International Arbitration Law and Practice in Switzerland by Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler & Antonio Rigozzi hardback 22Ooctober 2015 Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-967975-1 pages 577 + lxxxvii price: £164.50
Sport is big business worth 3% of world trade and 3.7% of the combined GNP of the twenty-eight Member States. So, there is much to play for both on and off the field of play. It is not surprising, therefore, that sports-related disputes are on the increase, and the question naturally arises: how best to settle them. By traditional means - through the Courts – or by modern means – through ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)?
In the last thirty years or so, ADR has become very popular, saving time and money and avoiding confrontational conflicts. As far as sports-related disputes are concerned, ADR particularly lends itself to their settlement, especially as the international sporting community prefers to settle disputes ‘within the family of sport’ and on a confidential basis, thus avoiding, so to speak, ‘washing their dirty sports linen in public’.
Of the various forms of ADR that are available, Arbitration has proved popular for the settlement of sports-related disputes, not least through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and has established itself as an effective dispute resolution forum during its more than thirty-one years of operations.
The CAS is established and operates under Swiss Law and, in particular, under the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration of June 2012, and so it is important to have a good knowledge and understanding of the Law and Practice of Commercial Arbitration in Switzerland. This work more than satisfies this important need very well indeed, and the Authors, who are recognised experts and renowned academics and experienced practitioners in this field, are to be congratulated on having published such a scholarly and comprehensive work, which will be invaluable for all those with a professional interest in the subject, including sports bodies, sports lawyers, sports marketers, sports broadcasters, students and researchers.
Of course, International Commercial Arbitration is in a constant state of evolution and development, as well as harmonisation, and the Authors recognise this fact by describing the third edition of their Book, and the first one in English, as “a work in progress”. They also point out - quite rightly - that, because of this harmonisation“…. [a]ll the fundamental concepts used in international arbitration are largely unified. Similarly, the practice of international arbitration tends to follow a standard transnational course whatever the law that governs the arbitration.” And they go on to say, with justified immodesty, that “When it comes to that transnational standard and the ways and means of conducting an arbitration, what matters most is practical experience, and many years of experience are reflected in this book.” Such experience is invaluable for the reader!
One particular feature of the Book, that your reviewer found helpful, is that each topic of each Chapter is illustrated with relevant court decisions, scholarly opinions and procedural documents, thereby enhancing the reader’s knowledge and appreciation of the legal and practical issues that fall to be considered. This material is complemented by a comprehensive Bibliography, which comprises significant books, articles, papers, reports, surveys and websites, Tables of Cases and Legal Texts, as well as a workmanlike Index.
The topics covered in this Book are indeed extensive and comprehensive and the Law is generally stated as at June 2014.
O sum up: the distinguished authors are to be warmly congratulated not only on their depth of knowledge, but also on their scholarship; and their Book is undoubtedly a most worthy and welcome addition to the literature on such an important and evolving subject as International Commercial Arbitration, including its practical application and increasing importance in a sporting context.