Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Pakistan: Pakistani society is well aware of traditional form of dispute settlement which is commonly referred to as “Jirga” or “Panchiayat”. Jirgas and Panchiayats have been playing their role in resolution of disputes in rural areas of the country and have been entertaining various matters, including land and financial disputes. For commercial dispute resolution in urban settings, trade associations, chambers of commerce have been providing internal mechanisms for settlement of disputes however their efforts has not contained parties taking disputes to courts. Even with an Arbitration Act, Pakistan was not able to institutionalize the Arbitration mechanisms and Arbitration did not flourish the way it was intended. Due to lack of institutionalized ADR mechanisms in the country and other factors, Pakistani courts are said to have a backlogging of approximately 1.4 million cases. According to IFC-World Bank “Doing Business” Report 2011, contract enforcement in Karachi, Pakistan, for example is estimated to take 976 days over a process which has 47 procedures. Due to delays in resolution of disputes in courts, ADR mechanisms were required which could facilitate the SME’s and the business community resolve their disputes and reduce time and expenses of dispute settlement.
Commercial Mediation in Pakistan: Commercial mediation has largely been practiced informally by businesses and traders. However, there has been a strong need for introducing commercial mediation in an institutionalized fashion. Pakistan for example, had no ADR or mediation centre prior to 2007 where disputes may have been referred. There were no accredited mediators and SME’s and businesses had no understanding of mediation process through which they could resolve disputes.
IFC ADR Project:
KCDR Operations: Karachi Centre for Dispute Resolution (KCDR) was established as first mediation centre in Karachi, Pakistan in 2007. KCDR since its establishment has been providing following services as a not-for-profit registered society:
KCDR receives cases from Courts and parties directly. Cases pending adjudication before courts may be referred under section 89-A of Civil Procedure Code 1908 or parties may wish to submit their interest for mediation and request for case to be referred to KCDR for mediation.
Training Services: KCDR’s master trainers have been delivering trainings to lawyers, judges, and employees in corporate sector since 2008. These trainings have become popular and provide opportunity to KCDR promote mediation concept among various professions.
Conference Facilities: KCDR’s premises are used from time to time for holding Arbitrations. KCDR is member of Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group (APRAG).
KCDR Corporate Membership Guild: KCDR has launched a corporate membership scheme which has so far attracted over 40 businesses and other concerns that have either opted to join KCDR as its life or annual members. These corporate members receive number of benefits subject to their membership type.
Isfandyar Ali Khan is currently associated with International Finance Corporation, private sector arm of the World Bank Group where he is managing Alternate Dispute Resolution Projects. He has experience of serving in not-for profit sector and United Nations Development Program in Pakistan and abroad. He was called to the Bar by The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, London and read for the Bar Vocational Course at Inns of Court School of Law, The City University, London. He read for his LL.B (Hons.) Degree at The University of Hull, U.K. He is Member of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London and is Accredited Mediator from Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, London. He has also attended commercial mediation training at The Academy of Experts, London.
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