The newly established National Commercial Arbitration Center (NCAC) may have been set up to allow businesses to settle disputes outside the court system, but it still needs support from judges and court officials to do its work effectively, its president said on Friday.
“Arbitration needs support from the judicial system. For example, an arbitrator issues a decision, but the decision cannot be implemented directly by the arbitrator until it passes through courts first [in order] to be recognized,” said Ruos Monin, the president of the NCAC. “So, if the court does not recognize the decision, it’s meaningless.”
Speaking at a workshop on arbitration and the courts held at Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, Mr. Monin said the courts could also help the NCAC make more informed decisions.
“Another example is that arbitrators cannot order somebody to provide evidence to them, but the courts can, if the evidence is in someone’s hand and he or she does not cooperate and provide it,” he said.
Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana assured workshop attendees that the judicial system would support the NCAC, and proposed that two workshops be held every year to facilitate communication between arbitrators and jurists.
“It is very important to support arbitration systems, from the beginning of arbitration to recognizing and implementing the arbitration awards,” he said.
Anselmo Reyes, a professional arbitrator working in Hong Kong, suggested that all arbitration cases should be dealt with by one or two experienced judges who could cooperate with the NCAC.
“A specialist judge would be a judge with some commercial experience, hopefully some experience in arbitration, someone with robust common sense and knowledge of commercial law and interest in arbitration and an interest in developing in Cambodia,” he explained.
“They can deal with [the case] speedily, confidently, based on knowledge and experience,” he added. “With that sort of…judicial support of arbitration, then I think the NCAC can only be successful.”