Different time limits play an important role in arbitration. For example, a challenge action against an arbitral award must be brought within three months from the date in which the party received the award (Section 34 of the Swedish Arbitration Act). In three cases concerning the time limit for bringing a challenge action against an arbitral award, the Swedish Supreme Court formulated a principle to determine the exact time of receipt. This, in turn, is the time at which the clock for challenging the award starts running. I will refer to this point of time as the “day of receipt.”
The principle, as formulated by the Supreme Court, contains on the one hand an objective prerequisite and on the other hand a subjective prerequisite. In the opinion of the Court, the day of receipt will not arise until both prerequisites are fulfilled. In addition, the Supreme Court has further opined that the time limit does not start to run until the complete award has been received. Reasonably, this principle should apply not only to the time limit for challenge actions, but to all time limits in the field of Swedish arbitration law wherein a party has received a written notice relevant to the triggering of a time limit.
Under the Swedish Arbitration Act, when the arbitral award has been signed by the arbitrators, the arbitrators are required to immediately send the award to the parties (Section 31). Although the arbitrators are under no obligation to ensure that the parties receive the award, they should strive to attain that goal. There should be no uncertainty as to when the “day of receipt” occurs.