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“Arbitration Law Must Keep Pace With Change and Help Resolve Disputes”

“Arbitration Law Must Keep Pace With Change and Help Resolve Disputes”

Arbitration is one of the most used means of conflict resolution in the world to mediate commercial disputes in a fast, specialized, efficient and confidential manner. In Mozambique, and according to expert Carlos Martins, the law on the matter, existing for over 20 years, has already started to present gaps and, due to the long time in force, is no longer suited to current developments, and is generating controversy in its interpretation.

“Laws must keep up with changes and we need one that is able to resolve conflicts. We need to take into account that there are gaps that are generating controversy, as there are problems of interpretation, especially at this time when we are beginning to see some changes in the Investment Law,” clarified the lawyer and mediator of the Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation Centre, Carlos Martins.

Designated as Law No. 11/99 of 8 July, Carlos Martins, speaking at the 1st International Arbitration Conference, specifically in the panel on “Arbitration in Mozambique: Relevant Issues”, said that new decisions should be introduced in the legislation, because the current one has been creating “headaches” and hindering the implementation of the work.

“It is important that new rulings are approved. The laws do not indicate concrete deadlines. An Arbitration Law cannot live amidst uncertainty as it creates a headache and makes proceedings lengthy. We need to avoid convictions without evidence,” he explained.

According to the source, some articles are no longer in line: “we need to foster international arbitration, as other countries do. There should be articulation between courts to help solve issues related to arbitration and thus raise development”.

Given the points raised, the Mozambican Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, Helena Kida, present at the event, recalled that arbitration boosts economic growth and productivity, and opens space for job generation, and revealed that the Government is committed to promoting initiatives aimed at creating competent institutions in the matter.

“Mozambique has always been a friend of arbitration and we seek to work to dynamise the resolution of conflicts. One of the challenges that we are faced in general has to do with the legal sector, and that is why we appeal to the existence of private legislative initiatives in the matter of arbitration, so that together we can solve the problems”, said the official, according to whom, the issue of arbitration has always been at the centre of the Government’s attentions, often working as an attraction and protection of foreign investment that sees arbitration as a relevant means.

“Given the relevance that the subject occupies in the national agenda, the Government recently launched the Economic Acceleration Package of Measures (PAE), in which one of the priorities was defined as the massification of alternative means for the resolution of disputes, this, more than a political commitment, is a constant concern,” she elucidated.

Meanwhile, with regard to the conference, the minister stressed that it was of great importance as it allowed the private sector to be aligned with the Government, thus creating a platform for constant interaction that will help boost alternative means of dispute resolution.

Organised by the Commercial Arbitration Centre of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the meeting, which took place in Maputo, aimed to train and inform interested parties on the benefits, vicissitudes and specific elements of commercial arbitration, as well as contribute to the dynamisation and improvement of the quality and efficiency of trade in the country.

On the occasion, important issues on the Mozambican arbitration reality were addressed, also counting with the presence of renowned specialists from various Portuguese-speaking countries, especially Mozambique, Portugal and Angola.

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