Govt to update arbitration law | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 22, 2012

Govt to update arbitration law

Reformed rules will spur foreign investments: law minister


Left to right: Fabien Gelinas, law professor at McGill University of Canada; Toufiq Ali, BIAC chief executive; Md Tafazzul Islam, former chief justice; Mudassir Husain, former chief justice; Shafique Ahmed, law minister; Mahbubur Rahman, BIAC chairman; Latifur Rahman, former chief justice; Latifur Rahman, vice president of ICC Bangladesh; and Nina Pavlova Mocheva, a representative from IFC Washington, attend a dialogue on 'ADR to promote trade and investment', organised by Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: BIAC

The government is working to modernise the arbitration law to ease dispute resolution and attract investments, especially from foreign investors, said the law minister yesterday.
“We have rules that are age-old and need to update them,” said Shafique Ahmed.
“Now, we are working to simplify the arbitration law in a way that it can play an effective role in resolving disputes among different organisations, especially business organisations.”
“We have found that a mediator can settle an issue better than an arbitrator. We are working to train judges and senior advocates for the mediation system as well,” he added.
Ahmed spoke at the dialogue on the “alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to promote trade and investment”, organised by the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC) at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), UKaid and European Union were partners of the event.
Ahmed said the government is trying hard to ease the entire process of resolving cases out of court.
The minister said cases are piling up each year in the courts, creating a long and frustrating wait for justice.
“We hope BIAC will help bring in more reliability in the arbitration process and provide a more cost-effective, quick and efficient solution for companies, which otherwise would have to go Singapore to settle disputes.”
He said that businessmen will be encouraged more to go for ADR in coming days, as the system is a win-win situation for both parties, and is a time and cost efficient option for them.
Ahmed said the arbitration process could still end up in courts, if any aggrieved party does not accept a verdict in the end and prefers going to the court for a decree.
“Here mediation can be the best option for disputed parties,” the minister said, adding that 97 percent of cases in Canada are settled through mediation.
Prof M Shah Alam, acting chairman of the Law Commission, said the Arbitration Act 2001 needs amendments and the government needs to make it business-friendly.
He also suggested formulation of a comprehensive law to spur investments from foreign investors. The law for arbitration should be amended to meet the needs of the investors.
In his paper, Fabien Gelinas, law professor of McGill University, stressed the need for ensuring protection for business contracts and property rights to encourage trade and investment to any country.
He said the process should be faster than the difficult court procedures particularly to resolve trade disputes to bring confidence among foreign investors.
BIAC started its journey a year ago with a promise to help settle commercial disputes in a quick, transparent and cost-effective manner.
BIAC is a registered, not-for-profit organisation to provide an environment where clients can meet their arbitration needs effectively and efficiently. Its work revolves around the best ways to adapt arbitration to the fundamental changes in the economy.
Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of BIAC, said Bangladesh is already over-burdened with thousands of existing cases pending with courts. BIAC authority has prepared a set of rules to facilitate the arbitration system.
He said that with Bangladesh's increasing involvement with international trade, the country needed a cost-effective ADR facility.
Rahman mentioned that there are roughly 25 lakh cases pending before the lower judiciary and about 3.5 lakh cases before the Supreme Court.
“Many business-related cases can be disposed of through arbitration, relieving the pressure on the judicial system and helping business move promptly,” he added.
Justice Latifur Rahman, former chief adviser of caretaker government, Nina Machova, representative of International Finance Corporation (IFC), Bangladesh, and Latifur Rahman, vice-president of ICC Bangladesh, were also present at the dialogue.
Judges, law professionals, and representatives of different chambers were present on the
occasion.

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