President Surangel Whipps Jr. is urging the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) to look into the development of a domestic arbitration bill.

In a letter to members of the OEK in December, Whipps said that domestic arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) where one or more person(s) are appointed to hear a case that is binding and enforceable in court.

“Unlike court-based litigation, parties that elect to participate in arbitration are free to select their arbitrator and the arbitrators often have expertise in the subject matter of the dispute leading to better outcomes from both legal and commercial perspectives,” the president’s letter stated.

He added that currently there are no Palauan statutes that provide guidance to Palauan courts on supervisory jurisdiction or on the powers of Palauan courts in support of domestic arbitration and instead look to the United States law for guidance.

The president said a Domestic Arbitration Act will allow Palau to reform their own domestic arbitration law.

To begin the process, it is recommended that a working group be assembled to review and draft proposed legislation for the reform of domestic arbitration.

It was also recommended that both houses of OEK and the Attorney General appoint legal counsel to the working group to participate in the drafting exercise and be supported with Asian Development Bank ( ADB) assistance.

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