Rules of Procedure for The Claims Resolution Process

Adopted on October 15, 1997 by the

Board of Trustees of the
Independent Claims Resolution Foundation


Foreword to these Rules of Procedure

On July 23, 1997, the Swiss Bankers Association published the names of holders of accounts that were opened by non-Swiss nationals and residents prior to the end of the Second World War (May 9, 1945) and that have been dormant ever since.   A second simultaneously published list includes the names of persons holding powers of attorney to these accounts.   Additional names will be published in October 1997 and later on, as the search for dormant accounts goes on by investigations of the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (the "ICEP") chaired by Paul A. Volcker, or by means of internal efforts of the Swiss banks.

All persons who believe that they are the rightful owners of a published dormant account have been invited to file their claims within six months after publication.   In order to resolve all of these claims to dormant accounts in an equitable and expeditious manner, a Claims Resolution Process (the "CRP") has been established to be funded by the Swiss Bankers Association and supervised by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission and ICEP.   The Independent Claims Resolution Foundation to carry out the CRP will be governed by a Board of Trustees (the "Board of Trustees").   The Board of Trustees will select the members of a Claims Resolution Tribunal to serve as independent, impartial and objective arbitrators of claims to dormant accounts.

These Rules of Procedure have been adopted by the Board of Trustees to govern the procedure before the Claims Resolution Tribunal, and are designed to provide justice to both the claimants and the Swiss banks and to offer them an equitable and cost-free speedy procedure operating under relaxed standards of proof to resolve all claims to dormant accounts of non-Swiss customers.

In order to provide rapid resolution of uncomplicated claims, a sole member of the Claims Resolution Tribunal (the "Sole Arbitrators") will, except as provided by Article 13, decide these cases under a fast-track procedure, and all other claims shall be decided in the ordinary procedure by panels composed of three members of the Tribunal (the "Claims Panels") or by Sole Arbitrators.



I.   Jurisdiction of the Claims Resolution Tribunal

Article 1   Scope of Application

These Rules of Procedure govern all claims submitted to the Claims Resolution Tribunal
  1. to accounts opened by non-Swiss nationals or residents that are dormant since May 9, 1945 and were made public by the Swiss Bankers Association on July 23, 1997 or at a later date; and


  2. to accounts opened by Swiss nationals that are dormant ever since May 9, 1945 and will be made public by the Swiss Bankers Association in October 1997 or at a later date, IF AND TO THE EXTENT a Sole Arbitrator determines, after consultation with ICEP, that such accounts may have been held by a Swiss intermediary for a victim of Nazi persecution.

For the purposes of these Rules of Procedure, the term "account" shall include all kinds of accounts, including, without limitation, current, savings and securities accounts, passbooks, safety deposit boxes, and any other form of dormant bank liability, including, without limitation, bank cheques, bonds and bank-issued medium-term notes (Kassenobligationen).


Article 2   Submission of Claims Resolution Agreement

Claims are submitted to the Claims Resolution Tribunal by filing, directly or through a Ernst & Young contact office or otherwise, a signed claims resolution agreement.

Swiss banks may elect to enter into a master arbitration agreement with the Independent Claims Resolution Foundation submitting to the jurisdiction of the Claims Resolution Tribunal all claims to their dormant accounts for which a claimant submits a signed claims resolution agreement.   The Claims Resolution Tribunal shall immediately notify the respective Swiss bank of any filed claims resolution agreements.


Article 3   Adjudication Bodies of the Claims Resolution Tribunal

All decisions of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall be rendered by
  1. Sole Arbitrators or


  2. Claims Panels composed of three arbitrators.


Article 4  Jurisdiction of Panel Members acting as Sole Arbitrator

A member of the Claims Resolution Tribunal acting as a Sole Arbitrator shall decide:
  1. all claims submitted to the fast- track procedure in accordance with Article 11 et seq.; and


  2. all claims that are not approved in the fast track procedure but relate to dormant accounts with a current balance of 3,000 Swiss francs or less, as reported to the Central Contract Office of ATAG Ernst & Young AG, Basel (the "CCO") pursuant to the directive of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission of June 25, 1997, and subject to the same requirements as are applied to Fast Track cases under the provisions of Article 12 and Article 13.


Article 5   Jurisdiction of the Claims Panel

Claims Panels composed of three members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall decide all cases that are not resolved by Sole Arbitrators.



