Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution
The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR-AAA) was established by Royal Legislative Decree in 2009 in line with Bahrain's national economic plan, ‘Vision 2030’ and was conceived by the Kingdom of Bahrain's Ministry of Justice and Bahrain's Economic Development Board. The BCDR-AAA was founded with the aim of providing a strong legal framework to guarantee a safe economic environment to maintain and attract international trade and investment in Bahrain through the use and implementation of international best practice in alternative dispute resolution.
The BCDR-AAA sets a new standard for the provision of alternative dispute resolution services in the region. Established in partnership with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the world's largest provider of conflict management and dispute resolution services, the BCDR-AAA provides international, regional and domestic commercial and governmental users contracting in the Gulf and beyond, with a purpose-built solution for the rapid, effective, and certain resolution of commercial disputes.
BCDR-AAA has on its roster some of the most experienced mediators in the region. Furthermore, parties will have access to a roster of mediators from the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the international division of the AAA. Parties can specify what particular requirements and expertise they are seeking and the Chamber will provide a list of mediator candidates to meet their needs.
The BCDR-AAA Mediation Process
The mediation process is inherently private and confidential. BCDR-AAA works to ensure that parties using mediation save time and costs in addition to benefitting from mutual control over the process and outcome.
Mediation is a voluntary process, thus before the process can begin, parties must agree in writing to submit their dispute to mediation under the BCDR-AAA Mediation Rules. Mediation agreements may be included as part of a contract that specifies how disputes arising out of that contract are to be resolved. Alternatively, parties frequently agree to mediate following the onset of a dispute regardless of contractual stipulations.
The BCDR-AAA’s role as administrator includes helping parties in the management of their case, mediator selection and appointment (whether from the BCDR-AAA or the ICDR’s pool of mediators, or mediators chosen by the parties independently), as well as handling mediator finances.
The mediation itself will be conducted by the mediator in accordance with the BCDR-AAA’s rules and after the mediator has agreed to be bound by the BCDR-AAA’s Mediator Code of Conduct. Both the Mediation Rules and Mediator Code of Conduct enshrine the principle of party self-determination in the process.
The Legal System of Bahrain
The legal system of Bahrain is a hybrid system deriving from a number of jurisprudential traditions, including Islamic Shari’a, Egyptian Civil, Criminal and Commercial Law (the Egyptian system itself deriving from the French Napoleonic code, local tradition and custom) and English common law.
The judicial system of Bahrain is divided into Ordinary Courts, which include Civil, Criminal, and Islamic Shari’a Law Courts, as well as other military courts; and furthermore following the entry into force of the 2002 Constitution, a Supreme Constitutional Court was established to review the constitutionality of legislation.
The Civil Law Courts are authorized to settle all commercial, civil, and criminal cases, and all cases involving disputes related to the personal status of non-Muslims, based on laws such as the Code of Civil Procedure, the Law of Commerce, the Criminal Code, and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Shari’a Law Courts have jurisdiction over all issues related to the personal status of Muslims only, both Bahraini and non-Bahraini, as well as all matters relating to Muslim’s inheritance, gifts, wills, and charitable donations (waqf).
Attitudes towards Mediation
Mediation has played an important role in the dispute resolution culture of the Middle East, and particularly in Bahrain. It has been, and still remains a popular dispute resolution method due to its resonance with Arab culture and influence of the Islamic teachings, which encourage the use of mediation and other forms of amicable dispute resolution in various settings.
The BCDR-AAA also offers extensive mediator training and mediation awareness campaigns to its various users and stakeholders at different levels and sectors, inside and outside Bahrain in an effort to further promote mediation in the region.
For more information, visit the BCDR-AAA website: www.bcdr-aaa.org