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NCCSL, SLNAC highlights importance of arbitration

Arbitration is a different process to resolve commercial matters and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre (SLNAC) is working towards creating awareness of the importance of arbitration in the shipping, export and import sectors, said member of the Board of Governors of Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre and Chairman, Shipping, Ports and Aviation Committee of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka Sujeiva Samaraweera.

At a glance
* SLNAC records 82 percent success
* Sri Lanka could be developed as a regional
arbitration hub
* Arbitration a multi-million dollar industry

It is important to include a clause in the contract as a precautionary measure to avoid legal proceedings which take a longer time to resolve in the event of a dispute.

Arbitration is a process that is conducted privately and confidentiality is assured. The Centre has recorded a success rate of 82 percent and we need to improve the level of efficiency, he said.

The SLNAC, the first and the most senior institution in the country in the administration of arbitrations to resolve commercial disputes was set up in 1985.

SLNAC Chief Legal Advisor and Attorney-At-Law Hiran de Alwis said that Sri Lanka is governed by the Arbitration Act 1999.

In terms of the Act we seek to enforce the New York Convention, an international treaty signed by over 100 countries. It is considered the most important commercial law treaty, he said.

Industrialists must be aware of their legal rights and should include a properly draft arbitration clause to ensure arbitration management.

Arbitration is a more expeditious dispute resolution process and the award is fully valid in law, he said. Sri Lanka could be developed as a regional arbitration hub. We have the potential as the country is free of terrorism.

The Centre seeks the support of the stakeholder to rectify the shortcomings. Arbitration is internationally a multi-million-dollar industry and if the country could be promoted as a venue for international arbitration it could benefit immensely, he said.

The fundamental responsibility of the SLNAC is to popularize the operation and practice of arbitrations functioning as a facilitator, registrar and coordinator providing accommodation, secretarial services and other attendant facilities.

Three fully air-conditioned chambers are available to conduct sittings with adequate modern comfortable seating along with suitable table arrangements. If five star hotels are required to hear international arbitrations arrangements could be made to provide all services.

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