution is, since 2012, an independent entity, established by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Basel, Bern, Geneva, Laussane, Lugano, Neuchâtel and Zurich.
The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution has an Arbitration Court, an autonomous and independent body, which is assisted in its work by a Secretariat that helps it with administering arbitrations and logistical aspects. The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution’s internal organization is organized by its own Internal Rules.
The Swiss Arbitration Rules 2012 built upon the previous version from 2004 and is a modern set of rules drafted to offer flexible, efficient and cost-effective arbitration both for domestic and international cases. Both versions are based on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules but were adapted to be used in an institutional framework.
The Swiss Rules 2012 are available in fifteen different languages. Parties are free to choose their own seat of arbitration, the applicable law, the language of the proceedings and to designate arbitrators. An important feature of the Swiss Rules, introduced in the previous version in 2004, is a mandatory Expedited Procedure for cases with amounts in dispute of less than 1 million Swiss Francs, as provided by Article 42.2. of the Swiss Rules.
The determination of the amount in dispute is made immediately after receipt of the Answer to the Notice of Arbitration, but any subsequent increase in the value of the claims or counterclaims does not affect the determination of the Expedited Procedure. As per Article 42.1 of the Swiss Rules, the Parties can also voluntarily agree on expedited proceedings, even in cases where the amount in dispute exceeds 1 million Swiss Francs.
The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution publishes Guidelines for Arbitrators, available in English, French, German and Italian. The Guidelines for Arbitrators, effective as of 1 August 2014, offer guidance for the administrative and logistical organization of the proceedings, including the use of administrative secretaries, advances on costs, accounting and expenses and arbitrator’s fees.
The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution also offer the services of an appointing authority, not only for disputes administered under the Swiss Rules of Arbitration, but also for other ad hoc arbitrations and UNCITRAL Proceedings.
The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution’s recommended Model Clause to be included in contracts reads as follows:
“Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of, or in relation to, this contract, including the validity, invalidity, breach, or termination thereof, shall be resolved by arbitration in accordance with the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution in force on the date on which the Notice of Arbitration is submitted in accordance with these Rules.
The number of arbitrators shall be … (‘one’,’three’, ‘one or three’);
The seat of the arbitration shall be … (name of city in Switzerland, unless the parties agree on a city in another country);
The arbitral proceedings shall be conducted in … (insert desired language)”
The Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution also promotes mediation as a cost-effective alternative dispute resolution method, either on its own or as a complement to arbitration. It has its own set of Mediation Rules and a suggested Mediation Clause for contracts, with different version for parties who are already in dispute and for mediation followed by arbitration.