The BCDR's Arbitration and Mediation Centre

The commercial arbitration and mediation wing of the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution ("BCDR" or the "Chamber") is an international arbitration and mediation center with jurisdiction over disputes in respect of which the parties have agreed in writing that the rules of BCDR (formerly BCDR-AAA) shall govern their arbitration or mediation. With the written agreement of the parties, BCDR can also administer arbitrations under non-institutional rules or procedures. In addition to its commercial arbitration rules, BCDR has separate rules dedicated specifically to sports arbitration.

BCDR has a team of case managers proficient in Arabic, English, and French, who oversee each case from commencement to conclusion, whether by award or settlement. All BCDR rules are available in Arabic, English and French, with all three versions being equally authoritative.

BCDR's mission is enhanced by the favorable environment in which it operates. Bahrain boasts a reliable and effective legal system and a judiciary that is supportive of arbitration. It is a contracting state of the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. In 2015, Bahrain adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, as amended in 2006, and in 2019 enacted a mediation law based largely on the 2018 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation.

BCDR rules of arbitration

Following Bahrain's enactment of its 2015 arbitration law, and so as to keep pace with prevailing best practices in arbitration as reflected by the latest rules of leading international and regional arbitration institutions and the 2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, BCDR's Board of Trustees entrusted a three-member Rules Review Committee, composed of Nassib G. Ziadé, BCDR's former CEO, Antonio R. Parra, former ICSID Deputy Secretary-General, and Adrian Winstanley, OBE, former LCIA Director General, with the task of revising the Chamber's 2010 arbitration rules. The substantially re-modeled arbitration rules came into effect, on 1 October 2017, in Arabic, English and French. For more information on the 2017 BCDR rules of arbitration, please click here.

The 2017 BCDR rules of arbitration generated much positive feedback from users, and won praise from leading international arbitration specialists, including those who contributed to the issues of the BCDR International Arbitration Review (Part I and Part II) that were devoted to commentaries on the rules. Nonetheless, in October 2022, to ensure that its arbitration rules remained in line with current best practices, including those developed to address the practical and procedural challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, BCDR published amended rules in Arabic, English and French, as recommended by its Rules Review Committee, in consultation with the wider arbitration community. For more information on the 2022 BCDR rules of arbitration, please click here.

BCDR sports arbitration rules

The 2022 BCDR sports arbitration rules, which are available in Arabic, English and French, cater for the specific needs of sports arbitration, drawing inspiration from the specialized rules of global leaders in the field, while also being substantially based on the more general BCDR rules of arbitration.

The sports arbitration rules were drafted by a committee comprising Adrian Winstanley; Salim Sleiman, BCDR Senior Case Manager; and Hasan Albuainain, then BCDR Case Manager, and overseen by Nassib G. Ziadé.

Given their emphasis on the resolution of sports-related disputes, the sports rules differ from the more general BCDR rules of arbitration in several respects, including that the arbitration agreement under the sports rules may be either contractual or contained in the statutes or regulations of sporting bodies; that arbitrations under the BCDR sports rules may be a first instance resolution of a dispute, or an appeal of a decision issued by a sporting body or of an award rendered by an arbitral tribunal; and that only arbitrators listed in the BCDR-approved roster for sports arbitrators may be appointed to adjudicate disputes or to hear an appeal under the sports rules. For more information on the 2022 BCDR sports arbitration rules, please click here.

BCDR rules of mediation

In July 2019, BCDR introduced new mediation rules in Arabic, English and French to coincide with the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (also known as the "Singapore Mediation Convention") which is intended to facilitate the cross-border enforcement of mediated settlements.

As with its arbitration rules, BCDR's mediation rules reflect the strength of the Chamber's commitment to delivering transparent and cost-effective dispute resolution services through a clear and streamlined process. They offer disputing parties the prospect of settling their disputes at a far lower cost than that of more contentious dispute resolution proceedings, and now with greater certainty and efficacy of enforcement, should the need to enforce settlement terms arise.

The new mediation rules were the product of a rigorous drafting process undertaken by the previously-established Rules Review Committee. For consistency across the full range of BCDR's dispute resolution services, the Committee harmonized the new mediation rules with BCDR's arbitration rules, taking care also to reflect current best practices in mediation, as reflected in the most recent rules and procedures of other major institutions.

The flexible framework and light touch of the BCDR mediation rules for the efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of commercial disputes is further elaborated upon in one of the articles in the issue of the BCDR International Arbitration Review devoted to the role of international mediation as a method of resolving international disputes. For more information on the 2019 BCDR rules of mediation, please click here.