The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, known as The SCC for short, is the National Arbitration Institution For Sweden and houses some of the best-registered Arbitrators in the country. Based in Stockholm, the institution is one of the best globally and has enforceability in over 150 countries. The SCC has continued to be a source of dispute resolution with its rules; The SCC Arbitration Rules are acknowledged globally.
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is a subsidiary of Sweden SCC but is fully independent and has its own rules; the Stockholm Arbitration Rules. The Rules cover everything about arbitration and are meant to help aspiring arbitrators seeking appointments into the SCC and disputing parties seeking its seat for dispute resolution.
The SCC is well known for resolving Commercial Arbitration in Sweden. It also deals in International commercial arbitration where the disputing parties are of foreign nationalities or the asset or contract from which grievances arise outside Sweden’s shores. Yearly the SCC handles hundreds of international commercial arbitration disputes which include, investment disputes, energy disputes, trade, and businesses. It is also well known for its reputation as a transparent and impartial institution that seeks to facilitate a seamless arbitration process and ensure that award is issued as quickly as possible.
While The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) is undoubtedly a global institution to reckon with, only very few observers, especially from the outside, know the history and journey that shaped the institution to what it is today. The SCC, over decades and years, has gone through different changes and stages to become a global firm where disputing parties come to settle their grievances without taking the option of the judiciary court.
This article will go through memory lane and discuss the history of the SCC, the improvements made in the institution, the most significant development, its services, how arbitrators are appointed, and how disputing parties can seek its seat.
The History of SCC
The SCC’s mission is to facilitate business and trade, and from the beginning of its establishment, that has been the goal. Sweden is part of the member country signed into the New York Convention, and by default, the SCC Arbitration Rules and awards from its beginning days were enforceable in all member countries. The SCC has continuously stated that it is open to change, and this has been fully evident in its processes and subsequent development.
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) was founded in the early part of 1917 and is an independent arm of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. During its establishment, it was quickly designed to be the national arbitration institution of Sweden and was responsible for the arbitration rules guiding arbitration and arbitrators in Sweden or as entrenched in an arbitration, respectively.
In its early years as an arbitration institute, the SCC developed vastly and was recognized by the Soviet Union, the United States, and Asia as a neutral and independent center to resolve trade disputes for Eastern and Western European trade. The SCC was recognized by China at that same time as a platform for settling international disputes.
The SCC, however, expanded its services from trade disputes resolution in the following years and spread its wing into more areas of international commercial arbitration. As a result, it is currently involved in all types of commercial arbitration, and its rules are often used by arbitration tribunals globally.
Cases filed with the SCC (including domestic and international cases) have increased significantly. For example, the 50% increase of cases in 2020 from 2019, established the SCC as an international institution and a global arbitration powerhouse. This increase emphasizes the institution’s position as one of the most preferred venues/platforms for resolving disputes outside the court among the international commercial community. According to the institution statistics, many international parties from thirty to forty countries use SCC Arbitration rules and services.
The SCC has an operation and an administrative Board divided into the Board and a Secretariat. Both arms help the institution offer efficient resolution services on/for domestic cases between Swedish parties and international foreign parties (where a party is of a different state from the other party).
The SCC and Sweden are major players when it comes to protecting bilateral and multilateral investment globally. The institution is among the most trusted seats for ensuring freedom and equality on hearings. In more than 120 of the current bilateral investment treaties (BITs), Sweden or the SCC is cited as the forum for resolving disputes between investors and the State. Presently the SCC is acknowledged as one of the biggest institutions for investment disputes.
The Development of SCC
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of commerce (SCC) has significantly progressed over time and is now known as a world-class arbitration institution for resolving disputes. Since its establishment, it has continued to grow vastly and as it stands among international arbitration institutions rated globally.
The SCC, part of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, has acquired extensive experience in resolving disputes outside the court for over 100 years. During this time, the SCC has developed into a significant and premier arbitration institution globally for east-west-related disputes. Today, the SCC is considered an international center for dispute settlements, and disputing parties from more than 40 countries choose it for settling their disputes yearly.
