Arbitration in Sweden
By choosing Sweden as the place of arbitration, commercial parties are guaranteed the respect of the fundamental arbitral principle of party autonomy and the safeguarding of the arbitral process by independent, arbitration friendly courts. Swedish arbitration law is advanced and in line with current best practice of international arbitration.
History of Arbitration in Sweden
Alternative forms of dispute resolution have been supported by Swedish law since the Middle Ages. With the establishment of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (the SCC) in 1917, the foundation was laid for Sweden to become a preferred place for the resolution of international disputes. In the 1970’s, the American Arbitration Association and the USSR Chamber of Commerce and Industry agreed to recognise Sweden and the SCC as a neutral locale for dispute resolution involving parties from the United States and the Soviet Union. Other East/West disputes have followed, and over time Sweden has become accepted as one of the most favoured places for international dispute resolution.
Procedural culture at the cross-roads between civil law and common law
Parties are essentially free to structure their arbitrations in Sweden as they see fit. Sweden’s procedural traditions are particularly suitable for international arbitration, being a combination of Continental European civil law and common law traditions. The procedure is principally adversarial, as opposed to inquisitorial, with the parties themselves essentially controlling the facts and evidence to be introduced. In particular examination of witnesses is conducted by counsel for the parties. On matters of evidence, including the disclosure/production of documents, Swedish law reflects best practices in international arbitration and is generally in line with the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration.
The international culture
As a nation, Sweden has a history of being a free trading and export dependant country, with a strong international presence. Paired with Sweden’s reputation of being neutral and having independent, arbitration friendly courts, this makes Sweden an ideal venue for international arbitration.
Swedish substantive law: neutral and unsurprising
It is not unusual for parties agreeing to arbitrate in Sweden also to agree upon Swedish law as the substantive law governing their underlying contract. Swedish contract law principles – including as to contract formation, invalidity, breach and remedies – are both neutral and unsurprising. Swedish contract law largely corresponds to the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, and thereby conforms to the expectations of international commerce. While Sweden has no Civil Code, its commercial law is well set out in a number of statutes as well as in a body of case law, making it readily available and understandable to civil law and common law practitioners alike.