ACDR Arbitration Rules and Online Dispute Resolution in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Center for Commercial Dispute Resolution (ACDR) and Harakat Afghanistan Investment Climate Program (Harakat)

Launch of ACDR Arbitration Rules and Online Dispute Resolution in Afghanistan –Online Event

Date: May 20, 2020

Participants: ACDR Executive Director, Harakat CEO, ACCI CEO, ICC Afghanistan Founding Member and CEO, Harakat PPD Manager, Deputy of Afghanistan Independent Bar Association, ACDR Arbitrators and Mediators, Law Professors, Commercial Dispute Resolution Experts, Attorneys and Law Students.

The first-ever institutional arbitration rules and ODR event in Afghanistan

-Virtual Event for Practical Solutions-

Event Summary

Afghanistan Center for Commercial Dispute Resolution (ACDR) in collaboration with Harakat Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility (Harakat) organized an online event to launch the first-ever institutional arbitration rules in Afghanistan i.e. ACDR Arbitration Rules and introduce Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for the first time in Afghanistan.

  1. ACDR Arbitration Rules

According to Doing Business 2020 Report of World Bank on Afghanistan Economy profile, contract enforcement/resolution of a contractual dispute in Commercial Courts (a contractual claim of breach of Sales Contract) of a claim value at AFN 355,651 (USD 4,679) takes 1642 days.

Considering that “time and money” are the two most important matters for parties to a dispute in dispute resolution process, ACDR resolved its last two cases through arbitration valued at AFN 2,197,964 (USD 28,921) and AFN 2,698,500 (USD 38,507) within 120 days for each case after formation of the arbitral tribunals. In comparison with dispute resolution in courts and considering the two mentioned cases resolved at ACDR, it took 1,522 less days in resolving disputes which are several times more in value than the claim mentioned in the Doing Business Report i.e. AFN 355,651.

In order to have cost-efficient, fast and well-managed arbitration proceedings there should be a set of rules under which the arbitration proceedings can be managed and conducted. ACDR took the initiative and developed the first ever institutional arbitration rules in Afghanistan i.e. the ACDR Arbitration Rules with the assistance of its international partners and arbitrators.

  1. Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

Commercial Cases in commercial courts of Afghanistan are piling up as Afghan courts are not operating and are unable to decide the cases due to the lockdown restrictions imposed by the government to combat the spread of COVID 19. While this unforeseeable and uncertain situation may continue for several months this should not result in monetary loses for the Afghan business owners in terms of their money being stuck in the dispute which awaits the judicial decision. In addition, commercial disputes are most often about monetary claims which means sometimes there will be millions at stake and the companies can even go bankrupt if their claim is not resolved soon or in other terms they do not get a judicial order on payment of what they are entitled for.

Considering the importance of the issue, ACDR would like to raise the question that, “What can be suggested to the Afghan Judiciary which can result in alternative options for commercial courts to operate effectively and resolve commercial disputes during the lockdown?”

ACDR and Harakat are determined to gather recommendations and work on the same for better results.

Participants

Participants in this event were Mr. Noor Alam Hakimyar, CEO of Harakat, Mr. Zahid Omarzai, Executive Director of ACDR, Mr. Sayed Zaman Hashemi, CEO of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI), Mr. Abdul Qadir Bahman, Founding Member and CEO, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Afghanistan, Mr. Naser Majroh, Public Private Dialogue Manager at Harakat, Ms. Najla Rahel, Deputy, Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), members of International Relations Committee of AIBA, ACDR arbitrators and mediators, Law Professors, Commercial Dispute Resolution Experts, members of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Commercial Law commissions ICC Afghanistan, large number of Lawyers and Law Students from Kabul and other provinces.

Opening Session

In the beginning of the event, Mr. Zahid Omarzai, expressed his appreciation for the cooperation of Harakat with ACDR and provided information to the participants about the importance of event, ACDR Institutional Arbitration Rules and ODR in Afghanistan.

Mr. Noor Alam Hakimyar also expressed his views on the ACDR activities regarding the commercial dispute resolution in Afghanistan and mentioned that ACDR’s activities have recently been significantly developed. He insisted on importance of Arbitration and other ADR mechanisms in terms of saving considerable amount of the time of business community regarding the resolution of their commercial disputes.  He added that Harakat will support the initiatives of ACDR such the ODR particularly when the courts are not operating in Afghanistan due to Corona outbreak and other initiatives in the future. Mr. Hakimyar also provided the participants with the information regarding Harakat’s role in establishment of ACDR.

Mr. Sayed Zaman Hashemi, CEO of ACCI also appreciated ACDR’s work regarding the ACDR Arbitration Rules as the first institutional arbitration rules in Afghanistan and introduction of ODR in Afghanistan and expressed his gratitude to Harakat for its cooperation. He emphasized on significance of arbitration and online commercial dispute resolution in Afghanistan. He provided information from International Dispute Resolution Survey conducted by Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy in 2019 and World Bank Doing Business 2020 report on Afghanistan Economy profile and concluded that considering the mentioned survey and report, development of domestic arbitration in Afghanistan would be a very significant step to improve the commercial dispute resolution practices in Afghanistan.

Mr. Qadir Bahman, also appreciated the initiative of ACDR and Harakat and provided detailed information on the international arbitration of ICC. Moreover, he also explained the role of ICC Afghanistan’s technical commissions in improving the commercial dispute resolution practices in Afghanistan.  

Session on ACDR Arbitration Rules

During the second session of the event, Mr. Zahid Omarzai provided detailed information about ACDR Arbitration Rules to the participants and explained how arbitration proceedings will be managed by ACDR under the mentioned rules.  

Technical Session on ODR in Afghanistan

At the end, during the technical session on ODR in Afghanistan Ms. Najla Rahel, Ms. Freshta Zuhal Rahman, Dr. Abdul Vahed Afzali, and Mr. Mohammad Ismail Shahid provided comprehensive information about ODR, its benefits, developments, challenges and their practical solutions, and it’s implementing mechanism in Afghanistan. At the end of the session the panelists answered the questions of participants in details.

Following the conclusion of the technical session Mr. Naser Majroh, PPD Manager at Harakat, provided the closing remarks. During Mr. Majroh’s remarks, he mentioned that the event was successfully organized by Harakat in coordination with ACDR and provided his positive feedback about the event.

Key points of the Event and Technical Session

  1. ACDR Arbitration Rules;
  2. Development of domestic and international arbitration in Afghanistan;
  3. Significance of ODR in Afghanistan;
  4. Challenges and their practical solutions to implement ODR in Afghanistan;
  5. Implementing mechanisms of ODR in Afghanistan; and
  6. ACDR and Harakat’s joint efforts to implement the ODR concept in Afghanistan.

Recommendations

  1. ACDR and Harakat’s collaborative efforts to implement the ODR concept in Afghanistan;
  2. ACDR and Harakat’s mutual cooperation to promote arbitration in Afghanistan; and
  3. Involvement of the relevant stakeholders in implementing the mentioned concept and arbitration in Afghanistan.

ACDR highly appreciates the cooperation of Harakat and looks forward to working together on development of Alternative Dispute Resolution and implementing ODR in Afghanistan with Harakat’s support.