The Stockholm Chamber of commerce is generally focused on resolving disputes outside the judiciary court, and its major mission is to resolve disputes.
Specifically, the SCC attends all kinds of trade, businesses, investments, and cases concerning Commercial Arbitration in Sweden and worldwide. It uses arbitrators and an arbitration tribunal for resolving disputes. SCC as an institution has also successfully served as a source for resolving thousands of International commercial arbitration disputes. Its processes, models, and rules are well trusted, and its awards are well enforceable over Asia and all of Europe, whether the concerned countries practice Civil law or Common law.
The SCC Services
The SCC clearly states that its mission is to vacillate business and trade domestically and internationally. The SCC pursues this mission by resolving disputes through arbitration. It provides a neutral, impartial, and independent venue for dispute resolution in commercial trade and businesses globally. The SCC’s primary service is to provide dispute resolution.
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) offers dispute resolution services (DRS) to Sweden and also the international commercial business communities. The major model and tool of the firm are to use arbitrators (which could be a sole arbitrator (one arbitrator) or a tribunal) to resolve all types of commercial disputes such that the parties involved are offered a binding solution via an award. The awards and the decision of the SCC are final, binding, and enforceable in majorly every member party signed into the New York Convention (NYC) law.
Apart from direct arbitration as the major source of resolving disputes, the SCC also offers arbitration-related and mediation services for resolving disputes. These services are generally more cost-effective than normal arbitration and are best implemented for cases that are not too complex and can be easily settled.
The model of the other services offered by The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is similar to its arbitration rules. These alternative forms of dispute resolution methods can also be implemented domestically in Sweden and international cases where one or all parties have non-Sweden nationalities.
The SCC states that its services help parties in international trade and commerce disputes sort out their differences and grievances without visiting the courtroom. The SCC states that it performs dispute resolution via arbitration, a shorter and more efficient dispute resolution than the judiciary courts.
The SCC has been able to create a reputation for resolving disputes with innovative processes such that disputing parties can quickly reach a resolution and move on with their normal businesses. Surveys performed by the institutions, parties, and interested stakeholders on dispute resolution have stated that The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce provides a faster and impartial platform for resolving disputes than the Sweden courts.
The SCC also accepts Alternative Dispute Resolution methods (ADR) for resolving disputes and usually handles Multi-tier agreement contracts between disputing parties. The ADR helps parties achieve a resolution before arbitration is considered and is great for cutting the cost of hiring arbitrators and setting up a tribunal. This service is not available in the courts. Hence this alternative resolution method gives the Sweden national arbitration institute the services that disputing parties very much appreciate when they are looking to cut costs.
The SCC follows the general protocols of other renowned national institutes. As such, disputing parties get to make the major decisions on how the tribunal should be set up, the number of arbitrators, and even the time when the hearings should commence.
The SCC offers other top firms’ services and does a little more, making them really unique. Their services for dispute resolution are outlined below.
The SCC’s major way of resolving disputes is via arbitration. The institution offers a fast and efficient resolution/solution to a dispute. Arbitration is the major specialty of the SCC, and hearings sum up to hundreds yearly. The SCC offers extremely quick, confidential, and impartial awards. It follows all due processes in hearings, and none of its services are over rushed. The SCC arbitral award is enforceable in over 150 countries, making it one of the biggest institutions globally.
The institution exploits the efficiency and independence of international commercial arbitration over the public courtroom in helping parties resolve their disputes. Generally, arbitration is a more preferred institution to courts, and the SCC ensures that all due protocols are followed so that parties do not feel they are being treated unfairly.
According to the SCC, for arbitration to be possible, the disputing parties must agree to the binding and enforceability of the system award to permanently resolve the disputes. Also, the SCC mandates that all active arbitrators in a case agree to be impartial, independent and disclose their relationship with each party. The processes of all arbitration cases and hearings are performed under the SCC Arbitration Rules.