II.   Appointment of Claims Panels and Sole Arbitrators

Article 6   Appointment of Claims Panel and Sole Arbitrator

Upon submission of the case in accordance with Article 2, the Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall appoint to every claim a Claims Panel or a Sole Arbitrator.

Any member of the Claims Resolution Tribunal may be appointed as Sole Arbitrator in addition to serving as a member of a Claims Panel.   The Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal may act as a Sole Arbitrator.

Each Claims Panel shall comprise one Swiss member of the Claims Resolution Tribunal and two international members.

The parties shall be notified by the Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal of the names, addresses, telephone and telefax numbers of a Sole Arbitrator or the members of the Claims Panel (the "Panel Members").


Article 7  Incapacity or Resignation of Sole Arbitrators or Panel Members

If a Sole Arbitrator or a Panel Member becomes incapacitated, or unable to perform the duties of his or her office, or resigns, a substitute for such Sole Arbitrator or Panel Member shall be appointed in the same manner as the person who is replaced.

The procedure continues with the new arbitrator where his or her predecessor left it.


Article 8  Challenge of Sole Arbitrator or a Panel Member

A Sole Arbitrator or a Panel Member may be challenged if circumstances exist that give rise to legitimate doubts concerning his or her independence or integrity.

The challenge petition shall be submitted to the Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal immediately after the party making such challenge becomes aware of the relevant facts.   It shall specify the facts and circumstances upon which the challenge is based.

If the Sole Arbitrator or the Panel Member contests the challenge, the Board of Trustees of the Independent Claims Resolution Foundation shall finally decide on the challenge.


Article 9  Removal of Sole Arbitrator or a Panel Member

If a Sole Arbitrator or Panel Member does not fulfill his or her duties despite having been called to them by the other Panel Members or the Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal, the Board of Trustees may, at the request of the Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal, remove such Sole Arbitrator or Panel Member.   The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.



III.  Initial Screening

Article 10 Initial Screening by a Sole Arbitrator

Within twenty (20) days after receipt of a claim, the Swiss bank shall inform the CCO whether it agrees that the name of the bank and the amount held in the dormant account be disclosed to the claimant.

If the bank does not respond within twenty days to the CCO, or if it declines to disclose its name and the amount held in the dormant account, the CCO shall present the claim to the Claims Resolution Tribunal for an initial screening by a Sole Arbitrator.

The Sole Arbitrator shall order that the name of the bank and the amount held in the dormant account be disclosed to the claimant, unless he or she determines in the initial screening that
  1. the claimant has not submitted any information on his or her entitlement to the dormant account, or


  2. if it is apparent that the claimant is not entitled to the dormant account,

in which case the Sole Arbitrator shall not accept the claim for further processing and shall not disclose to the claimant the name of the bank or the amount held in the dormant account.   The claimant may re-submit a claim for decision by a Claims Panel within thirty (30) days upon receipt of the Sole Arbitrator's decision.

A written claims resolution agreement in accordance with Article 2 is not required for the initial screening.



IV.  Fast Track Procedure

Article 11  Initiation and Timing of Fast Track Procedure

Claims may be submitted to a Sole Arbitrator for fast track review at the request of the Swiss bank or upon agreement of all parties involved.

Claims submitted to a Sole Arbitrator shall be resolved within thirty (30) days after submission to the fast-track approval.


Article 12  Scope of Fast Track Review

To make an award to a claimant using the Fast Track procedure, a Sole Arbitrator shall decide:
  1. that the claimant has a valid claim applying the standards of proof provided for in Article 22, provided that such a conclusion is possible by simple legal and factual inquiries, taking into account any sworn written or oral statement from the claimant in accordance with Article 24; and


  2. that the payment offered by the Swiss bank to the claimant complies with the guidelines on interest and fees recommended by an international panel and as adopted by the Board of Trustees (the "Interest Guidelines"); and


  3. that the claim does not have to be referred to a Claims Panel under the provisions of Article 13.


Article 13  Referral to a Claims Panel by the Sole Arbitrator

A claim submitted to the fast track procedure shall be referred to a Claims Panel for decision in the ordinary procedure if the Sole Arbitrator
  1. has reason to believe that

    1. the named account holder may have acted as an intermediary for a victim of Nazi persecution;


    2. the claimant may have submitted a fraudulent claim; or


    3. the assets deposited in the account may have been looted from victims of Nazi persecution.
In making these determinations, the Sole Arbitrator may request factual information related to the matters referred to in (i) (a) - (c) above from ICEP; or
  1. determines that

    1. the entitlement of the claimant cannot be verified by simple inquiries in accordance with Article 12 (i);


    2. the determination of the amount due to the claimant requires detailed and complicated calculations or inquiries; or


    3. a full review by a Claims Panel is appropriate for other reasons.



