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Bahamas advances arbitration agenda

Arbitration experts attended a seminar organized by the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) in The Bahamas last week to discuss ways in which The Bahamas could become a regional hub for dispute resolution. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Arbitration experts met in The Bahamas last week to discuss ways in which The Bahamas could become a regional hub for dispute resolution.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS), Nancy Thevenin, special counsel for Baker & McKenzie’s International Arbitration Practice Group, highlighted the importance of having the necessary infrastructure, saying: “It is no good to have a centre [for arbitration] if people do not want to be here.”

She pointed out that The Bahamas was already well equipped for arbitration, with a legal framework in place, good transport links, modern infrastructure and a ready pool of professionals.


In 2010, The Bahamas became a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), officially launching its own CIArb chapter in June that year. Last month the chapter announced it would be offering high-level training to professionals in order to produce internationally accredited arbitrators within five years.

Acting as an arbitrator is not limited to lawyers; professionals from all industries can be trained and act as arbitrators for disputes in their field.

“As long as you have expertise in your field, you can serve as an arbitrator,” said Thevenin. “You want to engage the business community, they have to be a part of it.”

“It is a medium to long term project,” said fellow panelist Calvin Hamilton, founding partner of Madrid law firm Hamilton Abogados. “Everybody is not going to talk about The Bahamas tomorrow; this takes time, but you have to start today.”

Once a centre was in place, according to Hamilton, it could become self-sustaining and build on its success. “[A centre would] raise the level of awareness and expertise [so you] have a cadre of people to choose from to do this and do it properly.”

“You need a group of people who are committed to making this happen and you also need a business plan,” said Thevenin. “It is not hard to make it happen; what is hard is making it viable.”

cmorris@dupuch.com

Speaking at the recent International Business Finance Summit held in Bimini last weekend, the Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder said that the government is committed to facilitating the continued education, professional programmes and certifications for high-level executives throughout the sector.

The closure of Gibraltar Global Securities and the International Business and Finance Summit top the news agenda this week. Watch the full ZNS Business Beat roundup here.

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