In a French-language decision dated 26 April 2016 but only recently published, which is slated for official publication in the court reporter, the Swiss Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to a partial award rendered by the arbitral tribunal after only one round of written submissions. It held that, as the parties had agreed to such a limitation, the arbitral tribunal was entitled to reject the claimants' request to allow further submissions or rebuttal evidence. Unlike in state court proceedings, there is no absolute "right to respond" in international arbitration.
The decision provides useful guidance for arbitrators faced with this kind of issue. It should also serve as a warning to counsel to evaluate the risks of agreeing to a limitation of the proceedings and to ensure that they and their client are fully aware of the potential consequences of such an agreement. (Decision 4A_342/2015.)
Published in Practical Law Arbitration