Christoph Brunner
Office:
Schweizerhof-Passage 7
3001
City:
Berne
State:
Berne
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 58 317 70 50

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Christoph Brunner is a partner at Peter & Partners. He has been practising dispute resolution for over 20 years and acted as counsel, presiding arbitrator, sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator and legal expert in more than 80 international commercial arbitrations, governed by various procedural and substantive laws. He is a titular professor at the University of Berne and a member of the Court of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION?

International arbitration allowed me to combine and pursue various interests and talents: profound law expertise, marked curiosity for the factual elements of a case and good memory, affinity with numbers, analytical skills, management and diplomacy skills, and the art of advocacy or persuasion.

I always find it exciting to see that every new case is unique even if it bears similarities to past cases or involves legal issues I dealt with previously.

WHAT SKILLS MAKE FOR A SUCCESSFUL ARBITRATOR?

You have to be on top of the case: to have a profound knowledge of the file, combined with an in-depth command of the law and good analytical skills. You also need sound judgement and cogent reasoning, with a sharp intellect; and managerial skills. This means flexibility in designing an appropriate procedural schedule; firmness in reasonably enforcing this procedural framework; a talent for managing a contentious situation; being proactive; signalling the direction in which the arbitrator’s concerns are heading during the arbitration; and efficiently using case management conferences.

You have to have communication and interpersonal skills, both with the parties (especially in hearings) and the co-arbitrators (deliberations; ability to earn the confidence and trust of your co-arbitrators; and the ability to explain the paths of reasoning that leads to the proposed result), as well as impartiality and openness, honesty and fair-mindedness.

You must be willing to immerse yourself in unfamiliar fields or technical aspects and have the ability to ensure that a losing party is able, if not to accept, then at least to fully understand the reasons why it was not successful. You also need the ability and availability to return arbitral awards within a reasonably short period of time.

WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE TO MAINTAIN YOUR PROFILE IN THE ARBITRATION COMMUNITY?

Working hard to be on top of the case in all of my ongoing arbitrations; being fair, efficient and firm; and making myself known in the marketplace, eg, by taking on speaking engagements and making publications, thereby increasing the chances of word-of-mouth recommendations.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR CLIENTS LOOKING TO INITIATE ARBITRAL PROCEEDINGS?

First, selection of appropriate counsel in light of the particularities of the case – ie, the industry involved, the type of contract involved, the amount in dispute, the applicable law, the required expertise, experience and availability. Second, selection of appropriate experts (if needed), quite apart from selecting the appropriate client representative and fact witnesses. Third, selection of appropriate arbitrators.

Clients want to obtain an appropriate opportunity to present their case, and to persuade the arbitral tribunal of their position; at the same time, they do not want protracted and overly expensive proceedings. This requires good and efficient case management by counsel and the (presiding) arbitrator.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TEACHING AT BERNE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL BENEFITTED YOUR PRACTICE?

The interaction with my students is very refreshing and challenging and helps me in being creative, open-minded and up to date.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE MOST PERTINENT ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED TO ENSURE THAT INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION CONTINUES TO GROW?

Counsel should try to be focused in their submissions and efficient at every step of the procedure. At the same time, arbitrators should implement efficient case management, be proactive and signal the direction in which their concerns are heading during the arbitration. This would also make arbitration more cost-effective.

TO WHAT EXTENT IS SWITZERLAND STILL A LEADING JURISDICTION FOR ARBITRATION?

Switzerland is well known for its very arbitration-friendly and stable legal framework, both on the procedural and the substantive law level.

On the procedural level, losing parties should know that they have no opportunity to force delays and costs on their opponents by filing a challenge against an award in Switzerland. Even if an award is challenged, only the highest court of Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, is competent to decide and will do so quickly. Less than 7 per cent of all challenges are successful and the procedure typically takes about four to six months.

On the substantive law level, Swiss law is known to be pragmatic, well developed and foreseeable, and broadly in line with international principles. It is therefore generally accepted as neutral law in international transactions worldwide.

This comes in combination with the long-lasting experience and reliability of practitioners acting in Switzerland, along with the Swiss legislator’s willingness to make improvements to the legal environment if and when needed, as illustrated by the ongoing revision of Chapter 12 of the Swiss Private International Law Act (Swiss arbitration law).

IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

As an arbitrator, it is having been able to ensure and promote the fairness and efficiency of arbitral proceedings and the integrity and quality of arbitral awards; and being recognised by clients and peers as a solid, knowledgeable and fair arbitration practitioner.

As counsel, it came recently, in a multibillion-euro case: I achieved a settlement on favourable terms for clients at an early stage.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Christoph Brunner is a full-time partner at Peter & Partners and has been practising dispute resolution for 20 years. His practice focuses on international arbitration as well as complex and international litigation. He has acted as counsel, presiding arbitrator, sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator and legal expert in more than 75 international commercial arbitrations, governed by various procedural and substantive laws. His range of expertise covers, in particular, M&A, joint ventures, construction/infrastructure projects, sales, licence and distribution contracts and international legal assistance.

He also regularly acts as counsel in international and complex cases before state courts in Switzerland, including the Swiss Supreme Court.  

Christoph Brunner was admitted to practice in 1994, received his doctorate in law (Dr iur) in 1996 (Eduard A Stein Prize), and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley school of law in 1997 (LLM). He has been an adjunct professor of law for commercial law, comparative law and international arbitration at the University of Bern since 2007 and was appointed titular professor in 2014. Among others he is a member of the Court of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution. He has published several books and numerous articles on commercial law and international arbitration and is the author of the well-known treatise “Force Majeure and Hardship under General Contract Principles” (Kluwer Law International, 2009), as well as the author and editor of a commentary on the CISG (2nd edition 2014). Mr Brunner is ranked in the arbitration sections of Who's Who Legal: Arbitration since 2013.

WWL says: Christoph Brunner is a leading figure in the field. One peer describes him as "a very considerate arbitrator with a talent for suggesting excellent conciliatory proposals".

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Arbitration

Christoph Brunner is a full-time partner at Peter & Partners and has been practising dispute resolution for more than 20 years. His practice focuses on international arbitration as well as complex and international litigation. He has acted as counsel, presiding arbitrator, sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator and legal expert in more than 75 international commercial arbitrations, governed by various procedural and substantive laws. His range of expertise covers, in particular, M&A, joint ventures, construction/infrastructure projects, sales, licence and distribution contracts and international legal assistance.

Christoph also regularly acts as counsel in international and complex cases before state courts in Switzerland, including the Swiss Supreme Court.  

Christoph Brunner was admitted to practise in 1994, received his doctorate in law (Dr iur) in 1996 (Eduard A Stein Prize), and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law in 1997 (LLM). He has been an adjunct professor of law for commercial law, comparative law and international arbitration at the University of Bern since 2007 and was appointed titular professor in 2014. Among others he is a member of the court of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution. He has published several books and numerous articles on commercial law and international arbitration and is the author of the well-known treatise “Force Majeure and Hardship under General Contract Principles” (Kluwer Law International, 2009), as well as the author and editor of a commentary on the CISG (2nd edition 2014). For more information see www.peterandpartners.com.

WWL says: The “outstanding” Christoph Brunner boasts “a strong presence in the arbitration space” where he is widely considered “a brilliant lawyer and advocate”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Switzerland which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Litigation

Christoph Brunner is a full-time partner at Peter & Partners and has been practising dispute resolution for more than 20 years. His practice focuses on international arbitration as well as complex and international litigation. He has acted as counsel, presiding arbitrator, sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator and legal expert in more than 75 international commercial arbitrations, governed by various procedural and substantive laws. His range of expertise covers, in particular, M&A, joint ventures, construction/infrastructure projects, sales, licence and distribution contracts and international legal assistance.

Christoph also regularly acts as counsel in international and complex cases before state courts in Switzerland, including the Swiss Supreme Court.  

Christoph Brunner was admitted to practise in 1994, received his doctorate in law (Dr iur) in 1996 (Eduard A Stein Prize), and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law in 1997 (LLM). He has been an adjunct professor of law for commercial law, comparative law and international arbitration at the University of Bern since 2007 and was appointed titular professor in 2014. Among others he is a member of the court of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution. He has published several books and numerous articles on commercial law and international arbitration and is the author of the well-known treatise “Force Majeure and Hardship under General Contract Principles” (Kluwer Law International, 2009), as well as the author and editor of a commentary on the CISG (2nd edition 2014). For more information see www.peterandpartners.com.

WWL says: Christoph Brunner is highly respected for his expertise in complex international litigation as well as his specialist knowledge of M&A and construction disputes.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Switzerland which can be purchased from our Shop.

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