For SCC arbitration to be possible, the disputing parties must need to include an arbitration clause in their contracts during their business agreements. This will make it easy for any of the parties to activate the clause. Nevertheless, disagreeing parties can still see the SCC arbitration rules for resolving disputes even when such a clause is not embedded in their contract or agreement.
All they need to do is fully agree to the SCC, like any other institution cannot legally apply arbitration for settlement. The parties must also agree to the supremacy and enforceability of the award in case an Arbitration clause is not included.
The role of the SCC within the scope of the procedure is to make decisions under the SCC Arbitration Rules. The SCC scope is placed in four major categories
• Appoint arbitrators
• Determine the costs of the arbitration
• Decide on challenges to arbitrators
• Ensure the award is made on time
For the SCC to implement arbitration, at least one of the parties must file a request for arbitration with the institution. For the request to be valid, the claimant will need to pay a registration fee to the SCC.
The SCC Arbitration hearing and award issuing is a one-time decision and cannot be appealed after it is issued. However, the SCC is regulated by the Sweden national laws, and a disgruntled party can challenge an award in a court if it believes there have been real legal breaches from the hearing process to that of the decision. Certain requirements guide the SCC, and all of these requirements must be met when an arbitral tribunal issues awards after hearings. If the party has evidence that the SCC did not follow the rules as they are supposed to then, the court can pass a judgment that the award is annulled.
- Expedited Arbitration
The Expedited Arbitration is simply a legal font in which the SCC administers resolution processes for disputes adjudged to be more straightforward. The Expedited Arbitrations rules ensure that a sole arbitrator always decides disputes, and the parties will have to agree to it before it can be carried out. Thus, the Expedited Arbitration rules under the SCC are different from general arbitration, and the parties involved in the disputes must first agree to it for it to be possible.
The features of the Expedited Arbitration are as follows:
Expedited Arbitration as a form of hearing is generally faster because it is used to handle disputes when grievances are yet to escalate.
The parties get to agree on the procedure and that it should be used before arbitration is considered. Both parties must fully agree to this procedure on a contract for it to be established.
This procedure is generally administered under disputing parties that agree to be confidential.
The arbitral award of this procedure is just as enforceable as general arbitration. It can be enforced in over 150 countries, according to the 1958 New York Convention.
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 as opposed to arbitration. The belief of the SCC is that business relationships do not have to be destroyed in situations of arising disputes, and it believes that with mediation, businesses can reach a compromise without marring their relationships. The features of mediation are as follows:
The SCC’s aim with mediation is to help parties resolve their disputes without necessarily having to sacrifice their business relationship. The aim is to simply ensure that all parties are satisfied without any heavy financial consequences.
Mediation is considered a quick and less costly resolution method. This means that disputing parties can quickly settle and focus on profitable and important business activities. This prevents them from also spending money time resolving simple disputes.
Unlike a simple mediation settlement, the SCC confirms and enforces its settlement with an arbitral award, making the conclusion binding.
The SCC ensures that its mediation is generally completed between one to two days. There may be additional days on weekends.
Just like in arbitration, the parties are well involved and control the process of the resolution.
- Emergency Arbitrator
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 normally selected within 24 from when the emergency hearing is filed. However, the emergency arbitrator may revoke an emergency decision before the accustomed 30 days if any parties request it, and it is therefore 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 under 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 same Rules
The SCC major administrative tasks in accordance to the UNCITRAL Rules include:
a. Appointment of arbitrators
b. Deciding arbitrators challenges
c. Deciding and administering arbitration costs
- Investment Disputes
The 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 out of the three forums for investment disputes. While the SCC usually plays the role of a major actor in Investments disputes, it can play other roles, and parties only need to register with the institution to access these benefits.
The SCC Appointment of Arbitrators
With the unprecedented development of the SCC, many areas of concern, especially on its dealings with appointing arbitrators, have been an area of interest. The appointment of arbitrators is extremely important when creating an arbitral tribunal. The institution has laid down rules that guide how these appointments are made, and they are generally simple such that disputing parties can easily understand them.
