First arbitration center in the Maldives officially inaugurated

Maldives International Arbitration Center (MIAC) was officially inaugurated on Monday.

The Maldives International Arbitration Centre (MIAC) is an independent government institution offering alternative dispute resolution services. MIAC was established under the Maldives Arbitration Act and is the first and only institution offering arbitration services in the Maldives. Although the office of MIAC was founded in 2019 and opened its doors to the public in January 2020, it had not been officially inaugurated until now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The official launching event of MIAC was held Monday at Crossroads Maldives. The Chief Guest of the ceremony was Chief Justice Muthasim Adnan. The Attorney General, Justices of the High Court, and other government officials were also in attendance.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Justice said businesses would develop and flourish if a system exists that allows solutions to issues and challenges it faces in the business arena. Such a system would enable opportunities and solutions that are accepted both legally and internationally, he said. An arbitration center is of extreme importance to the Maldives at this time, he added.

Muthasim further noted that the courts and arbitrations must work closely together, or there would be no benefit to arbitration. Although business issues are reviewed both by the courts and arbitration, it would be helpful for judges and arbitrators to review and study arbitral reports and verdicts by other countries, he advised.

MIAC's Chairperson, Mohamed Shahudhee Anwar, said although the Arbitration Act came into effect in 2013, not much work was done in the five years that followed. However, the efforts were once again resumed in 2019, he said.

Shahudhee said that although the center does not have trained local arbitrators, 220 locals are currently being trained. Over the next two years, arbitrators qualified to work both in the Maldives and at international arbitration centers will be produced, he said.

MIAC's policies have been amended to compete with other international arbitration centers, said Shahudhee. All administrative work is being done through an electronic case management system, he added.

Fifty-four individuals from across the world have been assigned as MIAC arbitrators. While the primary panel consists of 50 members, the secondary panel has four members. The only local on the list is former High Court Judge Abbas Shareef.