The Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Regulations of Bhutan 2019 was launched in the capital yesterday to implement the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of Bhutan 2013 effectively and to familiarise the parties of commercial and contractual disputes with the procedures.

Attorney General Shera Lhendup said that having a new Bhutan ADR guidelines would help limit the number of appeal cases and benefit both the parties by cutting down on expenditures and time.

Formulated by the Bhutan Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre, the rules and regulations extend to whole of the country. It is applicable to domestic and international commercial arbitration and negotiated settlements conducted within Bhutan; recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards including foreign arbitral award; and any other matter connected with or incidental to arbitration and negotiated settlement.

To provide access to information pertaining to submission of the dispute for arbitration or negotiated settlement, a website was also launched.

Chief Administrator of Bhutan ADR Centre, Chimi Dorje, said that with the launching of website, everything would be comprehensively available. “All the stakeholders and parties to the disputes can now avail documents online, go through the relevant sections and educate themselves on what documents need to be submitted and how a case should be filed to the centre.”

The rules and regulations include administration, functions and powers of the centre, general provisions on arbitration, accreditation procedure for an arbitrator and roles and responsibilities of an arbitrator, arbitral proceedings, procedure for negotiated settlement, arbitration fee and application forms, among others.

The centre accepts disputes that are commercial in nature and those with contractual agreements.

“Currently, we receive 100 percent construction disputes, of which maximum involves government body as procuring agency and the other party as a private contractor,” said Chimi Dorje.

The Bhutan ADR Act was passed in 2013 to provide alternative mode of dispute resolution for commercial and contractual disputes without having to resort to the formal litigation proceedings.

According to Chimi Dorje, currently, the emerging issue with regard to arbitration was arbitration fee. To file the dispute, the claimant has to pay a non-refundable amount of Nu 5,000 for domestic arbitration and Nu 10,000 in international commercial arbitration.

“Henceforth, the cost of arbitration would range from Nu 50,000 to 1,30,000 depending on the nature of a case,” said Chimi Dorje.

He said that previously the parties had to pay only Nu 40,000 regardless of the nature and volume of a case.

The Bhutan ARD Centre currently has 30 arbitrators.

To list as domestic arbitrator, a person should be a national citizen, possessing a university degree and work experience of minimum ten years in relevant field of studies. A person should also complete the training and get accreditation from the centre.

To list as an international commercial arbitrator, a person should have a university degree with work experience of minimum of 15 years in the relevant field of studies. A person should also be certified or accredited by recognised institution.

Chimi Dema