Arbitration is the private resolution of disputes between parties bound to an arbitration agreement by contract or otherwise by obtaining a final and binding determination of the dispute in a decision (award) issued by privately appointed judges (arbitrators).
In institutional arbitration the parties refer in their arbitration agreement to arbitration rules which are promulgated and administered by an arbitration institution, such as the ICC Rules of Arbitration, the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration or ICDR Rules of the American Arbitration Association.
Arbitral tribunals generally consist of a sole arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators. The number of arbitrators is either determined by agreement of the parties or by the arbitral institution or in the case of ad hoc arbitration by the court at the place of arbitration.
The parties are free to select a place of arbitration in their arbitration clause. The place of arbitration determines which national arbitration law (lex arbitrii) will govern the proceedings and which courts will have supervisory powers over the arbitration.
Constitutionally neutral since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Switzerland is by its nature ideally suited for arbitration. Switzerland's multi-lingual and cultural and federal nature
Disputes that are referred to arbitration result in an arbitral award. Awards are final and binding on the parties. Unlike a court judgment, an award cannot be appealed to a higher court, and most arbitral laws sharply restrict the reasons for which an award may be annulled by the court at the place of arbitration.