Disputes are a given occurrence in human existence. They come in different forms and through various channels.
They must be managed effectively and quickly to prevent escalation and a harmful or irreversible breach of trust or destruction of a productive relationship (whatever type of relationship-be it business, personal, professional, etc. – it might be.)
Arbitration is one highly effective and widely accepted way to resolve these disputes. This article seeks to throw more light on the emergence of regional arbitration hubs globally on a rapid scale.
First, the definition and function of arbitration will be treated. Then we will discuss why the emergence of regional arbitration hubs is such an important development in the arbitration community today.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is the resolution of a disputes between two or more disputing parties before a neutral entity or entities (called a tribunal), chosen by both parties and the resulting arbitral award legally enforced.
One key benefit and strength of the arbitral process lies in the enabling law that grants it the ability to enforce an arbitral award once a decision is made and presented by the tribunal.
A tribunal is made up of one or three arbitrators who are chosen by the disputing parties to settle their disputes.
The Call for Regional Arbitration Hubs
Businesses, whether SMEs or large corporations have disputes from time to time. Resolving these disputes through arbitration via major international arbitration institutions can be a stressful process for the disputing entities in terms of costs, access, and correspondence among other factors.
This, therefore, highlights the need for regional arbitration hubs or centers. These centers have considerable administrative costs and better ease of access as well as region tailored dispute resolution methods.
It is no longer a surprise why there’s a surge in the emergence of regional arbitration hubs in recent years. They are here, and they are ever-growing, bridging the gap between businesses and effective dispute resolution processes within their reach.
Some examples of regional arbitration hubs in Asia are the HKIAC and the SIAC. Some regional arbitration centers in Africa include the Kigali International Arbitration Center (KIAC), the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA), the Sudanese Centre for Conciliation & Arbitration (SCCA) and the Copyright Office Ghana Arbitration Centre.
These regional arbitration hubs help in making international arbitration available to their local communities.
Advantages of Regional Arbitration Hubs.
Some advantages of the emergence of regional arbitration hubs include the following:
Incorporation of the region’s custom.
Who’s better aware of the laws governing a region other than the people from there? Having a regional arbitration center helps to consider the elements that governs a people, and to provide specific, region-tailored solutions to whatever disputes they might have.
Africa, for example, has customs and regulations different from Europe’s, and vice versa. This means that arbitration hubs in the Africa region would best in handling disputes from the region and proffering apt solutions, in comparison to what a major international arbitration center would offer. This is also true for the European nations and other continents.
Lower administration and arbitration charges
Compared to getting a hearing in an international arbitration center the charges by the local or regional arbitrations centers are relatively lower. For example, the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA) charges in the region of $200USD for locally filled cases and $21,000USD for administrative fees in an international filed arbitration lawsuit. In contrast, ICC’s filing charge is currently $5,000USD, with its administrative fees at $150,000USD.
This, of course, does not consider the worth of the dispute in question, whether huge or small. So even in a situation where a defendant ends up winning a case, he might have spent more than what was being disputed about, or than he planned to spend.
Hosting an international arbitration hub in a local center tends to generate internal revenue for the region through tax and investment in infrastructure.
The arbitration process is faster
The time taken to forward a case and be attended to is decidedly faster for regional arbitration hearings than when compared to international arbitration hearings. This is especially true as an application may have to pass through a labyrinth of processes categorized as institutional rules before you would be granted a hearing.
This is because, as a major institution, it is overseeing multiple regions; hence things tend to get a bit more complicated.
Sustenance of the Regional Arbitration Hubs
For any establishment to stand the test of time, especially one as a regional arbitration hub, there is a major role that the government of that region needs to play.
It could be, putting in place, policies that favor the awareness, education, development and growth of arbitration in the area.
Local parties having disputes should be encouraged by their legal counsel to take their disputes for resolution at the closest regional arbitration hub to them, and not take it far away.
Likewise, practitioners themselves should be encouraged to bring their skills to bear in serving the region. All these serve to build up experience and expertise for arbitrators in the region, especially for region-specific disputes. This would strengthen the seat of arbitration in the area and subsequently sponsor growth.
Also, investments should be made in developing areas where there are deficiencies among arbitrators, or there is a lack of knowledge.
This done, regional hubs will be worth the innovation,
The development of regional arbitration hubs as treated above has its advantages as well as great potential. The people of the region can at least be sure of getting a fair hearing, have their issues resolved effectively and timely at a considerable low cost.
Rattsakuten is a legal firm of seasoned lawyers that specialize in commercial arbitration as a method of resolving disputes in the regions of Europe and Asia.
Are you from any of these regions and you need expert legal counsel to help with your dispute resolution process? Look no further than Rattsakuten! We are here to help. Call us now for either an enquiry or an initial consultation and let’s get started!