This special issue of Jusletter is devoted to international arbitration, and more specifically to the new Swiss Rules of International Arbitration, which are an important milestone in Swiss arbitration history. Launched in January 2004, the Swiss Rules were the topic of the annual conference of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) held on January 23, 2004 in Zurich. The papers presented at such conference are gathered in the present issue, together with links to the texts of the Swiss Rules in the different languages available thus far. These papers are also published in volume nr. 21 of the ASA Special Series, which is being distributed in hard copy these days to ASA members and conference participants.

These new uniform rules are an achievement of which all Swiss arbitration practitioners can be legitimately proud. The six Swiss Chambers of Commerce active in the area of arbitration, which so far operated each under its own rules, have joined forces to offer a common set of arbitration rules for international disputes, which are administered by each Chamber under the responsibility of a joint Arbitration Committee.

The Swiss Rules are based on the well-known UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, which will undoubtedly facilitate their adoption by parties from all over the world. Since the adoption of the UNCITRAL Rules, years have passed and there have been numerous developments in the law and practice of arbitration. The drafters of the Swiss Rules have taken these developments into account. Hence, the Swiss Rules are an updated version of the UNCITRAL Rules.

Thanks to its neutrality, its arbitration-friendly legislation and courts, its central location and good infrastructure, Switzerland is a popular arbitration place. Numerous international arbitrations take place in this country every year, ad hoc and institutional arbitrations under many different rules. It is hoped that the new Swiss Rules will further strengthen the “Schiedsplatz Schweiz” by offering a dispute resolution mechanism that meets the users’ expectations.

Prof. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler
Redaktion International Arbitration