The arbitral tribunal composition is covered and taken into account by the SCC outlined Arbitration Rules (SAR) and the Expedited Arbitration Rules. These Rules outline how arbitrators should be appointed and what it takes to set up an arbitral tribunal. The SCC rules for arbitrators’ appointments have been reviewed over time. This section will outline the current determinants and conditions that encompass everything about SCC Arbitrators, how they are recruited, and how they can be legally appointed to resolve disputes.
How Does the SCC Appoint Arbitrators and who Can Be an SCC Arbitrator?
The SCC does not discriminate on who can be an arbitrator. The institution does not exactly request any form of stringent requirement, except that the appointed arbitrator has a level of understanding of the field of the dispute to allow a seamless process. Hence for the SCC, arbitrators can actually be non-lawyers and could be any professional who has sufficient expertise that is or could be significant to a dispute.
However, the majority of the SCC are lawyers, law professors, Judges, Scholars, and a few professionals outside these fields. The SCC states that most of its arbitrators are lawyers because the philosophy of law and arbitration are similar, with their major goals universally aligned.
The SCC, however, requires that anybody who intends to serve as an arbitrator must have at least an expert certification that makes them fit for a case. Other qualifications and small requirements may be considered for an arbitrator as entrenched in the SCC Rules or in the Swedish Arbitration Act (SAA), which is also applicable to arbitrators 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.
While the SCC has its specific rules on the eligibility of arbitrators, the institution does not have a roster that lists all Stockholm arbitrators. Any qualified independent can serve as an Arbitrator for a hearing, and parties are allowed to make their decision when it comes to choosing their arbitrators.
The SCC could also offer to help parties get good arbitrators if they do not have planned arbitrators for their cases. The institution provides parties with a list of potential candidates that meets certain criteria such that they are deemed fit for the case on hand. The SCC also offers users other options for getting arbitrators. Parties can access arbitrators by searching through profiles on platforms such as GAR ART, Arbitrator Intelligence, ArbiLex, Jus Mundi, and other similar platforms.
The SCC states rules and requirements for an arbitral tribunal to be legal are fully covered by the SCC Arbitration Rules and the SCC Rules for Expedited Arbitrations.
Arbitrators Appointment in the SCC?
The SCC is not exactly stringent on how parties choose to appoint arbitrators as it has a mission to allow hearings ad independent, impartial and transparent as possible. Under the SCC Arbitration Rules, the disputing has the right to decide to collectively choose a sole arbitrator to resolve a case and issue an award, or they can both choose their arbitrators and set up a tribunal. Each party can get as many arbitrators as possible as long as they are both agreed on how many they can get.
In a situation where the parties cannot come to an agreement on the parties to pick, the SCC Board has the right to pick the number of arbitrators that each party can access. The Board considers the case’s complexity and then decides on the number of arbitrators to go for. Other factors that are also considered include the amount or claim at stake and the financial strength of each party to pursue the hearing process to the end.
The SCC formerly uses a default of three arbitrators for cases where disputing parties find it difficult to agree on the number of arbitrators they can get. However, following the 2017 revision of the SCC Arbitration Rules, which is the most recent review, the default of getting three arbitrators was removed. The Board could agree from any number of one arbitrator to more than three. From 2017 to 2021, the SCC has used just one to three arbitrators for hearings on default.
Who appoints SCC Arbitrators for Cases?
As already stated, parties get to appoint their own arbitrators, and the SCC statistics for 2019 and 2021 showed on average that for all cases heard, disputing parties appointed their own arbitrators for 65%. The SCC only got to appoint arbitrators for just 35% of the cases. For the 35% of Arbitrators appointed, 70% were simply sole arbitrators’ appointments.
When the SCC decides on the number of arbitrators that can be appointed, parties get to choose their arbitrators themselves. However, for a sole arbitrator appointment, the parties must collectively pick an arbitrator. If a decision cannot be made on the appointment of the arbitrator, the SCC gets to make the appointment, picking the most independent arbitrator relevant to the case.
