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New SCC Practice Note – Emergency Arbitrator Decisions

A European company and an Asian company are having a dispute regarding the termination of their contract. The European company applied for an emergency arbitrator proceeding at the SCC to stop the Asian company from delivering the product to a third-party buyer. This case stands as just one of many emergency arbitrator decisions summarized by Evelina Wahlström in the latest SCC Practice Note spanning from 2019 to 2022.

Published 2023-10-19

Practice Note - Emergency Arbitrator Proceedings

The emergency arbitrator procedure in short: 

  • Parties with an arbitration clause referring to the SCC Arbitration Rules or the SCC Expedited Arbitration Rules may apply for an emergency arbitrator. 
  • An emergency arbitrator is appointed within 24 hours of the request.
  • The emergency arbitrator renders a decision within five days.

What are the key highlights in this Practice Note?

For the SCC, as an arbitration institute, it's very encouraging to see that our rules are used in so many jurisdictions. Between 2019 and 2022, parties from 28 different countries participated in SCC's emergency arbitrator proceedings, and all cases administered were international.

Why did you write the Practice Note?

I know that previous practice notes on our emergency arbitrator proceedings have been appreciated by the arbitration community, and I hope that this one will be well received as well. These practice notes are a way for the SCC to share some of our most interesting insights and for the arbitration community to gain information about what it means to commence emergency arbitrator proceedings under the SCC rules.

The report mentions that the SCC received 69 applications for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator. Can you share some insights into the types of cases that typically require emergency arbitration?

There are no typical cases that require emergency arbitration; this tool can be used under any type of agreement. The key here is that the requirements for an interim decision must be met for an applicant to be successful. An applicant needs to show that the matter is urgent, that they will incur irreparable harm without an interim decision, that the request for relief is proportional to the consequences to be averted, and that the applicant has at least a prima facie case.

Can you share any anecdotes from your experience as Head of Quality and Legal Counsel that highlight the challenges and significance of appointing an emergency arbitrator?

The aim for the SCC is to appoint an emergency arbitrator within 24 hours from the receipt of the application, regardless of whether the application is submitted during the week or the weekend. The same goes for national holidays, and I think that we have received an application for every Swedish holiday there is: Christmas, New Year's, Easter, Midsummer, etc. It is definitely an experience calling a potential arbitrator on Christmas Eve, asking if they're interested in an appointment as an arbitrator! As for the 24-hour deadline, we have succeeded every time with one exception (this was due to the application being sent to the wrong email address), but it has been close a couple of times. I once appointed an emergency arbitrator with only ten minutes to spare. It was quite stressful, to be honest.

Read the Practice Note


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