BCDR hosts a roundtable discussion on "Bahrain – A Seat for International Commercial Arbitration"

  • article
Manama, Nov. 24 (BNA): The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR) hosted on Wednesday a roundtable discussion on the topic of "Bahrain – A Seat for International Commercial Arbitration," at its offices in Diplomatic Area.
Attended by more than 30 representatives of both the public and private sectors, including the Vice President of the Supreme Judicial Council and President of the Court of Cassation Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution Professor Nassib Ziadé, in-house, transactional and arbitration lawyers, the discussions highlighted the attractiveness of Bahrain as a seat of arbitration.
In his opening remarks, Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa presented a brief overview of the steps taken by Bahrain over the past years to bring its legal framework in line with leading pro-arbitration jurisdictions.
Describing the steps undertaken since 2000, he observed that as recently as early 2021, Bahrain committed to a number of "access-to-justice" initiatives, at the heart of which lies a dispute resolution ecosystem focused on alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation.
He then highlighted the supportive attitude of the Bahraini judiciary towards arbitration, and stressed the desire of the judiciary to participate in the conversation on how to bolster arbitration in Bahrain and Bahrain as a seat.
The BCDR’s Chief Executive Officer, Nassib G. Ziadé, followed with some general considerations on the significance of the seat of arbitration. Professor Ziadé examined some of the key considerations that go into choosing a particular seat of arbitration. He observed that an arbitration-friendly seat is one that is equipped with a pro-arbitration legal framework with a modern international arbitration law providing the necessary framework for facilitating the fair resolution of disputes.
Professor Ziadé then presented in light of the aforementioned considerations, the existing legal framework in Bahrain. He observed that Bahrain is party to numerous international instruments bolstering arbitration, not the least of which is the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards which Bahrain ratified in 1988. He also observed that Bahrain promulgated Law No. 9 of 2015, adopting the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration as the law governing both domestic and international arbitration, and granting immunity to arbitrators, their employees, and persons authorized by them to undertake some of their tasks, in relation to acts or omissions in the performance of their duties (except where these result from bad faith or gross mistake).
Professor Ziadé concluded his remarks with illustrative examples from recent decisions of the Bahraini courts, including the Court of Cassation, how the attitude and practice of the Bahraini judiciary was consistent with current approaches to the interpretation and application of the UNCITRAL Model Law and other arbitration-related international treaties.
The attendees then provided their views on Bahrain as a seat of arbitration, and on the most efficient ways of promoting Bahrain as a seat.