Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) surely was a better way of ensuring access to justice, speakers said at a digital dialogue on Saturday.
The backlog of pending cases was not only hampering the activities of the judicial system but also delaying justice to be served on time, they said at the discussion.
The Digital Dialogue 20 on 'Implementing ADR in Bangladesh: Prospects and Challenges' was organized by Lawyers and Jurists Foundation in association with the Business Standard, read a press release.
The Laws and Our Rights, The Daily Star and London College of Legal Studies (LCLS South) are giving the event special coverage this week.
Justice M Imman Ali, judge of the Appellate Division, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, attended the programme as the chief guest.
"People hardly choose the method of negotiation as the parties from both sides feel reluctant to come in negotiation for settling disputes," he said.
Justice M Imman Ali further said surely ADR mechanism was saving time and costs of the parties and ultimately helping them to get justice speedily.
Special guest of the discussion Justice M Khurshid Alam Sarkar, judge of the High Court Division, said ADR mechanism was not just for dealing arbitrations only.
It also included mediation, conciliation, evaluation and negotiation, he added.
He suggested making a uniform ADR law in the perspective of Bangladesh's legal mechanisms to improve the overall social justice system.
He also focused on how arbitration was helping to resolve domestic and international commercial trade disputes.
Faruque Hasan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), spoke about ADR mechanism from the perspective of a client.
He talked about how ADR was settling complaints relating to Readymade Garment Industry (RMG) sector and how much effective and helpful it was for the owners of the companies and their employees and workers.
Rizwan Rahman, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), mentioned that ADR was beneficial for importers and exporters in terms of cash flow and cost of settling trade transactions.
He further said DCCI had partnered with BIAC (Bangladesh International Arbitration Center), which added a new dimension for resolving any disputes in trade, commerce and investment sectors.
Md Arfan Ali, president and managing director of Bank Asia, mentioned that banks as institutional clients were getting proper justice from the implementation of ADR mechanisms.
He further said ADR was managing the risks of non-performing loans.
Such loans were linked with the liquidity of banks, he continued.
So before going to the court, it was better if such complicacies were resolved through ADR mechanism, he said.
Barrister Dr Khaled Hamid Chowdhury, also head of Laws, LCLS (South), was the keynote speaker at the discussion.
Despite the advantages of implementing ADR, he equally emphasised the shortcomings of ADR.
He also made some recommendations in this regard.
He suggested reforms like making a separate Arbitration Council to deal with complaints relating to neutrality of the arbitrators and setting a time frame for arbitrations that could make them cost-effective and save time.
The Founder of The Lawyers and Jurists Foundation Barrister AM Masum, FCIArb, Advocate at the Appellate Division, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, stressed the need for regular practices of ADR in society.
He also discussed how it was linked with the country's economy.
He mentioned that both economic growth and legal development developed hand in hand. Therefore, the economic analysis of ADR is necessary to determine if ADR actually is an efficient and cost reducing system.
He further said that when foreign investors wanted to invest anywhere, they mainly focused on the host countries' protection system for securing the investments with the help of investment treaties, where ADR clauses were included.
The programme was moderated by Khandaker Asma Hamid Tashfia, advocate at the Supreme Court, and coordinated by Nazmus Sakib, an associate of the Lawyers and Jurists Foundation.