- Arbitral tribunal’s global rejection of ‘fishing expedition’ upheld by Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT 4A_438/2020)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Arbitration analysis: The present case concerned the global rejection of various document production requests as a so-called ‘fishing expedition’ by the arbitral tribunal without any specific further explanations on the individual requests. The Swiss Federal Tribunal dismissed an application to set aside the award for an alleged infringement of the right to be heard. From a substantive point of view, it considered that overly broad phrasing of requests in terms of ‘any and all’ documents without specific explanations on the relevance of these documents for the decision may be globally rejected as ‘fishing expedition’ and no further reasoning is required. From a formal point of view, the Swiss Federal Tribunal considered that the applicant failed to insist on its requests or to place an objection after the president of the tribunal had given the reasoning of the ‘fishing expedition’ during the hearing. The Swiss Federal Tribunal also noted that both parties confirmed after the hearing that they had no objections on the manner in which the proceedings were conducted. For these reasons in particular, the setting aside application was dismissed. Written by Dr. Simon Gabriel, partner at Gabriel Arbitration AG.
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