Voluntary Solutions to Procedural Problems - Chapter 14 - Between East and West: Essays in Honour of Ulf Franke
Lars Göthlin is a Partner of A1 Advokater. He is a frequent arbitrator and mediator in domestic and international disputes. From 1971-1975 he was secretary in charge at the SCC Institute. He has been general counsel to leading companies and from 1993 to 2010 was a Partner of Advokatfirman Södermark.
Mattias Bexelius is an associate lawyer at A1 Advokater. After graduating from Lund University in 2005 he was a law clerk at Södra Roslag’s district court. In 2007 he joined Advokatfirman Södermark and has since specialized in dispute resolution. He has been a tutor at the faculty of law in Lund.
Originally from Between East and West: Essays in Honour of Ulf Franke
Any arbitrator strives to make the arbitration run smoothly. The goal is to manage the proceedings so as to help the parties to exchange their briefs in time, to clarify their respective position, and to present their cases so that the main hearing is all about relevant issues of law and facts.
The first step towards such a goal is usually to set a timetable for the proceedings in a procedural order. Under Article 23 of the Arbitration Rules of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (the SCC Rules), the Arbitral Tribunal must promptly consult with the parties after referral of the case to the Arbitral Tribunal, with a view to establishing a provisional timetable for conduct of the arbitration. The provisional timetable must be sent to the parties and to the Secretariat.
When deciding the timetable for the proceedings, the chairman has to consider many factors, such as the scope and nature of the dispute, the nationality and location of the parties, counsel, representatives and witnesses and the presence of any foreseeable procedural obstacle that has to be dealt with before the main hearing. The parties may have their own reasons for certain solutions and timeframes which must be taken into consideration. It is often possible for the chairman to make the parties agree regarding the timetable. If they do, the timetable should reflect their wishes—although it can be said that parties sometimes have overly optimistic ideas about expediency. If the parties do not agree, the arbitrator must decide. When deciding, it is desirable to strike a fair balance between the parties.
The timetable can be more or less strict. It is possible to set deadlines that do not allow for any deviation, which of course is of some value as it may keep the parties from obstructing the proceedings. In our opinion, it is better to set the timetable so that the main hearing can take place on a set date, but with room for minor deviations when it comes to submission of briefs. It is often genuinely difficult to foresee developments in a case beforehand, at least in bigger cases.