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Malawi contemplating to establish a commercial arbitration institute

30 January 2022


Malawi Law Society is championing the establishment of a Commercial Arbitration Institute that will also ensure increased multinational business investment in the country as one way of ensuring speedy and efficient commercial businesses dispute resolution.

To this effect, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Lawyers Association and Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA) trained Malawi Law Society (MLS) on commercial arbitration in Mangochi from January 26 - 28 to help the MLS champion the establishment of the institute to facilitate commercial dispute resolution.

Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, said the seminar and the call for the commercial arbitration institution was timely as Malawi's Arbitration Act, which could be instrumental in resolving commercial arbitration, was outdated and needs a quick review.

He disclosed that the current Act was passed in 1956 modelled on UK Arbitration Act, adding that it is not currently applicable in Malawi.

"We are also called upon as government to ensure that treaties and conventions are domesticated to ease issues of commercial arbitration," he said, adding that establishment of a Commercial Arbitration Institute will ensure friendly business environment for investors.

He said government is committed to domesticate the New York Convention on Arbitration which the Malawi Government ratified in June 2021.

The attorney General further said government was pushing for a bill in parliament that should soon be tabled and passed to facilitate the establishment of the Institute of Commercial Arbitration practitioners.

SADC Lawyers Association Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Nyamanhindi, said international commercial arbitration on investment dispute resolution seminar was important in building skills among arbitration practitioners in Malawi.

"There are many advanced arbitration institutes in SADC, but what has been lacking is coordination of one central point with standardised rules that give us room to compete both at national and regional levels," he added.

Nyamanhindi said SADC was trying to establish a regional seat for international commercial arbitration and investment dispute resolution for the SADC Region.

According to MLS President, Patrick Mpaka, the association is looking forward to the establishment of an institute of commercial arbitration practitioners that should facilitate speedy and efficient resolution of commercial disputes in line with international arbitration practices.

"We will keep on lobbying for the establishment of an arbitration institute in Malawi that should resolve commercial arbitration, which could also attract multinational investors," Mpaka added.

The session in Mangochi dubbed 'Inaugural Malawi International Commercial Arbitration Seminar', among other areas, discussed the New York Convention and the terms of Malawi's adherence; the state of international arbitration in Africa and the pathway to practice in international arbitration in Malawi.

Source: Nyasa Times









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