BCDR releases draft amendments to its 2017 Rules of Arbitration

The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution ("BCDR") is releasing draft amendments to its current  Rules of Arbitration, which entered into force in October 2017.

Published today on its website, the draft amendments are open to public review, and BCDR welcomes feedback from practitioners and other interested parties.

To bring its rules into line with prevailing best practices, BCDR established, at the end of 2015, a Rules Review Committee tasked with drafting revised arbitration rules. The Committee comprises Dr. Antonio R. Parra, former ICSID Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Adrian Winstanley, OBE, former LCIA Director-General, and Prof. Nassib G. Ziadé, BCDR's Chief Executive Officer. The adoption of the 2017 rules marked the culmination of more than two years of work, including consultation with a wide range of professionals.

In the past three years, the BCDR rules have generated positive feedback from users, and have won praise from leading international arbitration specialists, including those who contributed to the seventh and eighth issues of the BCDR International Arbitration Review, which were devoted to commentaries on the rules.

The Rules Review Committee, therefore, currently proposes only limited amendments to enhance the rules, including the following noteworthy changes:

  • a provision reflecting BCDR's practice of allowing a non-defaulting party to cover a defaulting party's portion of the case management fee before BCDR proceeds with suspension or termination of the proceedings (amended Article 5.4, and Paragraph 10 of the Fee Schedule);
  • clarification of the default procedure for the appointment of co-arbitrators by BCDR in the event the parties do not agree a nomination procedure (amended Article 9.4);
  • encouraging and enhancing the use of electronic means of communication and of virtual meetings and hearings in BCDR-administered arbitrations, in line with BCDR's recently published Guidance Note encouraging tribunals and parties alike to make use of electronic means whenever possible (amended Articles 14.10, 16.3, 22.1 and 35.6);
  • the requirement that, before accepting appointment, a tribunal-appointed expert signs a statement of impartiality and independence and discloses any circumstances that may give rise to justifiable doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence, in line with the existing parallel requirement for arbitrators and tribunal secretaries (amended Article 25.1); and
  • allowing the arbitral tribunal, or BCDR if the tribunal is not yet appointed, to issue an order terminating an arbitration if the parties have taken no steps in the arbitration for an extended period (amended Article 38.2).

BCDR wishes to ensure that the amendments to the rules take proper account of the views and expectations of those who rely on them. To this end, BCDR invites comments on the draft amendments from interested parties. Comments should be submitted no later than 9 February 2021 and may be sent by email to [email protected].

Please click here to download the draft amendments to the current arbitration rules.