For the first time, the Dreiländerkonferenz was held as a Vierländerkonferenz in Vienna on 1 December 2023. For DIS, it followed up on last year's successful event in Basel on "A Common Arbitration Culture in the DACH Region". The conference was organised by the Austrian Arbitration Association (Arb|Aut), the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC), the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA), the Swiss Arbitration Centre (formerly SCAI), the German Institute of Arbitration (DIS) and the Liechtenstein Arbitration Association (LIS).
The conference programme was opened by Christian Koller with a stimulating presentation on conflict of laws issues in arbitration. He contrasted well-known conflict of laws issues, such as the connection of arbitrability, with less well-known ones: how, for example, are procedural issues governed by the lex arbitri to be distinguished from substantive issues governed by the lex causae? Mr Koller argued for an autonomous concept that is independent of the origin and preferences of the arbitrators.
The subsequent three panels discussed their topics from the perspective of the four jurisdictions. The first panel was entitled "Modernisation of German Arbitration Law - what do our friends advise us to do?”. Three of the proposed key points were discussed in detail, namely the freedom of form of arbitration agreements in commercial transactions (predominantly critical), English-language set-aside and enforcement proceedings (predominantly affirmative) and the introduction of an action for restitution of arbitral awards (without a clear result).
The second panel dealt with corporate disputes and covered a wide range of issues, from dissolution disputes to shareholder resolutions and their treatment in different jurisdictions.
Finally, jurisdictional decisions were the subject of the third panel. Here it became clear that German law differs from other German-language arbitration laws in a number of aspects, such as the fact that the Model Law does not provide for a remedy to determine jurisdiction prior to the constitution of the arbitral tribunal (sec 1032(2) ZPO) and the lack of a separate ground for setting aside arbitral awards in which the arbitral tribunal wrongly denies its jurisdiction.
The DIS looks forward to co-hosting the Vierländerkonferenz again next year.