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Experts suggest reforms in alternative dispute resolution landscape in South Asia

  • Published at 11:14 am September 5th, 2021

Internationally reputed legal minds joined the webinar and spoke on the current scenarios in respect of the ADR landscape in South Asia and suggested required reforms in the field

Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC), the first and only registered Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) institution of the country organised its 15th webinar from a virtual platform on September 5 on: “ADR Landscape in the South Asia Region: Suggested Reforms’’, jointly with its partner organisation Indian Institute of Arbitration & Mediation (IIAM), one of the pioneer institutions in India, providing institutional ADR, according to a press release.  

An eminent panel of speakers from seven South Asian nations, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka representing judges of apex courts, heads of ADR institutions and lawyers spoke at the event and stressed on the need for legislative reforms in the ADR spectrum of the region for the overall economic development of the concerned countries. 

Chairman of the BIAC Board Mahbubur Rahman and President of the International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh, in his closing remarks, said that there is a huge pile-up of cases before the courts, especially across Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the reason for the same is manifold. 

Governments in the South Asian countries need to appreciate the situation and come up with reforms in their judicial systems, to help flourish their economies by attracting more FDIs to their States, Mahbubur Rahman categorised.  He also said that this is high time when the Governments of the South Asian countries should recognise the need for reform in the laws relating to arbitration, mediation and other methods of ADR.  The object should be to provide a unified legal framework for the fair and efficient settlement of disputes arising in the regional commercial relations which will definitely result in more prosperous economic growth in the region and would be beneficial to the regional countries and the global economy as well, Rahman hoped.

Chief Executive Officer of BIAC Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali insisted on using new technology in the New Normal world of ADR in view of the ongoing pandemic. He urged the South Asian nations to come up with legal reforms in order to achieve SDG-16.

President of Indian Institute of Arbitration & Mediation (IIAM) Anil Xavier He stressed on considering the way forward how countries of the region see their future options and how they could contribute in collaborating with other neighbouring countries in developing the entire Asia Pacific as a hub for international ADR and making a model for the world. 

Taking part in the discussion panellist Justice AFM Abdur Rahman, former judge of High Court Division, Bangladesh Supreme Court emphasized more government initiative for invocation of mandatory ADR in settling disputes. 

Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur, judge of Supreme Court of Fiji spoke on the occasion as a panellist and sought support from governments for encouraging mediation as a dispute resolution tool at all levels. 

Rana Sajjad, president of the Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration, Pakistan in his deliberations said that reforms of the legal regime governing ADR in Pakistan are underway in light of the enactment of the ADR Act 2017 and the Punjab ADR Act 2019. 

Matrika Niraula, managing director of Nepal International ADR Center took part in the discussion and stated that Nepal has a complete set of ADR legislation. 

Panellist Shehara Varia, director, CCC-ICLP Alternate Dispute Resolution Center, Sri Lanka said that the pandemic has taught us that we are now in an era where there are no boundaries in cooperation and communication and we should therefore use all opportunities to make the South Asian region the most sought after for ADR.

Tashi Dema, senior legal officer, Bhutan Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre gave an account of the activities and challenges of her institution. She also narrated a few reformative steps that Bhutan has recently initiated in view of the ADR landscape in the South Asia region. 

Juna Ahmed, attorney at law, from SHC Lawyers LLP, the Maldives, speaking as a Panellist, shared insights about the Maldivian ADR landscape which is fairly new and still in the development stage. 

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