The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa(Comesa) Court of Justice is set to revise its current arbitration rules to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to keep pace with the best international practices.
Meanwhile, Malawi is supporting the move.
The current rules were formulated in 2003 when the court had only one division. Currently, it has two divisions, namely the Court of First Instance and the Appellate.
In a statement released yesterday and signed by Comesa’s head of corporate communications Mwangi Gakunga, the present rules were out of date, according to Judge President of the Court Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, who was speaking during a three-day training workshop on Arbitration as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism.
Reads the statement in part: “The success in the arbitration field is not only dependent on arbitration practitioners but also on qualified arbitrators. This underscores the need to equip judges and judicial staff of the Comesa Court with the skills to efficiently manage arbitral proceedings, from the initial stage of appointment as dispute resolvers,” said Chibesakunda.
In an interview yesterday, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale said the review is timely.
“The rules are a bit aged and the decision to review them comes at a right time,” he said.
Kaphale said the revised arbitration rules will be beneficial and conducive to the development of intra-regional trade.
He said Comesa has proved to be an important trading bloc to the country.
The workshop targeted the entire bench of the court that comprise 12 judges with the objective of exploring the role that the Comesa Court can play in enhancing access to justice through arbitration.