Debate starts to replace 116-year-old arbitration law
Investors have lost confidence in Jamaica's outdated 116-year-old arbitration law, and Justice Minister Delroy Chuck believes that in order to restore that confidence, the country needs to adopt a modern United Nations version of the legislation.
He made the argument on Tuesday as he opened the debate in the House of Representatives on the Arbitration Bill 2016, which he said is intended "to provide an effective non-judicial mechanism for settling disputes between contracting parties" locally or internationally in a speedy manner.
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law that was adopted in 1985, and amended in 2006, is being adopted into local legislation. It covers the stages of the arbitral process, which the commission said includes the arbitration agreement, the composition and jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal and the extent of court intervention.
According to Chuck, the Government is committed to sustainable economic development for Jamaica and "investors need to feel assured that they are conducting business in an economically stable environment".
Arbitration, he insisted, "can be a game changer in the settlement of commercial domestic disputes and a major source of foreign exchange earnings from the settlement of international trade disputes".
In 2015, Jamaica won at arbitration a case against Noranda Bauxite Limited for payments due under the Bauxite Levy Act.
Chuck said once the bill is passed, Jamaica will have a centre to host hearings at the Mona International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation, which was launched last November.