On 24 October 2018, the Swiss Federal Council published the draft bill for a revision of Chapter 12 of the Swiss Private International Law Act (PILA) - the lex arbitri that governs international arbitration proceedings seated in Switzerland. The proposed amendments aim at selectively adjusting and modernizing the statutory rules governing Swiss seated international arbitration proceedings, without however diverging from Switzerland's philosophy to afford parties maximal autonomy and procedural flexibility.
The draft bill on the one hand introduces provisions that write down established case law of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court and on the other hand details provisions that adapt the Swiss international arbitration law to recent developments to ensure continuation of Switzerland's arbitration friendly approach.
Notably, the draft bill introduces the possibility of filing legal submissions before the Federal Supreme Court in English.
In addition, the revision contains minor linguistic and technical amendments. The draft bill no longer refers to provisions of the Civil Procedure Code but directly incorporates the respective provisions.
The revision does not contain any provisions aimed at protecting employees or consumers. Although employment and consumer matters are generally arbitrable under the PILA, the Federal Council holds the view that because of the restrictive practice of the Federal Supreme Court with regard to employment disputes in domestic arbitration and the general protection of consumers against abusive contractual provisions, no additional restrictions need to be implemented in the PILA. The Federal Council also sees no need to implement protective provisions with regard to sports arbitration disputes in particular in the light of the European Court of Human Rights' recent decision confirming the independence and impartiality of the Court of Arbitration for Sport seated in Lausanne.
The draft bill was preceded by a preliminary draft published on 11 January 2017. During the consultation procedure the affected public, including the Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution SCAI, the Swiss Arbitration Association ASA and ICC Switzerland, was invited to provide comments on the preliminary draft. The reactions were predominantly positive and the Federal Council took these comments into consideration when drafting the current revision.
The key amendments are as follows:
Scope of Application
The draft bill provides that the...