V.  Ordinary Procedure

Article 14  In General

All claims that are not approved in the fast track procedure shall be resolved in the ordinary procedure before a Sole Arbitrator or Claims Panel. The ordinary procedure involves a full review of the claim and all available evidence in an expedited procedure.


Article 15  Resolution of Claims

A claim shall be approved if the entitlement of the claimant can be established to the satisfaction of the Sole Arbitrator or Claims Panel in accordance with the standards of proof provided for in Article 22.

Notwithstanding the above, the Sole Arbitrator or Claims Panel shall reject a claim if, by a preponderance of the evidence, it is established that
  1. the published account holder was acting as an intermediary for a victim of Nazi persecution; and


  2. the assets deposited in the account were looted from victims of Nazi persecution.

In making these determinations, the Sole Arbitrator and Claims Panels may obtain the advice of the ICEP.



VI.  Applicable Law

Article 16  Applicable Substantive Law

The Sole Arbitrator and the Claims Panels shall apply the law with which the matter in dispute has the closest connection in deciding matters concerning the relationship between the published account holder or holder of power of attorney and the claimant (e.g., to inheritance matters or fiduciary agreements).   At the request of all involved parties other than the Swiss bank, inheritance matters may be resolved according to Talmudic law.

The relationship between the claimant and the Swiss bank shall be governed by Swiss law, except as provided by these Rules of Procedure.   In deciding matters relating to interest, fees and charges, the Sole Arbitrators and Claims Panels shall apply the Interest Guidelines.



VII.  Procedural Rules

Article 17  Conduct of the Proceedings

A Sole Arbitrator and the Claims Panels shall
  1. conduct the proceedings in an informal manner and under relaxed procedural rules that are convenient for the claimants and take into account their age, language and residence.   The Sole Arbitrators and the Claims Panels shall have full discretion to the extent necessary to ensure an expeditious and equitable determination of all claims to dormant accounts;


  2. conduct on their own such factual and legal inquiries as may appear necessary to assess as comprehensively as possible all submitted claims;


  3. order the parties to submit any relevant documents or other evidence in their possession or under their control pertaining to the assets at issue;


  4. conduct, to the extent possible, the proceedings as a documents-only arbitration, calling, if necessary, hearings at any place deemed appropriate to examine the parties, interview witnesses, and hear oral arguments;


  5. prepare and distribute the required copies of documents submitted by the parties and arrange for the necessary translations of documents and oral statements; and


  6. appoint the necessary experts.


Article 18  Submission of Information

With the notification of the nomination of the Sole Arbitrator or the Claims Panel in accordance with Article 6, the claimant shall be invited to file any additional information not yet submitted with the claim form that may be helpful in resolving his or her claim.

Each party shall produce the documents upon which it relies in conjunction with its submissions.

A Sole Arbitrator or the Chairman of the Claims Panel shall specifically inquire of all parties whether they have any further statements or information to offer.   Upon negative replies, or after the expiry of the time-limit set for the replies, a Sole Arbitrator or the Claims Panel shall declare the main proceedings closed.


Article 19  Deadlines

The Sole Arbitrators or the Claims Panels shall set deadlines by indicating the date of expiry.   A deadline is deemed to have been complied with if the submission has been mailed, or was transmitted by telefax, before the expiry of the deadline.   Requests for extensions of deadlines must be submitted before the deadline has expired.   The extension requested should be specified.


Article 20  Multi-Party Proceedings

The Claims Resolution Tribunal shall join all relevant claims in one procedure before the same Claims Panel or Sole Arbitrator, if
  1. a specific dormant account is claimed by several persons;


  2. one person claims dormant accounts with several banks; or


  3. a combination of (i) and (ii) occurs.

If a claim with respect to a dormant account is pending and a third party submits a claim with respect to the same account to the Claims Resolution Tribunal, the Chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall assign the new case to the already competent Sole Arbitrator or Claims Panel.


Article 21 nbsp;Participation of Third Persons

If the Sole Arbitrators or the Claims Panels deem the participation of third persons, such as other heirs of the account holder, intermediaries or beneficiaries, appropriate, they may invite such third persons to participate in the proceedings.

