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Business disputants file case for arbitration

The National Commercial Arbitration Centre (NCAC) received its latest case last week, marking just the third time that a commercial dispute has been brought to the independent dispute resolution body, its president said yesterday.

The NCAC became fully operational in 2014 but did not receive its first notice of arbitration until May 2015 due to lack of adequate resources and scepticism over its independence and mechanism.

After dropping the suit because it did not fit the institution’s criteria, the NCAC took in its second case last June. That case is currently on hold as one party in the dispute is a government body, which requires more extensive preparation than cases involving only private sector companies.

The latest legal conflict presented to the NCAC should be more straightforward because both parties contractually agreed to bring forward any disagreements to the arbitration centre, said NCAC president Ros Monin.

The case is between a local construction company and the owner of a construction development project, though Monin said he could not disclose any additional details due to the ongoing nature of the legal proceedings.

He added, however, that all legal documents for the case had already been submitted.

“The contract being reviewed was signed in 2015 and makes clear that any dispute would be brought to the NCAC for resolution,” he said.

“We will confirm whether the case fits our criteria to be reviewed during this week so they can start to choose their arbitrators.”

Nguon Mengtech, director-general of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, expects the new case to be a positive step for the court, but noted that progress for arbitration is still very slow as only very few cases have been presented to the NCAC.

“Businesses don’t want to go to court to resolve commercial disputes unless it is absolutely unavoidable,” he said. “Meanwhile, the arbitration institution needs to facilitate this process by being seen as an independent body.”

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