Background

The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR) was established by Bahrain Legislative Decree No. 30 of 2009 (Arabic) (English), as amended by Legislative Decree No. 65 of 2014 (Arabic), and operates in partnership with the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

BCDR has two distinct and separate components: a specialized court (the BCDR Court) and an international arbitration and mediation center (BCDR-AAA).

Structure

BCDR has a casework secretariat, overseen by a board of trustees. The board comprises eight members and is chaired by Sheikha Haya Bint Rashed Al-Khalifa, a former president of the UN General Assembly. The secretariat is headed by the CEO, Professor Nassib G Ziadé, and includes a chief registrar and other ADR specialists. Professor Ziadé has served as CEO since 2013, and Mr Ahmed Husain as chief registrar since 2010.

BCDR's case management team is composed of lawyers who are fluent in English, Arabic and French, and who undertake continuing professional development to ensure maximum competence in the performance of their duties.

Features

The BCDR Court has jurisdiction over disputes falling originally within the jurisdiction of the Bahraini courts, where the claim exceeds BHD 500,000 (about US$ 1.3 million) and at least one party is a financial institution licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, or the dispute is of an international commercial nature.

BCDR-AAA is an international arbitration and mediation center with jurisdiction over disputes with respect to which the parties have agreed in writing that the BCDR-AAA Arbitration or Mediation Rules shall apply, or that BCDR-AAA should administer the arbitration or mediation under non-institutional rules or procedures.

Parties may be local or foreign individuals, business or governmental entities, contracting in the Gulf area and beyond.

BCDR-AAA's current Arbitration Rules and Mediation Rules came into effect in 2017 and 2019, respectively, and are available in English, Arabic and French. Both sets of rules have introduced new features that enhance procedure and time and cost efficiency of arbitration and mediation; new and more accessible fee schedules; and new model clauses.

Facilities and services

BCDR's purpose-built facilities include state-of-the-art hearing and meeting rooms, breakout rooms for arbitrators, mediators and parties, translation booths and equipment, digital audio/video recording, video conferencing and on-site technical support.

These facilities are used not only for BCDR hearings, but also for ad hoc arbitration and mediation proceedings (including those conducted under the UNCITRAL Rules), for seminars, meetings and other outreach events.

Outreach

BCDR views training and education as an integral part of its mission, and holds training sessions and workshops on arbitration and mediation for judges, lawyers, in-house counsel, experts and other professionals. It also supports the training of law students interested in international commercial arbitration; having organized and hosted, since 2011, the Middle East Pre-Moot prior to the Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, in collaboration with the US Commercial Law Development Program.

BCDR regularly organizes international arbitration and mediation conferences, bringing together leading regional and international dispute resolution practitioners, academics, and policymakers.

BCDR also participates, on behalf of the Kingdom of Bahrain, in the working sessions of the UNCITRAL Working Groups. It has drafted Bahrain's official submissions to Working Group II, on Expedited Arbitration, and Working Group III, on Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform.

Publications

BCDR-AAA produces a biannual scholarly law journal, the BCDR International Arbitration Review, with articles and case decisions in both Arabic and English; each issue focusing on a specific topic that is current and relevant to the Arab region. Topics have included the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in the Arab states of the Gulf, women's voices in international arbitration, arbitration in Egypt, international investment arbitration in the Middle East, and construction arbitration in the Middle East.

In addition to the Review, the BCDR-AAA has launched a series of publications honoring Arab scholars and practitioners who have promoted international arbitration and international law.

Future initiatives

BCDR-AAA is currently preparing new rules specifically for investment arbitration, as well as rules for the administration of ad hoc arbitrations. It is also expanding its roster of experienced international arbitrators and mediators.