The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is one of the major institutions for Commercial Arbitration in Sweden and is the national arbitration seat for Sweden’s best arbitrators. The firm is known for its commitment to resolving disputes among parties involved in business and trades in Sweden, with its awards enforceable.
However, while the SCC is undoubtedly one of the highly trusted firms for domestic Commercial Arbitration in Sweden, it is also one of the most trusted firms for International Commercial Arbitration. The institution, established in 1917, has become one of the biggest platforms for resolving all kinds of disputes with foreign and international leanings, with its awards enforceability verified in more than 150 countries, courtesy of the New York Convention (NYC) 1958.
For interested parties looking to resolve international disputes via the SCC, the belief may be that the institution is just one of the many global arbitration firms out there. However, a closer look shows that the SCC is extremely unique in its arbitration processes and offers parties more than just arbitration. It is a real way in which both parties can amicably settle their differences without any financial consequences. This article will outline the Top 10 reasons why parties should seek to settle their international dispute via the SCC.
Reputation for Being Impartial and IndependentThe SCC has been around for over a century and, in recent years, handles over three hundred cases annually. These statistics are largely due to the trust that the Stockholm seat offers to international disputing parties. Since the cold war between North America, Russia, China, and Europe, most powerhouses have increasingly found it difficult to find an international base where they believe they can get a fair hearing. This sentiment has led to most involved stakeholders refusing to allow a court or even an arbitration institution in any of their jurisdictions to handle most of their issues. There is an underlying belief that the institutions will slide in favor of their host country.
This locked-horn situation has led many of these parties to move their disputes to the SCC, which has a reputation of being an impartial and independent institution for global disputes. All states worldwide, including the G8 and the G20, generally recommend the SCC as an impartial seat for fair hearings and disputes.
In cases of private debacles involving two firms, the SCC has also stood out as a top firm that incorporates all parties with no single sentiment to region or nationality. The SCC states its mission to serve justice and ensure that all clients, whether from Sweden or beyond the country jurisdictions, get an equal hearing and a fair conclusion.
Also, in its goal to ensure that all firms get a fair hearing at all times, the SCC generally ensures that all Arbitrators know their liabilities, responsibilities, and commitments to fair and justified judgments. Hence, the institution encourages full arbitrators to disclose and full commitment to fair awards.
Appointment of ArbitratorsThe SCC has grown very well over the years and has developed its methods to ensure a fair hearing. One of the ways that they have improved this situation is via the appointment process when recruiting arbitrators. The SCC is not overly strict when appointing an arbitrator, as the institution usually looks to encourage diversity in race, gender, politics, and expertise. However, the institutions ensure that arbitrators appointed are experts in at least one field to effectively offer that expertise to clients that may need such specialization in the future.
In Practice, most of the SCC registered and appointed arbitrators are generally professional lawyers, law professors, scholars of highly placed disciplines, and researchers in politics. This needed requirement in expertise usually makes all SCC-appointed arbitrators a great fit for international disputes. A recommended arbitrator will generally be well-grounded in the case and ensure that the represented client gets a decent and good take on the case.
The SCC, when registering its arbitrators for appointments, ensures that anybody who intends to serve as an arbitrator must have at least an expert certification that makes them fit for a case that could be brought to the institution in the future. Other qualifications and small requirements may be considered for an arbitrator as entrenched in the Swedish Arbitration Act and the SCC Rules, applicable to arbitrators that sit in Stockholm. The SCC also requires that a serving arbitrator must be totally impartial and independent so that hearing and subsequent rulings are totally transparent.
Hence, for parties seeking to settle an international dispute but do not have personal arbitrators or an arbitrator team, the SCC is a great platform with capable arbitrators who are highly skilled and experienced in international disputes of all types.
Offers more than arbitrationThe SCC is not just interested in hearing disputes but is very concerned about settling international disputes between parties in the most amicable way possible. The institution aims to settle international disputes while protecting the relationship that these parties have together as much as the grievances, when settled, will allow.
While the institution’s major goal is to settle disputes with arbitration, the reality of the process is generally time-consuming and financially draining. The SCC provides other services that international parties can consider to reach a realistic resolution for the problem at hand. The services offered by the SCC are listed below:
The Expedited Arbitration is a legal font in which the SCC administers resolution processes for disputes adjudged to be of a simpler nature. Under the Expedited Arbitrations SCC Rules, disputes are always decided by a sole arbitrator, and the parties will have to agree to it before it can be carried out. The Expedited Arbitration rules under the SCC is different from general arbitration, and the parties involved in the disputes must first agree to it for it to be possible.
