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Skiljeklausuler i kommersiella förhållanden - särskilt om oskälighet

Ejmefors, Carl LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
Today, when commercial parties are contracting, it is common that they choose arbitration as their method of dispute resolution. In contrast to court proceedings, arbitration gives a quicker judgement, gives the parties the right to elect their arbitrators and is a process that is characterized by confidentiality. On the other hand, arbitration also comes with some disadvantages. One example, which is often mentioned as a disadvantage, is that it can be very expensive on the parties. Commercial parties should, when contracting, investigate what forum that suits their relationship best when or if a dispute arises. The big number of arbitration clauses suggests that such investigation often tend to show that the advantages of arbitration... (More)
Today, when commercial parties are contracting, it is common that they choose arbitration as their method of dispute resolution. In contrast to court proceedings, arbitration gives a quicker judgement, gives the parties the right to elect their arbitrators and is a process that is characterized by confidentiality. On the other hand, arbitration also comes with some disadvantages. One example, which is often mentioned as a disadvantage, is that it can be very expensive on the parties. Commercial parties should, when contracting, investigate what forum that suits their relationship best when or if a dispute arises. The big number of arbitration clauses suggests that such investigation often tend to show that the advantages of arbitration outweigh its disadvantages.
On the commercial market there are both large and small companies. On a daily basis these companies is contracting with each other and possibly their contract contain an arbitration clause. The consequence of a valid arbitration clause is that it constitutes inadmissibility in court. When dispute arises, the parties therefore have to settle their disputes without state involvement.
Over the years, the legislator has found that not all disputes are suitable for arbitration. The state has mainly considered it important to create rules that protect consumers from the costs that are inevitable when it comes to arbitration. Regardless of the company size, number of employees, finances or expertise, there are no such restriction rules for commercial parties. Companies that for some reason not want to be bound by an arbitration clause, that is directly inserted into the parties' contracts or incorporated by reference, therefore have to rely on the restrictions on freedom of contract that can be found in Chapter 3 of the Swedish law of contracts (AvtL). Swedish case law show that the most common objection against arbitration clauses is that it should be considered to be an unfair contractual term. Therefore, in a number of cases, the courts have had the possibility to examine the fairness of arbitration clauses in accordance with § 36 AvtL.
In contrast to proceedings in ordinary courts, it is the parties and not the state that pays for the arbitrators’ salary. This cost is commonly cited as the decisive reason why arbitration is considered as a more expensive method of dispute resolution. For a small company, this cost can be significant in relation to its finances.
With insurance, companies like individuals have the possibility to protect themselves against unexpected costs. Most companies have some form of business insurance and legal expenses insurance. However, a survey of four large insurance companies shows that none of the insurance companies’ legal expenses insurance covers the arbitrators’ salary. Companies therefore have no opportunity to protect themselves against one of the major cost items that arbitration brings.
Sometimes the situation arises that the representative of a company has no knowledge of the conditions contained in the contract that he or she sign. When a dispute arises, he or she might therefore be unaware that the contract contains an arbitration clause. Once they become aware of the existence of the arbitration clause and its consequences, a situation that is not entirely desirable arises for the newly enlightened. Perhaps they find that the company’s finances will not be able to bear the costs that are associated with arbitration. If a party, despite the arbitration clause, turns to an ordinary court in order to get justice it is likely that the other party objects and claims that the plaintiff’s action should be rejected because of the arbitration clause. If such situation arises in the ordinary court, the plaintiff can object to the other party’s rejection claim and point out that the arbitration clause should be considered to be an unfair contractual term. If the court, despite the plaintiff’s objection, decides that the case is inadmissible, the plaintiff is in a situation where he or she has difficulties to get access to justice. He or she cannot, because of the arbitration clause, get justice in an ordinary court and cannot, because of poor finances get its claims tried by an arbitration board.
One can ask if such a situation can be considered acceptable. If one is critical of the situation, the next step is to ask what can be done in order to protect small companies against this unfavorable situation. Should 36 § AvtL have more influence on arbitration clauses, should the possibility for the use of arbitration clauses be limited in law or should the state require more from our insurance companies?
