Place of Arbitration
The Principality signed the New York Convention (The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958) in 2011, making the enforceability of a Liechtenstein arbitral award effective in over 160 countries. As its legislation permits the adoption of another jurisdiction as the seat of arbitration, it can serve as a European venue for ADR proceedings held under the laws of a tax neutral Commonwealth country for example. As a UN and EEA country with a population of only 39,000, Liechtenstein has political and regulatory institutions that can be far more responsive than most jurisdictions.
Liechtenstein is conveniently located near the ski resorts of Klosters, Lech and St. Anton. Whilst Zurich airport is only 90 minutes away by car or rail, St. Gallen Altenrhein requires only a 45 minutes’ drive. The Principality’s central geographic position makes the leading trust law expertise often found in London far more accessible than otherwise. In addition, Liechtenstein’s position within the European Economic Area and strict confidentiality laws provide a strong professional framework for the general conduct of business.
Law of Arbitration
Possibly the most important consideration for legal certainty in trust arbitration is the choice of applicable law. Although proceedings may be conducted in Liechtenstein, its legislation makes explicit provision for the selection of another jurisdiction as the arbitral seat under s. 620, para 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure (liechtensteinische Zivilprozessordnung ZPO).
§ 620 1) Code of Civil Procedure (liechtensteinische Zivilprozessordnung ZPO):
'The arbitral tribunal shall decide the dispute in accordance with such provisions of law (Rechtsvorschriften) or rules of law (Rechtsregeln) as are chosen by the parties as applicable. Any designation of the law or legal system of a given state shall be construed, unless otherwise expressed, as directly referring to the substantive law of that state and not to its conflict-of-laws rules.'
Under the Liechtenstein Code of Civil Procedure (the ZPO), parties to dispute resolution undertaken in the Principality are free to choose the rules of procedure in addition to the law of arbitration, both of which may be of jurisdictions other than Liechtenstein. As such flexibility is defined by statute, the ADR framework is robust with a high level of legal certainty. It is possible to choose from a range of options such as the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) or a bespoke alternative.
§ 611 1) Code of Civil Procedure (liechtensteinische Zivilprozessordnung ZPO):
'Subject to the mandatory provisions of this title, the parties are free to determine the rules of procedure. The parties may thereby refer to other rules of procedure. Failing such agreement, the arbitral tribunal shall, subject to the provisions of this Law, conduct the arbitration in such manner as it considers appropriate.'