KARACHI, March 20: The Karachi Centre for Dispute Resolution (KCDR), an international standard mediation centre, has started functioning for speedy resolution of commercial cases.

The pilot project would be replicated in due course in other provinces for providing an alternate to the prolonged conventional court procedures, said Chairman of the Advisory Board of the KCDR Justice (Retired) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui here on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference, he said the centre had already successfully resolved three commercial disputes while nine others were in the pipeline.

The Centre has been established under an International Finance Corporation (IFC)/World Bank project with the support and approval of the High Court of Sindh.

Justice Siddiqui highlighted the hurdles faced by industries, companies and individuals engaged in commercial litigation for the resolution of their disputes. “In such cases litigation generally takes several years before a verdict is reached, and, often, this period is further increased if the decisions are challenged in the superior courts,” he added.

Internationally alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism/mediation is being employed for resolving such matters. Mediation centres are operating in major financial and business centres around the world. KCDR is the first centre established on similar lines in Pakistan.

He further said that recourse to ADR mechanisms/mediation was provided under Section 89-A and Order X Rule 1A of the Civil Procedure Code of Pakistan.

At KCDR, mediation services can be utilised for settling commercial disputes that are pending in the civil courts/High Court of Sindh. Even those disputes, which have not been filed in the court as yet, can also be referred to the centre, he elaborated. Responding to a question, Justice Zaman said under the amended law, the court can ask the parties involved in a dispute to go for mediation instead of wasting their time in court procedures.

He hoped the centre would go a long way in reducing the working burden from the courts.

Programme Manager IFC Navin Merchant informed the audience that the mediation was considered a successful alternative around the world, and in the UK it accounted for the resolution of 30pc of all civil cases.—APP

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