The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR) was established by Legislative Decree No. 30 of 2009.
BCDR has two distinct and separate components: a specialized court (the BCDR Court) and an international arbitration center (BCDR).
BCDR is an independent body, with a Board of Trustees, a chief executive officer (CEO) and staff. The Board of Trustees is composed of both Bahraini and non-Bahraini dispute resolution specialists, including past and present AAA officers. The Board approves BCDR's budget, financial statements and rules, and appoints its CEO. The administrative functions of the BCDR Court and BCDR are carried out by dedicated staff, under the supervision of the CEO.
The BCDR Court has jurisdiction over disputes falling originally within the jurisdiction of the Bahraini courts, where the claim exceeds BHD 500,000 (about US$ 1.3 million) and at least one party is a financial institution licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, or the dispute is of an international commercial nature.
The panels that sit on the BCDR Court consist of two senior judges designated by the Bahrain Supreme Judicial Council and a third member chosen by BCDR for each case from the BCDR's roster of neutrals. Judgments rendered by the BCDR Court are not subject to appeal. The judgment can be challenged before the Bahrain Court of Cassation only on a limited number of grounds. If the challenge is accepted, the Court of Cassation decides on the merits of the case.
Foreign lawyers may represent parties before the BCDR Court if they have a joint power of attorney with a Bahraini lawyer authorized to practice before the Bahrain Court of Cassation.
BCDR is an international arbitration center with jurisdiction over disputes with respect to which the parties have agreed in writing that the BCDR Arbitration Rules shall apply. BCDR can also administer arbitrations under non-institutional rules or procedures when the parties have made a written agreement to this effect. Parties may be local or foreign individuals, businesses or governmental entities, contracting in the Gulf area and beyond.
Mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) are also offered by BCDR.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process entered into by the parties by means of a binding agreement that their dispute will be determined by a neutral arbitrator, or panel of arbitrators. Unlike mediation, in which the parties seek to settle their dispute by agreement, the arbitrator renders a judgment in the form of a binding and enforceable award.
The advantages of arbitration include:
- Party autonomy and flexibility: parties may agree on rules, procedures, location and applicable law, and may participate in the selection of the tribunal.
- Neutrality: the arbitration will take place before a neutral tribunal.
- Relevant expertise: arbitrators and legal representatives will have technical and legal expertise and experience relevant to the substantive issues of the dispute.
- Speed and finality: the resolution of disputes, even of high value and complexity, may be achieved more expeditiously than in litigation. This, and a very limited right of review, guarantee a timely conclusion.
- Cost-effectiveness: arbitration costs may be significantly lower than the costs of litigation.
- Confidentiality: arbitration protects the privacy and confidentiality of issues and parties.
- Enforceability: there is a much more extensive treaty regime for the enforcement of arbitral awards than for the judgments of national courts.
Parties who choose to arbitrate their disputes may do so without the services of an administering institution, or under the rules and supervision of an institution.
By choosing administered arbitration, the parties may simply incorporate into their agreement a set of rules produced by a reputable institution, and so avoid the need for drafting detailed and complex ad hoc dispute resolution provisions that may be defective in one way or another.
Institutional rules will include provisions to avoid delays and obstruction in appointing the arbitral tribunal and in the conduct of the arbitration; default provisions for the place and language of the arbitration; and provisions for expediting the procedure and for obtaining interim measures of protection.
However, if the parties' agreement provides for arbitration without reference to any administering institution (including arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules), the parties may request an established international arbitration center such as BCDR to administer the arbitration.
BCDR provides an efficient, cost-effective and professional service in its administration of the arbitration, actively monitoring the proceedings to avoid unnecessary expense and delay. Every arbitration is overseen from commencement to conclusion by a dedicated Case Manager. Between them, the Case Managers can administer arbitrations in Arabic, English and French.
Thus, BCDR offers a complete arbitration service, local, regional and international, under the state-of-the art BCDR Rules of Arbitration, and within the framework of modern, arbitration-friendly laws.
While the parties are free to nominate arbitrators of their choosing (subject to independence, impartiality and availability), BCDR maintains a panel of international arbitrators, from which it can select arbitrators with relevant experience and expertise for appointment by the Chamber or provide a list of candidates from which the parties may make their selection.
In 2015, Bahrain enacted legislation adopting the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration for both international and domestic arbitration, enhancing an already arbitration-friendly legal system.
Bahrain offers modern infrastructure, support services, information technology and connectivity. Its international airport connects with over 50 destinations worldwide.
Bahrain is therefore a good choice for both the legal place of arbitration and the physical location for any hearings and meetings.
Mediation is a facilitated negotiation in which an independent and impartial mediator works with the parties to achieve a mutually-agreed settlement of their dispute.
Unlike an arbitrator, the mediator cannot impose a resolution on the parties. However, if settlement is achieved, the terms and conditions of the settlement are generally recorded in an agreement between the parties.
- Saves time and cost: although the parties and the mediator will have to devote sufficient time to preparing for the mediation, the mediation itself is often concluded within a short period of time, incurring substantially lower costs than those incurred in litigation or arbitration.
- Suitable for lower-value disputes: although mediation may be successfully used in almost any dispute, it is particularly suitable for lower-value claims, when the cost of litigation or arbitration may quickly exceed the sums in dispute.
- No admission of liability: mediation does not require the apportionment of responsibility and may therefore lead to a mutually more satisfactory outcome for the parties than an imposed determination, and with a greater prospect of restoring valued relationships.
- Private and confidential: mediation is a consensual, private and confidential process that protects the identity of the parties and the existence or nature of the dispute.
- Options maintained: as mediation is a form of negotiation in which a settlement cannot be imposed, the parties are still free to resort to binding adjudication through arbitration or litigation, if settlement cannot be achieved. In such a case, neither party may rely on or invoke, in subsequent arbitral or judicial proceedings, views expressed or proposals made in the course of the mediation.
As for its administration of arbitrations, the Chamber provides efficient and cost-effective administration under its mediation rules, with each mediation overseen from commencement to conclusion by a dedicated Case Manager.
Information about ADR procedures in addition to arbitration and mediation, such as Expert Determination and Early Neutral Evaluation, can be obtained from the Chamber, using the contact coordinates below.
With dedicated offices in the heart of the Diplomatic Area of Manama, among leading multinational businesses, BCDR offers three state-of-the-art hearing rooms with breakout rooms, all equipped to a high specification.
Our comprehensive support services include:
- telephone, video and conferencing facilities;
- high-speed, security-enabled wireless internet connection;
- fully-integrated DAV technology;
- 24-hour technical support;
- photocopying, scanning and printing;
- simultaneous and consecutive translation;
- a full catering service; and
- assistance with hotel and short-let bookings.
Suite 301 (3rd Floor)
Bldg 247 Road 1704
P.O. Box 20006
Diplomatic Area 317
Kingdom of Bahrain