Article 634 of the Civil Procedure Law provides that arbitration clauses between an entrepreneur and a consumer are valid only if they refer to existing disputes. The wording of this provision has caused significant debate, as it seems to apply to arbitration clauses between companies and their shareholders. The government now plans to amend the provision to clarify that it applies only to contracts between entrepreneurs and natural persons.
Witness statements are important pieces of evidence in arbitration proceedings in Liechtenstein. However, there are differences compared to witness statements in court proceedings. Witnesses who are resident in Liechtenstein are obliged to appear before a court if summoned to do so, while in arbitration proceedings witnesses may choose whether to appear and testify.
The government has announced that it intends to propose a change in law which would allow for the resolution of supervisory proceedings under the Company Law, the Trust Law and the Foundation Law through arbitration, with the exception of specific procedures over which the court is competent and procedures commenced ex officio or by application of the Public Registry or Public Prosecutor's Office.
One of the main advantages of arbitration is that the arbitration award is final and cannot be appealed. Therefore, arbitration can be expected to take less time than a state court proceeding containing two or three instances. However, arbitration law in most states allows for the possibility to file an application with the competent state court to lift an arbitration award and declare it null and void for certain specific reasons.
The Supreme Court has ruled that only persons who have been registered as officially acknowledged interpreters for Liechtenstein court and administrative proceedings can certify a translation according to Article IV(2) of the New York Convention to render a foreign arbitration award enforceable in Liechtenstein. If such translation has not been filed, the court must give the applicant reasonable time to do so.
Since the Law on Arbitration Procedure came into force, there have been intense discussions among the legal community as to whether authorisation for the dismissal of board members is to be included within the scope of arbitration clauses. However, the Supreme Court recently ruled that the dismissal of foundation board members falls under the sole competence of the State Court, and is thus not arbitrable.
The Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry's specific Rules of Arbitration aim to strengthen Liechtenstein's appeal as a venue for international arbitration. The rules deal with similar topics to those of, for example, the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. They contain specific provisions for the determination of costs by an arbitral tribunal and govern confidentiality.
The conciliation office for the financial services sector mainly deals with complaints from customers of Liechtenstein banks and asset management companies, aiming to solve their problems and arrange out-of-court settlement agreements. The office serves as a quick and cheap way to avoid costly lawsuits or arbitration proceedings whenever possible.
In recent years the arbitration regime has been revised in order to enhance Liechtenstein's attractiveness as a venue for arbitration. The arbitration law now reflects the provisions of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law, and the New York Convention has also been ratified.