BAC Moot Society Webinar: ADR in Practice

On Thursday, 14th May 2020, the BAC Moot Society hosted a Zoom webinar in collaboration with the Young Members Group, CIArb, Malaysia titled “ADR in Practice: Understanding The Trade and Practice” to expose law students to various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in Malaysia.

The session was moderated by BAC lecturer, Ms Anusha Arumugam with guest speakers, Ms. Loshini Ramamurty (Partner, Skrine & Co), Mr. Lim Tse Wei (Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills, KL) and Mr. James Ding (Partner, C.H. Tay & Partners).

Mr. Lim Tse Wei gave a brief introduction of the Young Members Group of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Malaysia (known as YMG for short) – “Since its inception in 2013, YMG has over 3,000 members. If you are a student, you can also become a student member as long as you fulfill the requirements i.e. a full-time student in any university or college”.

This was followed by key points on the benefits of arbitration by Ms. Loshini, a legal practitioner with extensive experience in construction litigation, arbitration and adjudication. “The key benefits of arbitration are: (1) Confidentiality – it is a private procedure which maintains the privacy of parties to the dispute; (2) Party autonomy – both parties have the freedom to choose their arbitrators (who possess the relevant expertise or even technical skills to resolve the dispute), the place of arbitration, etc; and (3) Finality – there are very limited circumstances to set aside an arbitration award, so the award essentially means the end of the dispute. This gives finality that is not often present in a trial decision”, she said.

She went on further to give a brief overview of the arbitration process, which involves initial pleadings (submission of statement of claim and statement of defence by the claimant/respondent), panel selection (each party has the opportunity to file their list of arbitrators), discovery, trial prep, hearing and the award.

In terms of adjudication, Mr. James Ding shared some insights on the differences between arbitration and adjudication. “Adjudication only deals with payment disputes in construction contracts whereas arbitration can be used to settle various other disputes; the timeline for adjudication is much stricter compared to an arbitration process which largely depends on the parties, the arbitration agreement and rules adopted. Note that adjudication decisions are temporarily binding while arbitration awards are final and binding”, he emphasized.

The guest speakers also answered several questions from the participants on the skillset required to handle arbitration disputes, etc. “Sound industry knowledge is required, for example, in construction or oil & gas disputes which involve operational and maintenance issues”, said Ms Loshini.

The informative session was a great way for law students to gain more knowledge on the practice of ADR, especially those who aspire to venture into other areas of legal practice in the future!