Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre celebrates 8th Founding Anniversary

BIAC celebrated its 8th founding anniversary on 31st August 2019 at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka and a seminar themed ‘’Effective ADR Process to Resolve Financial Disputes for a Sustainable Financial Sector’’ was held on this occasion. Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs Anisul Huq, MP was the Chief Guest at the seminar, while Minister for Commerce Tipu Munshi, MP attended the event as Special Guest. Mahbubur Rahman, Chairman of BIAC moderated the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion as Chief Guest Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq, MP said that the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a decision in principle to incorporate appropriate Clauses for Arbitration and Mediation in all Government contracts. The Government has also taken steps to ensure that both foreign and local arbitration awards can be enforced in Bangladesh and we are encouraging all Government entities to choose Bangladesh at the first instance as the place of arbitration for contracts, he said. The Law Minister stated that BIAC has been able to develop a neutral, efficient and dependable dispute resolution service.

Tipu Munshi, MP, Minister for Commerce in his address as Special Guest said that recommendations of the seminar will definitely help the role of BIAC to improve Bangladesh’s rank in World Bank’s Doing Business Index. He stressed on the need of interaction between BIAC and presiding officers of courts, lawyers and jurists through seminars and workshops.

Mahbubur Rahman, Chairman, BIAC in his concluding remarks said that we should resort to a system that would allow us to resolve financial disputes and enforce contracts through expeditious and cost effective manner. He informed that a committee formed by the Bangladesh Bank comprising BIAC, Bangladesh Bank and Association of Bankers Bangladesh has just submitted a draft Guideline for the banks in Bangladesh to Resolve Financial Disputes in Banking Institutions using ADR. The Guideline is under active consideration of the central bank, Mahbub said. He added that BIAC has received recognition by signing cooperation agreement with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague, the Netherlands which is the first permanent intergovernmental organization to provide a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means.

At the beginning of the session, welcoming the guests, BIAC’s Chief Executive Officer Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali gave a brief account on BIAC’s activities and achievements in the recent years in introducing globally accepted best practices of ADR to resolve financial disputes in the country. He insisted that for a sustainable financial sector ADR can play a significant role in pre-empting disputes before going to courts.

Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Managing Director, Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) in his speech said that the THAC and BIAC established collaboration in to cater to the need of dispute resolution in businesses, commerce and potential trade roles across Asia and have been working together to promote ADR through organising trainings and conferences to increase ADR awareness.

Paramita Dasgupta, Practice Manager, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation, IFC/World Bank Group, Singapore, in her speech said that IFC strongly believes that availability of efficient contract enforcement mechanisms, both through formal court procedures and out of court mechanisms are fundamental for the proper functioning of market economies.

Professor Simon Askey, Dean, Under Grad Laws, University of London, UK, in his speech opined that a sustainable approach to arbitration must recognise that arbitrators are appointed, because they can work in ways that parties are locally familiar with and which take account of shared attitudes of the parties.

Dr. Khaled Hamid Chowdhury, Barrister at Law,   Advocate, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in his speech said that mediation is one of the most effective methods of ADR, as it is wholly party controlled, voluntary and flexible.

In his speech M. Shah Alam Sarwar, Managing Director, IFIC Bank Ltd. said that given both the Bank and the borrower are willing to rely on such a level of expertise to enforce their long term relationship, institutional ADR will bring in better prospects of doing business, for both parties.

Mashrur Arefin, Managing Director, The City Bank Ltd., in his speech said that if pre-litigation Mediation and Arbitration is ensured, the burden on the courts will be lessened to a great extent and that will result in the reduction of the backlog of cases.

The seminar was attended among others by former  Chief Justices, Judges of the Supreme Court, business leaders, prominent lawyers, representatives of corporate houses, Government officials, senior executives of banks and insurance companies, academicians, representatives of Diplomatic Missions, heads of regional ADR institutions, international organizations and the Media.  Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division Senior Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque, Board Members of BIAC, Osama Taseer and Nihad Kabir were also present.