The features of Expedited Arbitration are that it is quick, flexible, confidential, and efficient.
The SCC, as an arbitration institute, is very open to other Alternative Dispute Resolution methods for handling cases. Mediation, which is generally a quick and cost-efficient way to resolve disputes amicably, is well welcomed by the SCC if both parties are willing to take it instead of arbitration. The belief of the SCC is that business relationships do not have to be destroyed in situations of arising disputes. It believes that with mediation, businesses can reach a compromise without marring their relationships.
The features and advantages of mediation include it being business-friendly, cost-efficient, enforceable, fast, and flexible.
The SCC offers disputing parties the services of an emergency arbitrator to give an interim conclusion that can be replaced when a real arbitration process starts. The emergency arbitration hearing is usually concluded within 5 days and stays binding for as long as 30 days where it ceases to be binding on the parties.
A sole arbitrator is usually used for this process, and one is selected within 24 hours of the emergency hearing being filed. The emergency arbitrator may revoke an emergency decision before the accustomed 30 days if any of the parties request. Therefore it is not final or fully enforceable. The SCC has its rules on Emergency Arbitration, and parties can access it in the event of registration.
UNCITRAL at the SCC
The SCC administers arbitrations based on the UNCITRAL arbitration rules and has been involved in this process for many years. The institution generally works as appointing authority and also as an administering body under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules
The SCC major administrative tasks with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules include:
Appointment of arbitrators
Deciding arbitrators challenges
Deciding and administering arbitration costs
Gives Parties major control of how the Arbitration process is handledThe SCC is a global stakeholder in International Commercial arbitration. One of the major reasons for this is its commitment to give disputing parties control over how their cases should go. Arbitration is usually party-driven, and disputing parties generally get to make the majority of the decisions on the arbitration processes. However, The SCC takes the level of control that parties get a notch further by allowing them to decide their arbitrators and the chairperson as long as they can reach an agreement.
The SCC is usually anonymous regarding parties choosing their arbitrators and will not try to influence which arbitrator gets picked for a case. The SCC will accept any arbitrator as long as the person is licensed and has a level of expertise on the case to avoid unnecessary explanations and disjointed hearings.
If, in a situation, a party cannot decide on the arbitrator to represent it, the SCC will not choose an arbitrator but will provide a list of top arbitrators registered on its seats and are professional experts in the case in question. They also provide platforms where parties can also access more arbitrators and choose what they believe will best represent them.
The SCC also aligns well with the arbitration clause and respects the wishes of disputing parties as entrenched in a contract. If the contract is a multi-tier agreement contract with different stages of ADR, the institution ensures that disputing parties try all pre-arbitration options before formally going through an arbitration process.
Top for Investment disputesThe SCC is well involved in the administration of investment disputes. The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and Sweden is internationally involved in participating in investment disputes related to international commercial arbitration. The SCC is one of the three forums for investment disputes.
Most international disputes are generally caused by perceived investment contract breaches, and the SCC is well poised in offering appropriate resolutions for the best settlement. The SCC offers a platform for foreign investors making a claim against powerful states and therefore gives the claimants a fairground to make their claim. The possibility of fairness may be difficult to achieve if the resolution is sought in a law court. Hence the SCC provides claimants with a fair platform to seek compensations for perceived grievances.
Seeks to Offer Solutions and Cut Down On CostsWhile the SCC is a highly rated global institution acknowledged by Europe and Asia as a seat for trade, investment, and business disputes, the institution actually is more than that as it seeks efficiency against protocol. The SCC will not opt for arbitration if it believes that there are other cost-effective ways to properly resolve an international dispute.
International commercial arbitration is generally costly. All related disputes will require parties heavily, especially if the case is complicated and may take a lot of days or hours to resolve. An arbitrator’s average fee is globally hanged around $550 per hour, and if such a case may linger for months or a year and hearings last for days, the parties will have to spend a lot. Also, there are costs for having to set up a tribunal, arrange how hearings are done, and other operational costs.
