The National Commercial Arbitration Center (NCAC) received its first complaint last week, almost five years after it was set up, the center’s president said Tuesday.
Ros Monin, NCAC president, said that the arbitration body received the complaint—involving a dispute between a foreign national who rented a factory building in Phnom Penh and that building’s owner—on Thursday.
“Since we announced that we are ready to receive cases, now we have just received our first complaint, which involves a conflict over the implementing obligations of a factorybuilding rental agreement in Phnom Penh,” Mr. Monin said.
He added that in the notice of arbitration submitted to the NCAC last week, the foreign claimant asks for $150,000 from the landlord for allegedly breaking their agreement.
“We issued a letter to the respondent party so that they can submit a notice of response, but so far we have not received it yet,” he said, adding that the respondent received the letter on Monday.
Mr. Monin declined to provide additional details about the parties involved in the arbitration complaint, citing confidentiality.
In order for the case to proceed, the claimant will need to pay $2,000 for an arbitrator and $400 in fees charged by the center, according to the NCAC president.
The NCAC was established in 2010 to provide businesses operating in Cambodia with an option for resolving commercial disputes outside of the country’s court system. It currently has 52 members —42 arbitrators and 10 business associations.
The center was officially launched in 2013, but rules, procedures and a budget were not agreed until July last year, finally enabling it to start accepting cases.
Sandra D’Amico, vice president of the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations, said the case signaled “interest and trust” from the private sector and said it could lead to increased awareness of the center’s activities.
“I think that many people perhaps do not understand the role and function of the NCAC so perhaps there will be more interest to understand what the NCAC does as a result of this first case,” Ms. D’Amico said in an email.
The manner in which the case is handled by the NCAC would dictate if other businesses decide to take their disputes to the center, she said.
“I think the process and outcome, if viewed as transparent and independent will encourage others to use the NCAC in the future [to] resolve business disputes.”