Expert Insight

Commercial Arbitration In Bahrain Bahraini lawyer . Mahmood AlAraibi

Bahrain is deemed to be one of the leading GCC states in term of accepting arbitration. Since year 1988, Bahrain has become a signatory to the New York Convention. At the 90s Bahrain issued a number of laws and amendments to the procedural law to crystalize the understanding of arbitration in the judiciary’s mind. In year 1995, Bahrain was chosen by the GCC countries to be the home of the first regional Arbitration Centre. The GCC Arbitration Centre has jurisdiction to hear trade and business disputes between GCC nationals or between them and other nationals.

·         In 2009, Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution was established by Legislative Decree No 30 of 2009and it has been operating in partnership with the American Arbitration Association since January 2010.

·         In 2015, Bahrain enacted legislation – Law No. 9 of 2015 (the “UNCITRAL”) adopting the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985) with its 2006 amendments

·         There has been a number of reforms in the Bahraini procedures which aims to shorten the period of litigation and making the court process a swift and efficient process. Bahrain has witnessed a tremendous improvement in its ranking in the World Bank Report regarding he enforcement of Contract. It was ranked as 126 and today it is 69. The right mind set is far more important than having the latest piece of legislation.

·         Generally, any arbitration award shall be enforceable in Bahrain under the provisions the UNCITRAL. The Arbitration Law does not distinct between the domestic arbitration vis-à-vis foreign arbitration award. According to the UNCITRAL any arbitration award shall be enforced in Bahrain insofar the said award dos not breach the rules and enforceability requirements contemplated under the UNCITRAL.

·         There is a very recent development regarding the enforcement process. The arbitral parties now can  file a request to the High Court to seeking a decision to allow the enforcement of the award. The Court normally takes between 1 to 3 business days to issue its decision without the need to schedule a hearing. Previously, the enforcement application could take between 3 to 9 months to issue its judgment on the enforcement of the arbitral award.

·         The key point in determining whether the award will be enforceable in Bahrain may be found in Article (36) of the UNCITRAL, which provides for the grounds by which the arbitration award  would not be enforced in Bahrain. These mandatory requirements can be summarised as follows:

(a)           The arbitration agreement is entered in to by parties who has the capacity and authority to do so;

(b)           The parties were dully notified;

(c)           The award is relating to a matter which falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement and/or the subject of the arbitration is valid;

(d)           The appointment and/or formation of the tribunal is valid;

(e)           The award is valid and has not been revoked not; and

(f)            The award does not breach Bahrain public policies and order.

·         Fees: The Bahrain Court will normally charge the applicant (i.e. the Member) 1% of the award amount by way of filing fees for the enforcement application before the High Court.

I trust this is of assistance.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

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