It can be concluded that it is difficult to find a simple solution that also gives an effective result. Some, in the essay, proposed solutions comes with more disadvantages than advantages. § 36 AvtL can therefore, in both legal and economic point of view, be regarded as the most desirable way to choose in the fight against unfair arbitration clauses. However, it can be concluded that the courts often tend to have a positive approach towards arbitration clauses and only seldom finds them unfair in accordance with § 36 AvtL. This means that the legislator needs to act if they want a different judging when it comes to arbitration clauses. One possible way for the legislator is to change the law. If § 36 AvtL would be changed, the legislator gets the opportunity to create new guidelines in how the courts should use § 36 when it comes to arbitration clauses. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
I avtal som ingås mellan kommersiella parter är det idag vanligt att skiljeförfarande väljs som tvistlösningsmetod. Det framhålls särskilt att det är en tvistlösningsmetod som bidrar till ett snabbt avgörande, ger parterna rätten att själva utse skiljemän samt att det är ett förfarande präglat av konfidentiellitet. Samtidigt brukar de kostnader som är förenade med skiljeförfarandet framhållas som en av tvistlösningsmetodens negativa aspekter. Kommersiella aktörer som ingår avtal bör, när de väljer tvistlösningsmetod, utreda vilket forum som passar just deras avtalsrelation bäst när en eventuell tvist uppstår. Det stora antalet skiljeklausuler i kommersiella avtal tyder på att en sådan utredning ofta leder till att parterna anser att... (More)
I avtal som ingås mellan kommersiella parter är det idag vanligt att skiljeförfarande väljs som tvistlösningsmetod. Det framhålls särskilt att det är en tvistlösningsmetod som bidrar till ett snabbt avgörande, ger parterna rätten att själva utse skiljemän samt att det är ett förfarande präglat av konfidentiellitet. Samtidigt brukar de kostnader som är förenade med skiljeförfarandet framhållas som en av tvistlösningsmetodens negativa aspekter. Kommersiella aktörer som ingår avtal bör, när de väljer tvistlösningsmetod, utreda vilket forum som passar just deras avtalsrelation bäst när en eventuell tvist uppstår. Det stora antalet skiljeklausuler i kommersiella avtal tyder på att en sådan utredning ofta leder till att parterna anser att skiljeförfarandets fördelar väger tyngre än dess nackdelar.
På den kommersiella marknaden finns det såväl stora som små företag. Dessa ingår avtal med varandra och möjligtvis återfinns en skiljeklausul i deras avtal. Konsekvensen av en giltig skiljeklausul är att den utgör rättegångshinder vilket innebär att parterna, när väl tvist uppstår, är hänvisade till att söka tvistlösning utan statens inblandning.
Lagstiftaren har genom åren konstaterat att inte alla tvister lämpar sig för ett skiljeförfarande. Staten har därvid i första hand ansett att det är av vikt att tillskapa regler som skyddar konsumenter från det ekonomiskt tyngande skiljeförfarandet. Oavsett storlek avseende antalet anställda, ekonomisk styrka eller kompetens finns inga dylika begränsningsregler för kommersiella aktörer. Företag som av en eller annan anledning anser att de inte vill vara bundna av en skiljeklausul, direkt införd i parternas individuella avtal eller inkorporerad genom hänvisning, är därför hänvisade till de begränsningar av avtalsfriheten som återfinns i 3 kap. AvtL. Av praxis framgår att den enskilt vanligaste invändningen mot en skiljeklausul är att den är oskälig. Domstolarna har därför i en rad fall tagit ställning till skiljeklausuler och dess skälighet i enlighet med 36 § AvtL.
