SCC arbitration – available and neutral for all parties, regardless of sanctions
In mid-2020, a law was passed in Russia giving Russian commercial courts exclusive jurisdiction over disputes where a Russian party is subject to sanctions. Some observers feared that the law would enable parties to evade arbitration agreements, or that sanctioned parties would lose access to justice outside their home jurisdiction.
Since then, Russian courts have refused to invalidate arbitration clauses and to grant anti-suit injunctions where the sanctioned party failed to prove denial of justice in a foreign arbitration proceeding. Whether such proof is required is now the subject of proceedings before the Russian Supreme Court.
In this context, the SCC reconfirms that SCC arbitration remains an available and neutral dispute resolution method for all parties – including those subject to sanctions.
Since the beginning of the EU and US sanctions regimes, the SCC has administered several arbitrations involving sanctioned parties. In these cases, special administrative procedures were put in place, including alternative methods of payments of registration fees and arbitration costs, to ensure equal and efficient access to justice.
In all cases involving sanctioned parties, the SCC maintained its usual procedures ensuring equal treatment of the parties, meaning that all parties were given an equal opportunity to appoint arbitrators, and present their cases.
The SCC is an independent and non-political institution dedicated to providing a neutral forum for parties from all over the world to resolve commercial and investment disputes.
The SCC has long held a position as a preferable arbitration venue among Russia-related parties and Russian arbitration practitioners. Similarly, Stockholm and Swedish law are also among the most frequently chosen seat of arbitration and applicable law.
In 2015, the SCC, LCIA and the ICC published a joint article explaining that sanctions imposed by the EU or the United States do not prevent sanctioned Russian parties from participating in arbitrations.