Deals & Cases

Federal Supreme Court facilitates the recognition and enforcement of English language arbitral awards in Switzerland

23 July 2012 – An award debtor attempted to thwart the recognition and enforcement of an English arbitral award asserting that Art. IV para. 2 New York Convention required a mandatory (certified) translation of the whole arbitral award (160 pages).

By decision of 2 July 2012 (5A_754/2011) the Supreme Court decided the issue for the first time. It found that „in today’s cir­cum­stances one may assume that courts will generally not be in need of a translation in the case of English arbitral awards and that the purpose of Art. IV para. 2 NYC can be achieved regardless [of a translation]“. This judgment significantly impro­ves the position of award creditors in Switzerland, since the time and cost of full (certified) translations of sometimes extensive awards may be dispensed with.

With this landmark decision the Supreme Court continues its flexible, pragmatic and non-formalistic interpretation of the New York Convention and reinforces Switzerland’s repu­tation as an arbitration-friendly forum, particularly in enforcement matters.

The award creditor has been represented before all instances by both Peter Straub and Michael Cartier.