Local companies, as well as foreign investors, are not too keen on choosing arbitration as a mechanism for their dispute settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). There is a lack of awareness of the benefits that arbitration proceedings have (cost-effectiveness, speed, and confidentiality), and therefore they choose traditional dispute settlement through court litigation instead. Furthermore, foreign investors do not trust that the existing legal capacities on arbitration in BiH can ensure a quality and efficient process that will indeed result in an enforceable arbitration award. Therefore, it is no surprise that the total number of both domestic and foreign arbitration settled before the Arbitration Court attached to BiH’s Foreign Chamber of Commerce amounts to no more than 20 cases in the previous decade.
As a part of its project activities on raising awareness on arbitration among the business and legal community in BiH, the Association organizes an annual conference titled Sarajevo Arbitration Day. The conference was held three times – in October 2014, April 2016, and February 2017.
The main goal of the conference is to promote arbitration as an effective and efficient alternative for dispute resolution in comparison to litigation, encourage the use of arbitration in different types of business relationships with foreign companies (e.g. in construction, infrastructure and energy-related projects), promote regional forums that can be used and build a network for the implementation of similar events in the future.
As a result of the conference, the Association has established a network of arbitrators and counsels with significant experience in domestic and international arbitration. The aim of established networks is to provide a “one-stop-shop” for companies interested generally in arbitration as well as for those involved in arbitration proceedings. The network enables easy access to leading individuals that can provide an analysis of the arbitration system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or that can be a choice to consider when deciding on the appointment of an arbitrator or engagement of counsel.