Speaking in Parliament on November 2 on the Arbitration Bill, which was tabled for consideration, Chuck explained that the Bill seeks to repeal the Act of 1900 and replace it with a modern legislation that will provide an effective non-judicial mechanism for settling disputes between contracting parties.
It is based on the provisions of the model law published by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and will operate in conjunction with the Arbitration (Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Awards) Act as well as the Investment Disputes Awards (Enforcement) Act.
Minister Chuck said the legislation will reinforce the Government’s path towards a more sustainable and developed business environment.
“Jamaica has been plodding along with an outdated arbitration regime in which investors have found no confidence. We need to move towards the adoption of the UNCITRAL model law, which has been accepted in over 70 countries worldwide and over 100 jurisdictions,” he said.
With the passing of this Bill, Jamaica will join the large number of countries that have adopted the model law and, as such, will benefit from the internationally agreed best practices that are disseminated and promoted by UNCITRAL on an ongoing basis.
Chuck noted that international arbitration is chosen as the preferred dispute-resolution method for cross-border disputes because awards are enforceable under the New York Convention in more than 148 countries around the world.
He said arbitration results in faster resolution of disputes, the process is flexible, it involves simplified rules of evidence and procedure, and the parties to the dispute usually agree on the arbitrator(s).
The Minister noted that measures are being put in place to ensure that once the Bill is passed, there will already be an established and modernised venue to host arbitration disputes and facilitate training.
The Mona International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (MICAM) launched its operations on November 3, and will be hosting a conference on November 5 under the theme ‘Capacity Building for Progress: Leveraging Arbitration for National and Regional Development’.
The MICAM will conduct several training programmes geared towards ensuring that Jamaica has a credible and well-trained cadre of arbitrators.
Leader of Opposition Business, Phillip Paulwell, said the Bill is an important step “as we try to enable our economy to facilitate business in the modern world.”
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