Alternative Dispute Resolution ‘Highest Priority’ of Financial Services Ministry26 Oct 2020

The Bahamas as a center for international commercial arbitration

The Ministry of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration has made the implementation of a proper arbitration regime one of its highest priorities, according to the minister responsible, Elsworth Johnson.

To that end, the ministry has hired an arbitration consultant for the sole purpose of overseeing the rollout of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

“The goal is to establish The Bahamas as a center for international commercial arbitration and ADR in general. This will result in The Bahamas becoming more attractive to international investors, improvements in The Bahamas’ position as a leading international financial center and the development of a new industry that would positively affect trade and other commercial activities,” Johnson said.

“We will aggressively promote local ADR services on the global stage and while the economic impact of these activities may not be felt overnight, we are committed to building this sector for long-term growth. ADR will expand access to equitable remedies for many Bahamians and companies involved in disputes, while maintaining strong business relationships as ADR processes are typically faster, less adversarial and cheaper than traditional court proceedings.”

New laws will be developed in the coming months

Alternative dispute resolution is a method of resolving disputes without resorting to the court system.

As it moves toward the formation of this new industry, Johnson said, his ministry intends to develop new laws in the coming months.

“ADR has been gaining significant traction over the past few decades and has been linked with generally favorable outcomes in other jurisdictions,” he said.

“In fact, a survey conducted by Queen Mary, University of London indicated that 97 percent of survey respondents prefer international arbitration as their preferred method of dispute resolution. An overwhelming 99 percent of respondents would recommend international arbitration to resolve cross-border disputes. The landscape for dispute resolution has changed and The Bahamas must keep pace.”

Source: The Nassau Guardian

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