In its decision 6 Ob 195/17w dated 17 January 2018, the Austrian Supreme Court decided that the form requirements for an arbitration agreement also apply to the authorisation to an agent to enter into an arbitration agreement (or a contract containing an arbitration agreement). I. Stopping the movement towards a liberalisation of form requirements Austria…

In the context of the backlash against investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”), one of the main criticisms is the asymmetric nature of investment treaties, which impose numerous obligations on the States, but do not seem to hold corporations accountable for the social, environmental and economic consequences of their activities. Some recent developments reflect a redirection away…

Since their inception in 1975, the Vienna Rules (Rules of Arbitration and Mediation of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre) have undergone a number of major reforms keeping them abreast of the fast-moving tides of legal development in international arbitration. The latest revision of the Rules as from 1 January 2018 (previously covered in this blog)…

Historic grandeur, impressive architecture, outstanding cultural offerings, natural beauty and diversity, good value for money, beauty, safety, timelessness… Austria truly has a lot going for itself. Yet, should this still not be enough to tempt arbitration users and practitioners around the globe, the new Arbitration and Mediation Rules of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC)…

The development of effective instruments for collective redress is a widely discussed topic among European politicians, consumer protectors, legal scholars and dispute resolution lawyers. The professional discourse was recently fuelled by the Volkswagen emission scandal (also referred to as “emissiongate” or “dieselgate”), which, at least in the US, was already subject to collective actions. Another…

On 1 March 2017 the Austrian Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof) ruled on whether potential claims under the Austrian Commercial Agents Act (Handelsvertretergesetz) can be brought before an Austrian court even if the underlying agency agreement contains an arbitration clause and is governed by the laws of New York (OGH 1.3.2017, 5 Ob 72/16y). The judgment…

The tug-of-war between transparency and confidentiality was a subject of lively discussions at the 2017 Vienna Arbitration Days. Vienna Arbitration Days is Austria’s leading arbitration conference. Every year, it brings together arbitration practitioners and academics from around the world to discuss ADR developments. The presentations and panel discussions are followed by the “World Café”, which…

The decisive underlying reasoning (motifs, Begründung) is, without doubt, an essential part of any arbitral award and as such bears the potential of frustrating parties and arbitrators alike. On the one hand, elaborate reasoning in arbitral awards more often than not comes at the price of long waiting periods for the issuance of the awards,…

One of the main advantages of arbitration vis-à-vis state court litigation, is that the parties are free to choose independent and highly specialised experts to decide their cases. Yet, if these experts negligently (or even deliberately) violate the duties that come with the acceptance of the appointment, the issue of liability arises. One may think…

The New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“NYC“) was drafted in the spirit and with the purpose of encouraging arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism, by providing for the simple and swift international enforcement of arbitral awards. Today, the NYC’s reach is – with the exception of a few…

In its decision of 17.2.2014, the Austrian Supreme Court decided on a claimant’s request for reimbursement of the portion of the fees advanced to the arbitrator whom it had successfully challenged during ongoing proceedings and on his liability for frustrated costs caused by the challenge and the appointment of a new arbitrator. Further, the claimant…