The Arbitral Proceedings (SAR) 1999-1
Sigvard Jarvin, partner Lagerlöf & Leman, Linklaters & Alliance, Stockholm and Paris; Former General Counsel to the ICC International Court of Arbitration General Editor of the Stockholm Arbitration Report.
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Preview Page SAR 1999- 1
1. Request for Arbitration (Section 19 of the Act; Article 5 of the SCC Rules) Section 19 of the new Swedish Arbitration Act provides that, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the arbitral proceedings are initiated when a party receives a request for arbitration. A request for arbitration must be in writing and include an express and unconditional request for arbitration, details of the issue covered by the arbitration agreement and to be resolved by the arbitrators, and details of the party's choice of arbitrator where the party is required to appoint one. The new Act requires that the request for arbitration must be in writing. This is a new provision which did not exist in the 1929 Act. However, in practice, the majority of requests for arbitration have always been made in writing. What must be included in a request for arbitration in order for it to be valid? Contrary to Swedish court procedure, the Claimant in an arbitration governed by the Act need not specify the relief sought and all the circumstances upon which he bases his action. It is enough for the Claimant to express a request for arbitration and, in general, to set out the issues which are to be decided by the arbitrators. This is an important distinction since, in Swedish court proceedings, the judge may not grant different or more extensive relief than has been properly demanded by a party. The parties' prayers for relief in court proceedings place limitations on the relief eventually granted. The rule in Swedish law, as regards court proceedings, differs from the law and practice of many other countries where there is no such requirement and where it is left to the discretion of the court to decide what relief should be granted. Under the new Act, the arbitrators and the Respondent will from the start be informed of the issues to be decided; the arbitrators will request from the Claimant, at a later stage, exact prayers for relief. When considering this provision, the Swedish government discussed the desirability of requesting that the Claimant precisely indicated its prayers for relief at the request stage. This would have the advantage of informing the Respondent of the relief sought, and therefore of the limits of the arbitral proceedings, at an early stage. However, considering the right for a party to modify