Cambodia launched the National Arbitration Centre (NAC) on March 4th 2013 and it is hoped that the launch will boost both local and international investor confidence and give Cambodia an edge over its more resource rich neighbors like Vietnam and Myanmar in competing for investor dollars.
Sciaroni & Associates Legal Advisor, Billie Jean Slott was a member of the NAC Inception Committee and has worked on the creation of the NAC since 2009. As a current member of the NAC, she states “this is an opportunity for Cambodia to provide transparent and quality dispute resolution services.”
Given that the NAC is in its infancy, its success will be dependent on several factors, most significantly, judicial support and the enforcement of arbitral awards by judges. While it is too premature to determine how the courts will respond to the new arbitration mechanism, the launch of the NAC is certainly an encouraging development for both current and potential investors.
A key objective in establishing the NAC is to offer the business community an alternative to the Cambodian courts for resolving disputes. The NAC is expected to settle disputes more quickly, inexpensively and fairly than the traditional court system. To ensure independence from the Royal Government, the NAC has an executive board comprised entirely of independently elected members, including Guy Spooner, a partner from Norton Rose Fulbright based in Singapore and board member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). The NAC also boasts a panel of 43 arbitrators who have been trained by experienced international practitioners in collaboration with SIAC, the Singapore Institute of Arbitration as well as members from business associations that represent the private sector. In short, great lengths have been gone to ensure the independence of the NAC from the authorities.
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