‘Brunei needs arbitration panel for disputes’

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A VISITING lecturer from the Universiti of Malaya recommended that a panel of arbitrators be set up to ensure that any arbitration conducted in Brunei is done by certified professionals.

Speaking to _The Brunei Times _on the sidelines of a seminar on alternative dispute resolution, Dr Mohd Suhaimi Mohd Danuri said that while Brunei has yet to establish such a body, the existence of an organisation of arbitrators would benefit the construction industry in resolving disputes efficiently.

“To my understanding, Brunei has yet to establish an institution or body consisting of all the arbitrators in the country, so without one, it makes it difficult for parties in a dispute to select a renowned or appropriate arbitrator should they choose to turn to alternative dispute resolution methods to settle their issues,” he said.

“If there is a professional board or institutional body which can recognise a certified arbitrator from among the professionals in the industry, it can help promote alternative dispute resolution methods as a viable option for companies or individuals involved in disputes.”

As one of the main methods in alternative dispute resolution, arbitration helps businesses in the construction industry by keeping their dealings confidential, he said.

“Arbitration is a solution halfway between directly talking to the other party and litigating in court. If it’s no longer possible to negotiate but parties don’t want to litigate in court, which is then in the public records, arbitration allows parties to resolve their disputes in secrecy,” he said.

“This is helpful because sometimes it might affect their business when prospective clients are put off from dealing with the company as they’re known to be involved in litigations.”

Dr Mohd Suhaimi, who is a certified surveyor and has a PhD in Business Law, said arbitrators should ideally have a mix of legal and technical backgrounds to be able to fully understand the relevant issues in a dispute.

“Although just about anyone can become an arbitrator, the person should at least receive training from both sides, as sometimes lawyers don’t understand the technical aspects of the particular industry in disputes but they understand the legal principles involved,” he said.

Dr Mohd Suhaimi was speaking at the Dispute Resolution in the Construction Industry seminar organised by the Brunei Association of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA) Academy and held at the Ministry of Development Training Centre’s Indera Pahlawan Hall yesterday.

The all-day event was part of PUJA Academy’s series of seminars this year to provide training to industry professionals and was attended by 104 professionals from various industries involved in construction and development.

Participants were given an overview of dispute resolution procedures and an explanation on utilising methods of alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation in resolving disputes in the construction industry before being presented with their certificates of participation at the end of the event.

The Brunei Times