While arbitration is extremely efficient for settling international disputes, all of these costs can hinder a less financially capable party and put it at an unfair disadvantage, especially if the financially limited one also needs to offer security for costs for the other. The SCC generally aims to eliminate this bias by offering each party in a dispute the possibility of taking other less costly resolution methods to encourage fair hearing and equal ground for an impartial award to be issued.
The SCC generally suggests some of its other resolution services, such as mediation, whose conclusion has the same consequences as an arbitral award. Expedited arbitration is another way the firm aims to cut costs when the case is not complicated. However, it is important to note that the institution does not force its processes on parties and the parties get to make the final decisions as it best benefits them.
Enforceability (The New York Convention)The SCC is one of the best seats that disputing parties would want to solve their international disputes as its award is highly enforceable and can be used in most countries. Sweden is a member party of the overarching 1958 New York Convention, and as such, the SCC award commands a high level of enforceability once it is issued. An award issued and covered by the SCC Arbitration Rules is enforceable in more than 150 countries and covers all the major countries in Europe, Asia, and the United States.
What this means is that parties caught up in an international dispute can easily agree on the SCC and its rules and use it to reach an agreement that can be enforced in most countries. Apart from the award being enforceable, it is also binding and cannot be challenged by any jurisdiction except on special cases when certain requirements are not met or an arbitrator breaches the fairness of the process.
InnovativeFor arbitrators and disputing parties familiar with arbitration, the same scope and Practice of International Commercial Arbitration have changed rapidly. These days, the process of settling a dispute is much faster than it has ever been. More innovative ways have been introduced to quicken hearings and issuing of awards, and top institutions such as the SCC have not only adapted to the trend but are also pacesetters.
The SCC encourages and fully implements the inclusion of technologies in international disputes settlement, and this incorporation was highly explored during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic surge. The SCC was among the firms that actively implemented and encouraged virtual arbitration for case hearings in the first quarter of the year when other institutions were considering whether the system would work or not.
Since the implementation of virtual arbitration in 2020, the Practice has become much more common, and the SCC has continued to use remote hearings to efficiently and effectively resolve disputes.
The great thing about the SCC is that its invention to make dispute resolution easier is limited to remote hearings and cut across into other technology areas. The SCC is actively involved in using technology to transmit data in a simple USB storage device that would have taken the bulk of paperwork that would need to be photocopied.
This move facilitates the ease of passing information across borders and jurisdictions as electronic data transfer will only take a few minutes compared to documents delivery which would take hours to days on the best planning. Also, data transmission is also environmentally friendly as it does not deal with bulk paper consumption.
- Speed and Finality
One of the most important benefits of taking an international dispute to the SCC for resolution is the firm dedication to ensure that the award is issued as soon as possible. While arbitration awards are generally faster to issue and implement than court rulings, the fact still remains that some institutions and set up tribunals are unnecessarily slow with their procedures and, in that light, generally make the finality of the case unnecessarily long.
The SCC is against the Practice of slowness and has a mission to facilitate trade and business resolutions in the timeliest manner. The SCC generally seeks to ensure that arbitrators responsible for a case meet up with scheduled appointments as initially arranged with the disputing parties and, after the conclusion of the hearing, begin the process of typing and publicizing the award. The SCC is not hesitant to enforce sanctions on arbitrators who, for no reason, deliberately slow the hearing process or frustrate the effort of any party.
Also, the SCC also encourages Arbitrators in hearings to avoid unnecessary ‘protocols’ that do not have any real effect in changing the course of a dispute but is more like a time-wasting venture. Arbitrators are encouraged to carry out processes simultaneously instead of sequentially if the consequences will not affect the decision reached at the end of the hearing. With speed and urgency to resolve cases, the SCC generally helps disputing parties quickly reach an agreement and cut down on costs.
PrivacyThe SCC as a firm is extremely confidential and does not in any way put clients’ data at risk. Disputing parties seeking a resolution to their cases are fully protected from the time they supply their information to pay the registration fees up to the time the award is issued. The institution ensures thorough confidentiality of clients to keep their businesses and personalities from prying eyes.
The SCC has a strong cybersecurity system that prevents hackers from stealing websites information or clients’ data before, during, or after hearing and follows through with sensitization of clients so that they do not become easy targets of hackers.