Bahrain is launching its own dispute-resolution centre this year, as part of broader aims to establish a modern legal system in the Kingdom. The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR) will open as soon as October, after an operating agreement was signed on 17 August 2009 between Bahrain's Ministry of Justice and the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
The centre's role has been enacted in local legislation and seeks to capture the market for domestic and international alternative dispute resolutions. Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, said that the centre will bring in international law firms and multinational corporations. "As part of Bahrain's Vision 2030, we recognised the need for such a centre ... in order to provide industry with an added dimension of surety to commercial transactions and as a vital cornerstone for economic growth," he said.
"But while the BCDR-AAA will be based in Bahrain, we fully expect it to act as a hub for users around the Gulf seeking a neutral venue for the resolution of their disputes; guaranteeing independence, impartiality and freedom from jurisdictional conflicts."
In other regions, Singapore recently relocated its own International Dispute Resolution Centre (ICD) to Maxwell Chambers, following several moves towards liberalising its legal industry.