About the Arbitration Center
Disputes are inevitable in business transactions. One way to resolve disputes is to use a formal dispute resolution mechanism, such as litigation, which happens through the courts. However, court litigation in Ethiopia is marred by many problems—so much so that members of the business community have been forced to expend much money, energy and time in the process. Due to the backlog of cases and lack of expertise, dispute settlement through courts often takes many years. And to make matters worse, in cases where the dispute involves technical matters, as in the construction industry, insurance and banking transactions, dispute settlement can take decades.
Business people will likely prefer alternative approaches to resolving disputes that are more systematic, less costly, less time consuming and more certain. To provide greater options for commercial dispute resolution, an alternative mechanism to the courts is needed. Commercial arbitration offers such an alternative with the prospect of reducing the time and cost of resolving disputes.
Centers that promote ADR mechanisms are necessary in order to enable businesses to resolve their disputes through commercial arbitration. Indeed, the absence of well-organized and suitable institutionalized arbitration centers in Ethiopia has forced the Ethiopian Government and the business community to resort to foreign institutional arbitrations in their legal relations with foreign parties. This is highly expensive and inconvenient, and Ethiopia and the business community have to cover all the expenses for the Ethiopian delegates and foreign lawyers, including travelling expenses and the exorbitant fees for the foreign arbitrators and institutions. Add to this the fact that the foreign arbitrators and legal experts who handle these cases that have little or no knowledge of Ethiopian law. Thus this center is designed to take a leading role in promoting arbitration and other ADR mechanisms, training arbitrators and other stakeholders with a view to rescuing the business community from the problems it is currently facing.
The Arbitration Center's primary objective is to enable businesses and other segments of society to resolve their disputes quickly, inexpensively and with certainty. More specifically, the Center aims:
- To support the delivery of ADR services in a professional and sustainable manner;
- To ensure that relevant stakeholders, including government officials, judges, lawyers and the business community, have appropriate levels of understanding about the legal framework governing arbitration and other ADR mechanisms;
- To provide arbitration, mediation and conciliation services;
- To conduct training for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators;
- To undertake moot court competitions among law students of undergraduate and postgraduate studies;
- To serve as a research center both for domestic and foreign business people who wish to know, consult and analyze the trade and investment environment of Ethiopia in general and the state of Amhara in particular for their investment or trade purposes.