Bahrain teams with AAA to launch arbitration centre

Bahrain is to open an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) centre in a move aimed at bolstering legal capabilities across the ­Middle East.

The Bahrain Chamber For Dispute Resolution (BCDR) could open as soon as October under plans revealed by the Bahraini Ministry of Justice.

The country has signed an ­operating agreement with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), which will see the BCDR adopt AAA best-practice standards.

Bahrain minister of justice Sheikh Khalid said the move was part of a strategic plan, Bahrain Vision 2030, to attract outside investment to the ­kingdom.

“We recognised the need for such a centre, grounded in international best ­practice, to ­provide industry with an added dimension of surety to ­commercial transactions and as a vital cornerstone for ­economic growth,” he explained. “But while the BCDR-AAA will be based in Bahrain, we fully expect it to act as a hub for users around the Gulf seeking a neutral venue for the ­resolution of their disputes.”

AAA president William Slate said the organisation backed the venture because of the strength of Bahrain’s regulatory environment, which he described as being “second to none”.

The launch of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in September 2004 made the Middle East a hot spot for international arbitration.

Later this year, London set 39 Essex Street will open in the jurisdiction (The Lawyer, 3 August).

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia plans to open a series of ­economic cities aimed at attracting outside investment, which will include an international arbitration centre designed to emulate the DIFC.