The Claims Panels may reduce any award entered in favor of a claimant accordingly if third persons who, in the opinion of the Sole Arbitrator or Claims Panels, hold an entitlement to the published dormant account in addition to the claimant (such as other heirs) do not participate in the CRP.



VIII.  Evidence

Article 22  Relaxed Standard of Proof

The claimant must show that it is plausible in light of all the circumstances that he or she is entitled, in whole or in part, to the dormant account.   The Sole Arbitrators or the Claims Panels shall assess all information submitted by the parties or otherwise available to them.   They shall at all times bear in mind the difficulties of proving a claim after the destruction of the Second World War and the Holocaust and the long time that has lapsed since the opening of these dormant accounts.

A finding of plausibility requires, inter alia,

  1. that all documents and other information have been submitted by the claimant regarding the relationship between the claimant and the published account holder that can reasonably be expected to be produced in view of the particular circumstances, including, without limitation, the history of the claimant's family and whether or not the published account holder was a victim of Nazi persecution; and


  2. that no reasonable basis exists to conclude that fraud or forgery affect the claim or evidence submitted; or that other persons may have an identical or better claim to the dormant account


Article 23 Taking of Evidence by one Member of a Claims Panel

At the discretion of a Claims Panel, evidence may be taken in the presence of only one member of the Claims Panel and the parties, except where a party is absent.


Article 24  Statements by the Parties and Third Persons

The Sole Arbitrators or the Claims Panels may hear the parties and third persons as unsworn witnesses or under oath.   Where the circumstances require it, or with the agreement of the parties, oral testimony may be substituted by a sworn statement (affidavit).



IX.  The Claims Resolution Tribunal

Article 25  Composition of the Claims Resolution Tribunal

The Claims Resolution Tribunal is composed of
  1. a Chairman;


  2. a Vice Chairman; and


  3. up to 15 Arbitrators.

The Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Arbitrators shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees.


Article 26  Organization

The Claims Resolution Tribunal shall organize itself and may, if necessary, promulgate rules of its practice and internal rules consistent with these Rules of Procedures.


Article 27  Procedures of the Claims Resolution Tribunals

In meetings of all members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal, the presence of the majority of all members shall constitute a quorum.   Absent members cannot be represented.   Resolutions of the Claims Resolution Tribunal are adopted by a majority vote of the members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal present.   In case of a tie, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.


Article 28  Functions of the Chairman

The Chairman shall perform the following functions:
  1. Appointment of Fast Track Arbitrators:   The Chairman shall appoint three or more members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal to decide cases under the fast track procedure.   He shall distribute the case workload fairly and equitably among these arbitrators consistent with the objective of expedited decisions of uncomplicated and uncontested cases.   The Chairman shall maintain diversity of nationality between claimants and arbitrators.


  2. Appointment of Sole Arbitrators and Claims Panels:   The Chairman shall appoint to every claim submitted to the ordinary procedure a Claims Panel, composed of a chairperson and two co-arbitrators, or a Sole Arbitrator chosen from among the members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal.   He shall distribute the case load fairly and equitably among the members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal taking into account their availability and the language of the claimants.   Any member of the Claims Resolution Tribunal may be appointed as Sole Arbitrator in addition to serving as a member of a Claims Panel.


  3. Consultation with Members of the Tribunal:   In making the appointments pursuant to Article 6, the Chairman shall consult with the other members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal as he deems appropriate.


  4. Reports to Board of Trustees:   The Chairman shall submit to the Board of Trustees a monthly written report on the activities and the conduct of the Claims Resolution Tribunal.


  5. Administration of Claims Resolution Tribunal:   The Chairman shall administer the Claims Resolution Tribunal in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and the Swiss law on international arbitration.   The Tribunal shall keep an arbitration docket, maintain books and records as may be appropriate and keep a copy of every award that is entered by a Sole Arbitrator or a Claims Panel.


  6. Meetings:   The Chairman shall convene, and preside over, meetings of all members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal to resolve matters of importance to all claims and to issue, if appropriate, rules of its practice and internal rules consistent with the Rules of Procedure.


  7. Financial Control:   The Chairman shall administer the Claims Resolution Tribunal's financial planning and control.   He shall prepare a quarterly financial statement on the cost and expenses of the Claims Resolution Tribunal, and submit a quarterly budget to the Board of Trustees.


  8. Other Functions:   The Chairman shall fulfill all other functions assigned to him by the Rules of Procedure or the Board of Trustees.