Till skillnad mot ett förfarande i allmän domstol är det parterna och inte staten som står för skiljemännens arvode. Denna kostnad brukar framhållas som det avgörande skälet till varför skiljeförfarandet anses som en dyrare tvistlösningsmetod. För ett litet företag kan en sådan kostnad, i relation till företagets ekonomi, vara betydande. Företag har liksom privatpersoner möjlighet att skydda sig mot oväntade kostnader genom att teckna försäkringar. De flesta företag innehar någon form av företagsförsäkring med tillhörande rättsskydd. En undersökning av fyra försäkringsbolag visar dock att rättsskyddet inte täcker de kostnader som uppstår till följd av arvoderingen av skiljemännen. Företag har således ingen möjlighet att skydda sig mot en av de stora kostnadsposterna som skiljeförfarandet medför.
Ibland uppstår situationen att en företrädare för ett företag saknar kunskaper om de villkor som återfinns i det avtal han eller hon skriver under. När väl tvist uppstår kan de således vara omedvetna om att avtalet innehåller en skiljeklausul. När de väl blir medvetna om skiljeklausulens existens och dess konsekvenser kan det uppstå en situation som inte är helt önskvärd för den nyligen upplysta. Möjligen konstateras också att företagets ekonomi inte kan bära de kostnader som är förenade med ett skiljeförfarande. Om part, trots skiljeklausulen, vänder sig till allmän domstol är det sannolikt att motparten invänder och yrkar att kärandens talan ska avvisas på grund av den skiljeklausul som avtalats. Käranden kan i ett sådant läge invända mot avvisningsyrkandet och hävda att skiljeklausulen är oskälig enligt 36 § AvtL. Om domstolen, trots kärandens invändning, avvisar käromålet uppstår en situation där käranden hamnar i ett rättslöst tillstånd. Han eller hon kan inte, på grund av skiljeklausulen, få sin sak prövad i domstol och kan inte heller, på grund av bristfällig ekonomi, få sin sak prövad inför skiljenämnd.
Man kan fråga sig om en sådan situation kan anses acceptabel. Om man ställer sig kritisk till situationen är nästa fråga vad som kan göras för att småföretagare inte ska hamna i detta ogynnsamma läge. Bör 36 § AvtL få ett större inflytande över skiljeklausuler, bör möjligheterna till användning av skiljeklausuler begränsas i lag eller ska staten ställa högre krav på försäkringsbolagen och dess rättsskydd?
Det kan konstateras att det är svårt att hitta en enkel lösning som dessutom ger ett effektivt resultat. Vissa, i uppsatsen, föreslagna lösningar skapar mer problem än förtjänst varför 36 § AvtL, i juridisk och ekonomisk synvinkel, även fortsättningsvis får anses vara den mest önskvärda vägen att välja vid bekämpandet av oskäliga skiljeklausuler. Domstolarnas restriktiva hållning mot att jämka skiljeklausuler med stöd av 36 § AvtL medför dock att det krävs ett aktivt agerande från lagstiftarens sida för att det ska bli en förändring. En möjlig lösning därvid är att genomföra en omformulering av 36 § AvtL och på så vis öppna upp för möjligheten till nya förarbeten. I förarbetena kan staten tydliggöra sin inställning gentemot användandet av skiljeklausuler och på så vis skapa nya riktlinjer som domstolarna, vid bedömningen av skiljeklausuler, måste förhålla sig till. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ejmefors, Carl LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Arbitration clauses in commercial relationships - particulary about unfair contract terms
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
förmögenhetsrätt, civilrätt, skiljemannarätt, processrätt, avtalsrätt
language
Swedish
id
2430032
date added to LUP
2012-05-29 15:43:27
date last changed
2012-05-29 15:43:27
@misc{2430032,
  abstract     = {Today, when commercial parties are contracting, it is common that they choose arbitration as their method of dispute resolution. In contrast to court proceedings, arbitration gives a quicker judgement, gives the parties the right to elect their arbitrators and is a process that is characterized by confidentiality. On the other hand, arbitration also comes with some disadvantages. One example, which is often mentioned as a disadvantage, is that it can be very expensive on the parties. Commercial parties should, when contracting, investigate what forum that suits their relationship best when or if a dispute arises. The big number of arbitration clauses suggests that such investigation often tend to show that the advantages of arbitration outweigh its disadvantages.