For a three-person arbitrator tribunal, each party picks their own arbitrator, while they jointly pick the chairperson (arbitrator that makes the final decision). If parties cannot collectively choose the chairperson, their personal arbitrators can be given the mandate to collectively choose a chairperson. If the parties still disagree on their arbitrators’ recommendation, the SCC will have to appoint a chairperson.
If a party fails to appoint an arbitrator in a multi-party arbitration dispute, the SCC Board may appoint the entire tribunal.
The factors taken into consideration when appointing an arbitrator Via SCC Arbitration Rules
The SCC primarily considers a number of actors when it comes to the appointment of arbitrators. These factors are covered under the SCC Rules and also on its Policy in the section concerning the Appointment of Arbitrators. The factors being considered include the following:
• The Nature and Circumstances of the Dispute : In consideration of these factors, the SCC gives the party an understanding of the required expertise/specialization for deciding the dispute.
• Experience as an Arbitrator : the SCC tries to ensure that that sole arbitrator or chairperson intended to manage the dispute is well-grounded as an arbitrator such that he can efficiently manage the hearing process up to the issuing of an award. The seat, the law to be applied, and the chosen language for the arbitration process are also considerations of consideration.
• Nationality : If the parties are of foreign nationalities, the chairperson or sole arbitrator will typically be of different nationalities to any of the parties.
• Availability of the Arbitrator : The arbitrators should always be available based on the time stipulated by the disputing parties and must try to ensure that a decision is reached at the expected time by the applicable SCC Rules.
• Tribunal Balance : The SCC requires that in a three-member tribunal, there should be a balance of arbitrators’ qualifications, expertise, language seniority, and other factors relevant to the case. However, this is optional, and parties at the end have the mandate to choose the arbitrator they believe can best represent their claim or response.
• Diversity : The SCC actively seeks to entrench diversity in cases, and in a situation where disputing parties have chosen an arbitrator of the same gender, the SCC will by default appoint a different gender as the chairperson. However, when the disputing parties jointly appoint the chairperson, the Board will encourage them to go for gender diversity. Other things that the SCC considers to encourage diversity are also age and the nationality of arbitrators.
How Professionals Get Appointed as an SCC Arbitrator?
While the SCC does not have a list or roster for its arbitrators and may easily appoint professionals from any field of study, the institution prioritizes that any arbitrator who desires to be appointed should summarily meet certain requirements. The requirement includes expertise and experience from various industries, areas of legal and business issues, and possession of relevant skills for a particular case when appointed.
The SCC is gender embracing and does not have a problem appointing professionals irrespective of their gender as it aims to promote diversity.
To be appointed as an SCC arbitrator, aspiring professionals will have to register their CV with the institution. The SCC will have to consider the submitted CV and the professional’s qualifications. Professionals should receive appointment notification after a while following a submitted CV.
For already registered SCC arbitrators, the institution requires that they constantly update their information and qualifications so as to make it easy for the SCC to place them as recommendations for certain cases.
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) has grown to be the most influential global arbitration seat and dispute resolution. The institution is the arbitration house for Sweden and is the major house for Commercial Arbitration in Sweden and International commercial arbitration when disputing parties of foreign nationalities are involved.
The SCC has consistently climbed the ladder of growth and is now among the most reputable institutions where disputing parties can get transparent and impartial resolutions. The institution has better methods of appointing arbitrators and offers a range of dispute resolution services apart from arbitration.
While the SCC has continued to grow and better its processes, there are also smaller arbitration institutions in Sweden that have improved and become innovative in performing services, and one of these firms is Rattsakuten.
Rattsakuten is one of the major firms based in Sweden that handle domestic Commercial Arbitration in Sweden and International commercial arbitration. The firm houses some of the best professional arbitrators in Sweden and the international community and ensures that its clients are well represented in a dispute. The firm can be reached via call for further inquiries concerning its arbitration process and award enforceability.
Rattsakuten is a leading law firm focused on Commercial Arbitration and Dispute Resolution. Based in Sweden, Rattsakuten handles dispute resolution and Arbitration matters before the SCC (Swedish Chamber of Commerce), ICC, HKIAC, and several other Arbitration tribunals.