30 lawyers receive arbitration training

Thirty attorneys-at-law recently benefitted from an arbitration training exercise. The exercise was executed by the Attorney General’s Chambers and Legal Affairs Ministry in collaboration with the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) which received financial and technical support through the Advocates for International Development’s Rule of Law Expertise United Kingdom (ROLE UK) Programme, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office.

The attorneys-at-law who participated in the recent arbitration training with Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC

Attorneys-at-law from the Attorney General’s Chambers, attorneys-at-law employed in the public sector, as well as members of the Guyana Bar Association and Berbice Bar Association, participated in the training which was held from Tuesday, March 21, to Friday, March 24, at the Grand Coastal Hotel, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
This workshop is part of an ongoing human resource capacity-building agenda in keeping with the Government of Guyana’s stated commitment to create a modern platform for arbitration as an effective method of settling commercial and other disputes in Guyana.
A necessary component of this initiative is to equip attorneys-at-law with the requisite skills to draft arbitration clauses, interpret arbitration clauses and participate in arbitration proceedings.
Accordingly, the training forms part of building the foundation for Guyana to become an arbitration hub for the settlement of commercial disputes, not only locally but in the Caribbean Region. Utilising the draft Arbitration Bill completed by the Drafting Department of the Attorney General Chambers and as part of a familiarisation and consultative exercise, the training focused on areas such as arbitration agreements, the conduct of arbitration proceedings, interim measures, and preliminary orders, evidence collection, written submissions, arbitration hearings, enforcement of arbitration awards and arbitration institutions.
The training was facilitated by the Regional Legal Advisor for ISLP, Pedro Villegas, and arbitration experts Charline Lim, Rose Naing, Ankita Ritwik, and Marryum Kahloon from the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
“The workshop has been received positively by State Counsel from the AG’s Chambers and other governmental agencies. The participants emphasized that the knowledge acquired will facilitate the implementation of arbitration in Guyana and highlighted the potential for international arbitration to play a critical role in advancing the country’s legal system. The positive reception of the workshop highlights the willingness of Guyana’s legal community to embrace alternative approaches to resolving disputes and underscores the Government’s commitment to strengthening the rule of law,” Villegas said.
In his remarks at one of the training sessions, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, extended gratitude to ISLP and the arbitration experts for collaborating with the Ministry of Legal Affairs on this important initiative. He also thanked the participants for attending.
“Arbitration is rapidly becoming the preferred method of settling commercial disputes, in particular, arising out of large contractual and commercial undertakings, both nationally and internationally. As a result of the economic, financial, and infrastructural transformation taking place in Guyana, and with the country becoming a very attractive investment destination and boasting one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, there is a need to establish a modern legal arbitration framework. Necessarily, this involves human resource capacity building in the area of arbitration,” Nandlall said.
This workshop is one of the several initiatives being executed to attain this objective.
According to Nandlall, hundreds of contracts are executed in the public sector involving billions of dollars with local as well as international developmental partners.
Almost every one of these contracts, he pointed out, contains arbitration clauses that mandate the arbitrations to be conducted outside of Guyana because we do not have the modern legislative framework nor the human resource capacity to do them locally.
The Government intends to change this state of affairs and make Guyana a competent modern and efficient forum for these arbitrations to take place here, the Attorney General said.
He said, too, “The financial and other benefits which will be derived if we are able to achieve this objective are simply unquantifiable. The short-term objective is to make Guyana as attractive as possible for the resolution of disputes arising out of commercial contracts executed locally.”
The Senior Counsel explained that the long-term objective is to create the type of environment, legal infrastructure, and human resource base to make Guyana an attractive arbitration hub for the Caribbean and even South and Latin America.
“Our Government sees no reason why we cannot strive to achieve these goals. We have completed similar training exercises with lawyers at the private Bar, operators in the private sector as well as with our judicial officers. These training initiatives will continue,” he said.