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Diligence is required when determining the 30-day deadline for challenging awards

28 April 2015

Authors: Nathalie Voser; Angelina M. Petti

The Swiss Supreme Court has declared that a petition to challenge an arbitral award was inadmissible on the grounds that it had not been filed within the 30-day deadline to set aside an award.

In this ad hoc arbitration, the parties had not expressly agreed on the method by which the tribunal was to communicate its final award to the parties and the arbitration rules agreed upon at the outset of the arbitration were silent on the issue. Therefore, the Swiss Supreme Court reviewed the method of communication used between the tribunal and the parties during the arbitration. The court found that the tribunal and the parties had previously communicated by email and therefore considered that the starting point for the 30-day deadline to set-aside an award also commenced upon the notification of the award from the tribunal to the parties by email. This was irrespective of the date on which counsel for the petitioner received the original award in hardcopy.

As a "take-away" from this decision, where parties decide to pursue ad hoc arbitration they should be careful to either agree on the pursued method for communicating awards, or in the absence of such agreement, file well within 30 days from the notice of the award according to the method of communication adopted by the parties and arbitrators during the proceedings. (Decision 4A_609/2014).

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Published in Practical Law Arbitration

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Elliott Geisinger
Elliott Geisinger

Nathalie Voser
Nathalie Voser

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