On the commercial market there are both large and small companies. On a daily basis these companies is contracting with each other and possibly their contract contain an arbitration clause. The consequence of a valid arbitration clause is that it constitutes inadmissibility in court. When dispute arises, the parties therefore have to settle their disputes without state involvement.
Over the years, the legislator has found that not all disputes are suitable for arbitration. The state has mainly considered it important to create rules that protect consumers from the costs that are inevitable when it comes to arbitration. Regardless of the company size, number of employees, finances or expertise, there are no such restriction rules for commercial parties. Companies that for some reason not want to be bound by an arbitration clause, that is directly inserted into the parties' contracts or incorporated by reference, therefore have to rely on the restrictions on freedom of contract that can be found in Chapter 3 of the Swedish law of contracts (AvtL). Swedish case law show that the most common objection against arbitration clauses is that it should be considered to be an unfair contractual term. Therefore, in a number of cases, the courts have had the possibility to examine the fairness of arbitration clauses in accordance with § 36 AvtL.
In contrast to proceedings in ordinary courts, it is the parties and not the state that pays for the arbitrators’ salary. This cost is commonly cited as the decisive reason why arbitration is considered as a more expensive method of dispute resolution. For a small company, this cost can be significant in relation to its finances.
With insurance, companies like individuals have the possibility to protect themselves against unexpected costs. Most companies have some form of business insurance and legal expenses insurance. However, a survey of four large insurance companies shows that none of the insurance companies’ legal expenses insurance covers the arbitrators’ salary. Companies therefore have no opportunity to protect themselves against one of the major cost items that arbitration brings.
Sometimes the situation arises that the representative of a company has no knowledge of the conditions contained in the contract that he or she sign. When a dispute arises, he or she might therefore be unaware that the contract contains an arbitration clause. Once they become aware of the existence of the arbitration clause and its consequences, a situation that is not entirely desirable arises for the newly enlightened. Perhaps they find that the company’s finances will not be able to bear the costs that are associated with arbitration. If a party, despite the arbitration clause, turns to an ordinary court in order to get justice it is likely that the other party objects and claims that the plaintiff’s action should be rejected because of the arbitration clause. If such situation arises in the ordinary court, the plaintiff can object to the other party’s rejection claim and point out that the arbitration clause should be considered to be an unfair contractual term. If the court, despite the plaintiff’s objection, decides that the case is inadmissible, the plaintiff is in a situation where he or she has difficulties to get access to justice. He or she cannot, because of the arbitration clause, get justice in an ordinary court and cannot, because of poor finances get its claims tried by an arbitration board.
One can ask if such a situation can be considered acceptable. If one is critical of the situation, the next step is to ask what can be done in order to protect small companies against this unfavorable situation. Should 36 § AvtL have more influence on arbitration clauses, should the possibility for the use of arbitration clauses be limited in law or should the state require more from our insurance companies?
It can be concluded that it is difficult to find a simple solution that also gives an effective result. Some, in the essay, proposed solutions comes with more disadvantages than advantages. § 36 AvtL can therefore, in both legal and economic point of view, be regarded as the most desirable way to choose in the fight against unfair arbitration clauses. However, it can be concluded that the courts often tend to have a positive approach towards arbitration clauses and only seldom finds them unfair in accordance with § 36 AvtL. This means that the legislator needs to act if they want a different judging when it comes to arbitration clauses. One possible way for the legislator is to change the law. If § 36 AvtL would be changed, the legislator gets the opportunity to create new guidelines in how the courts should use § 36 when it comes to arbitration clauses.},
  author       = {Ejmefors, Carl},
  keyword      = {förmögenhetsrätt,civilrätt,skiljemannarätt,processrätt,avtalsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Skiljeklausuler i kommersiella förhållanden - särskilt om oskälighet},
  year         = {2012},
}