Liechtenstein offers ideal conditions to position itself as an arbitration forum for international disputes. The market participants operating in the financial centre have decades of experience in dealing with international matters and the management of large assets. At the same time, Liechtenstein has more than 200 licensed lawyers with sufficient legal expertise to guarantee that international arbitral proceedings are carried out professionally, since such proceedings generally require specific expert knowledge and litigation experience. Liechtenstein’s political neutrality, geographically central location, excellent infrastructure and legal framework further enhance its attractiveness as an arbitration location.
In 2010, Liechtenstein totally revised its arbitration procedure, which is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. This revision is closely based on the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (“UNCITRAL Model Law”), which aims to harmonize arbitration law, as well as the existing Austrian law. One of the advantages of the Austrian model is that Austrian case law and doctrine can be applied by legal practitioners in Liechtenstein, thus ensuring legal certainty and continuity. Nevertheless, Liechtenstein has included several special features in its arbitration procedure to make it even more attractive. For instance, the grounds for challenging an award are strictly limited and comparable to those under the New York Convention. The Court of Appeal is the sole and final instance for adjudicating actions for annulment. Further appeals of its decisions are possible only to the Constitutional Court if violations of constitutional rights or rights under the European Convention on Human Rights are claimed. This substantially accelerates arbitral proceedings. Challenges to the award can therefore be decided in just a few months.
Since Liechtenstein’s accession to the New York Convention in 2011, the enforcement of Liechtenstein arbitral awards in all 148 parties to the Convention has been guaranteed. Compared with judgments and decisions of state courts, which generally are difficult or even impossible to enforce abroad due to a lack of applicable agreements, Liechtenstein arbitration law offers substantial advantages also in terms of enforcement.
In light of this dynamic evolution of arbitration, the idea was born to create a private autonomous framework for arbitration proceedings specifically tailored to the special features of a familiar environment and the practices of company, foundation, and fiduciary law. Until now, arbitration practice has often drawn on the arbitration rules of international arbitral bodies or followed the rules set out in the Code of Civil Procedure. To close this gap, the Liechtenstein Arbitration Association in cooperation with the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry initiated the enactment of new Liechtenstein Rules of Arbitration. More detailed information on the design of the Liechtenstein Rules can be found by clicking on the link on this page.