Article 29  Function of the Vice Chairman

The Vice Chairman shall replace the Chairman if he is absent or temporarily not able to fulfill his functions.


Article 30  Secretary of the Claims Resolution Tribunal

The Board of Trustees may appoint, in consultation with the Claims Resolution Tribunal, a law firm to act as the Secretary of the Claims Resolution Tribunal.   The Secretary may be assigned to, inter alia,
  1. assist the Chairman in the performance of his functions;


  2. assist the Sole Arbitrators and Claims Panels in the administrative arrangements for the proceedings, including, without limitation, preparation of a file for use in the CRP and factual and legal research on behalf of the Sole Arbitrators and Claims Panels;


  3. attend and keep minutes of all hearings of the Sole Arbitrators and Claims Panels;


  4. attend and keep minutes of all meetings of the members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal; and


  5. perform all other functions assigned by the Board of Trustees or the Chairman.



X.  Award

Article 31  Deliberation and Vote

The Sole Arbitrators shall decide alone.

The Claims Panels shall decide by a simple majority of all its members.   The members of the Claims Panels may not abstain from voting.


Article 32  Binding Effect of Prayers

The Claims Panels, or the Sole Arbitrator in cases under Article 4 (ii), may enter a larger or smaller award than the claimant has prayed for.


Article 33  Form and Content of the Award

The award shall be made in writing and signed by the Sole Arbitrators or the Chairperson of the Claims Panels and at least one Panel Member. The award shall contain:
  1. the name(s) of the Sole Arbitrator or the Panel Members;


  2. the designation of the parties;


  3. a description of the factual findings and the applicable law;


  4. the decision on the merits;


  5. the date of the award.



XI.  Miscellaneous Provisions

Article 34  Seat of the Claims Resolution Tribunal

The seat of the Claims Resolution Tribunal, Claims Panels and Sole Arbitrators is in Zurich, Switzerland.   Hearings may be held at places outside Switzerland.


Article 35  Language of the Claims Resolution Procedure

The Sole Arbitrators and the Claims Panels shall determine the language of each claims proceeding by taking into account the languages spoken by the parties.   Absent such determination, the procedure shall be conducted in English.   The Claims Panels and the Sole Arbitrators shall provide, if necessary, the translation of documents and oral statements delivered in any language other than English into the language of the proceeding.

These Rules of Procedure may be translated into languages other than English, but the English version shall prevail and be applied by the Claims Resolution Tribunal.


Article 36  Publication of the Decisions

The decisions of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall be made public in an appropriate manner to be determined by the Board of Trustees.   If the claimant requests confidentiality, the members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall keep confidential all information relating to the identity of the account holder and the claimant, unless otherwise required by applicable law.


Article 37  Time is of the Essence

The Claims Resolution Tribunal shall resolve all claims in an expedited procedure and shall render its decision within six (6) months after submission of the claim to the Claims Resolution Tribunal.


Article 38  Communications

Orders, decisions and awards under these Rules shall be notified to the parties by registered mail, or, if necessary, by private courier.   For other communications, the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall determine the appropriate means of communication between itself and the parties.


Article 39  Representation

Any party may be represented and assisted in the CRP by persons of their choice, including counsel provided by voluntary organizations.   Each party shall bear at its own expense all costs, including fees and expenses of lawyers, accountants and other professionals, incurred in connection with such representation.

If a claim is admitted in the ordinary procedure pursuant to Art. 14 et seq., the Claims Panels or Sole Arbitrator may award to the claimant a full or partial reimbursement up to a maximum of USD 5,000 of his or her costs and expenses (a) in case of needy claimants, or (b) if the complexity of a case calls for special efforts by a claimant to prove his or her entitlement.


Article 40  Costs of the Payment Process

All costs and expenses of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall be borne by the Independent Claims Resolution Foundation, and no part of the costs shall be charged to the claimant(s).


Article 41  Exclusion of Liability

The members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall not be liable to any party for any act or omission in connection with any CRP conducted under these Rules, except that they may be liable to a party for the consequences of conscious and deliberate wrongdoing.   The liability of the members of the Claims Resolution Tribunal shall be governed by Swiss law.


Article 42  Interpretation of Rules

These rules shall be construed by the Claims Resolution Tribunal so as to accomplish the purpose of fair and expeditious disposition of all claims.   The Claims Resolution Tribunal shall have the right to enact such guidelines and procedures, consistent with these Rules, as are required to fill gaps in these Rules and to deal with unforeseen circumstances.