History and background
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), founded in 1917, has a long history as a forum for arbitration. The SCC gained recognition on the global stage in the 1970s, when the United States and the Soviet Union chose Stockholm as neutral ground for the resolution of East-West trade disputes. China also recognised the SCC as a forum for resolving international disputes around the same time. The SCC has since expanded its services in international commercial arbitration and emerged as one of the most important and frequently used arbitration institutions worldwide.
Sweden and the SCC also play a unique role in the international system developed for bilateral and multilateral investment protection worldwide. Today, the SCC is the world’s second largest institution for investment disputes under its own rules. In at least 120 of the current bilateral investment treaties (BITs), Sweden or the SCC is cited as the forum for resolving disputes between investors and the state.
In 2017, its centennial year, the SCC released a documentary film, The Quiet Triumph – How Arbitration Changed the World, which portrays the role of arbitration in world affairs.
Structure and statistics
The SCC is part of, but independent from, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The SCC consists of a board and a secretariat. The board is composed of one chairperson, two or three vice chairpersons, and a maximum of 12 additional members. It includes both Swedish and non-Swedish nationals, all of whom are distinguished and highly qualified experts in international dispute resolution – both commercial and investment arbitration. The function of the board is to make decisions as required under the SCC Rules; for example, decisions regarding prima facie jurisdiction, appointment of arbitrators and the costs of the arbitration.
SCC’s secretary general, Annette Magnusson, leads the secretariat, which has a multilingual staff of 14 people and handles daily case management, organisation of events, production of publications, etc. Cases are administered in English, Swedish or Russian and allotted to one of three divisions, each consisting of a legal counsel and a case administrator. Any other agreed language may be used in the arbitral proceedings before the tribunal, once it has been constituted.
The total value in dispute for all cases commenced in 2018 amounted to €13.3 billion. A total of 152 cases were registered, of which half (76) were international disputes, involving parties from 43 countries. Of the registered cases, 89 were filed under the SCC Arbitration Rules, and 52 under the SCC Rules for Expedited Arbitrations. In 2018, there was a notable increase in gender diversity among the appointed arbitrators: 27% of all appointments were women, compared to 18% in 2017.
Practice and Arbitration Rules
As of 1 January 2017, revised SCC Arbitration Rules and SCC Rules for Expedited Arbitration entered into force. The purpose of the revision was to streamline certain arbitral procedures, respond to user demands for more time- and cost-efficient proceedings, and accommodate global trends and developments in arbitral practice.
Recurring themes in SCC cases are East-West arbitration, investment arbitration (ECT, BITs) and energy-related arbitration
International involvement and innovations
In addition to case management, the SCC focuses strongly on policy, and the development of international arbitration at large through involvement in international bodies such as UNCITRAL.
In 2017, the SCC initiated the Stockholm Treaty Lab, a global competition to innovate new international law for the purpose of climate-change mitigation and adaptation. The 2017-2018 edition of the competition attracted innovators from four continents and more than 25 countries. As their prize, the two commended teams were given the chance to present their ideas in various global forums such as the Paris Peace Forum 2018 and COP 24.
The continuous focus on innovation at the SCC led to the launch of the SCC Platform in September 2019 – a secure digital platform for all communication and file-sharing between the SCC, the parties and the tribunal.