BCDR unveils draft mediation rules

As part of the lead-up to the launch of new mediation rules later this year, the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution ("BCDR-AAA" or "Chamber") has released a draft version of those rules. Published today on its website, the draft rules are open to public review and BCDR-AAA welcomes feedback from practitioners and other interested parties.

The new mediation rules are due to be launched by mid-2019 and will be available in Arabic, English and French. They follow hard on the heels of the revised BCDR-AAA arbitration rules, which came into effect in October 2017. Like the arbitration rules, the new mediation rules reflect the strength of BCDR-AAA's commitment to delivering transparent and cost-effective dispute resolution services.

The new rules aim to enhance the efficacy of the Chamber's procedures for conducting mediation, and to clarify and streamline the process for the benefit of users. Building on and expanding the BCDR-AAA's current mediation rules, the new rules will incorporate best practices in the field, as reflected in the most recent rules and procedures of other major institutions, while addressing the needs and expectations of parties engaged in domestic and international business in the MENA region. The new mediation rules have also been harmonized with the 2017 arbitration rules to ensure a consistent approach across the full range of BCDR-AAA dispute resolution services.

The following are among the most noteworthy additions and amendments to the mediation rules:

  • greater detail and clarity regarding the commencement of mediation proceedings, whether initiated by all, some or only one of the parties, with or without a pre-existing agreement to mediate (Article 2);
  • clarification of the date of commencement of the mediation; being the date of receipt by the Chamber of both request for mediation and filing fee in the case of a prior agreement to mediate, or (subject to receipt of the fee) the date on which all parties agree to mediate in the case of no prior agreement (Article 3);
  • simplification and acceleration of the process of selecting and appointing the mediator, and updated provisions on independence and impartiality (Article 4);
  • increased flexibility enabling the parties and the mediator to optimize the proceedings so as to achieve a fair and expeditious outcome (Article 6);
  • possibility for parties to commence or continue parallel arbitral or judicial proceedings (Article 11); and
  • revised fee schedule, which includes a cap on mediators' hourly rates.

The draft rules are the product of a rigorous and wide-ranging drafting process undertaken by a reviewing committee set up by the Chamber's Board of Trustees and comprising Adrian Winstanley OBE (former director-general of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)), Antonio R. Parra (former deputy secretary-general of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)) and Nassib G. Ziadé (BCDR-AAA's CEO).

Please click here to download the draft mediation rules.

BCDR-AAA wishes to ensure that its future mediation rules take full account of clients' views and meet their expectations. To this end, it invites comments on the draft rules from interested parties. Comments should be submitted no later than March 7, 2019 and may be sent by email to [email protected] .