Dialogue with Academicians on Teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution held on Thursday, 31 January 2019 at BIAC

Speakers at a dialogue with Academicians on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) held on 31 January, 2019 in the city stressed the need of introducing Alternative Dispute Resolution courses in legal education. Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC) organized the dialogue which was attended by eminent academicians, lawyers and representatives from the corporate houses.

Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Dhaka Dr. Taslima Monsoor graced the event as Guest of Honor. In her address she stated how the field of dispute resolution appears to have quite different meanings and functions inside and outside law faculties.  She also said that if ADR is being used as a vehicle to teach lawyers’ skills and process, then some of the serious political and policy issues raised by the wholesale exclusion of certain categories of cases from the court system might not be addressed. Dr. Taslima said that we do not have ADR as a subject being taught in most of our universities and emphasized inclusion of ADR courses at Honors level of Law at all the universities of the country. She thanked BIAC as the only ADR facilitating institution in the country and also making substantial progress in their experience of less than eight years in popularizing the concept of ADR among various stakeholders including the Government, the banks and financial institutions, the corporate houses, lawyers and even students of Law.

Barrister Khaled Hamid Chowdhury, Head of Laws, London College of Legal studies (South) delivered the Keynote Speech themed ‘’Teaching alternative Dispute Resolution’’. He said that the law and the policy makers have realized the need for alternative measures where mediation has started to feature in a subtle but definitive way. He also mentioned that there are around 3.3 million cases pending which is destined to reach a staggering figure of 5 million by 2020. There is only one judge for around 2000 cases and on that note ADR can play an important role. Barrister Khaled opined that teaching and promoting ADR at undergraduate and university level is very important because it will promote a culture where litigation would not be preferred or promoted and will also change the mind set of people.

Chairman of BIAC Mahbubur Rahman moderated the session and expressed satisfaction over the interest of eminent scholars and members of Faculties of Law of a number of universities participating at the dialogue. He said that ADR can resolve disputes amicably at low cost and less time.  The present legal education system in Bangladesh does not provide enough priority to this important area, he added. He also mentioned that since 2011 till date BIAC has facilitated 269 ADR hearings of numerous ADR cases and not only that BIAC has also organized 30 arbitration training courses, 17 mediation training courses and 9 negotiation training courses including 7 courses conducted abroad and trained over 1290 participants from the Civil Service, banks, the legal fraternity, financial institutions, corporate houses and students of Law.

Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali highlighted the background of the emergence of BIAC and narrated BIAC’s recent achievements in applying best practices of ADR in the country by facilitating arbitration and mediation and also by arranging training programs on ADR at home and abroad for representatives from banks and financial institutions, Government, the legal fraternity, corporate institutions and students of Law.

The event was participated among others by Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Adjunct Professor of Law of University of Asia Pacific. Dr. Anowar Zahid, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Law, Eastern University; Barrister Margub Kabir, Associate, Huq and Company; Dr. Jamila Ahmed Chowdhury, Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka; Dr. Parvez Ahmed, Chairperson, Department of Law, Green University Bangladesh; Barrister Sameer Sattar, Sattar & Co.; A F Wazir Ahmad, Director, BBA and Proctor, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh; Professor Dr. Farhana Helal Mehtab, Associate Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Daffodil International University; Christabel Randolph, Head of Legal, Marico Bangladesh Ltd; Barrister Tamanna  Ashfi,  Student Counselor and Lecturer, Department of Law, Bhuiyan Academy also participated in the dialogue as Panelist Discussants. Visiting Bhutanese delegation from the Bhutan Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre comprising Head of the Legal Division Ms. Migmar Lham and Finance Officer Mr. Suba Dhan Rai also attended the Dialogue

Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre is the country’s first and only licensed and registered institution in Bangladesh and it aims to embed the use of ADR as a commercial best practice to help, assist and facilitate creation of an eco-system that fosters investment including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and is conducive to business.