Last week, Her Excellency Shaikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa , Chairperson of the Board of the Trustees of Bahrain’s recently launched arbitration and mediation centre, BCDR-AAA , welcomed The Right Honourable Lord Woolf of Barnes and President of the QFC Civil and Commercial Court to the BCDR-AAA’s offices in Bahrain. Others present at the meeting were Ahmed Hussain, Chief Registrar Arbitration BCDR-AAA, Dr. Hassan Radhi Member of the BCDR-AAA Board of Trustees, Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Khalifa and Malik Dahlan.
The BCDR-AAA opened its doors for business on 11 January 2010 and in doing so became the world’s first alternative dispute resolution centre to introduce statutory arbitration under section one of its decree which stipulates that cases where the amount contested exceeds 500,000BD (US$1.3million) will automatically be heard by the BCDR-AAA rather than the national courts. It also became the first ever country to offer an arbitration “free zone” under section two of the decree which states that the national courts cannot interfere with the arbitral award granted by the BCDR-AAA where the two parties have agreed to be bound by the outcome.
Lord Woolf said: “I am very impressed by the openness and warmth in which I have been received by the BCDR-AAA. The Chamber’s plans are very exciting and reflect forward looking approaches to dispute resolution. The two part approach (statutory arbitration and the arbitration “free zone”) is both sensible and constructive and I would expect that the initiative will be very successful. The BCDR-AAA has a very long future which will be most important for Bahrain in particular and in the region in general.
I hope that there is going to be close co-operation between the QFC Civil and Commercial Court and ADR Centre in Doha and the BCDR-AAA because both in their respected ways are determined to assist those who seek help to resolve their disputes expeditiously, fairly and in a most straight forward manner.”
H.E. Shaikha Haya bint Rashid AL Khalifa, Chair of the BCDR-AAA said: “We are honoured to have received Lord Woolf at the BCDR-AAA. He is an eminent legal figure of the highest order. It is very important that arbitration and mediation centres in the region and in the world communicate.”.
Ahmed Husain, Chief Registrar, BCDR-AAA added: “The BCDR-AAA and the QFC Civil and Commercial Courts understand that the Gulf as a region is growing rapidly. Foreign direct investment and the increase of multinationals in the region means that legal arbitration frameworks of the highest standard are needed in order to attract and maintain international trade and investment.”