IFC Supports Bangladesh’s First Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution

December 20, 2011— Going to a Bangladesh court to settle a dispute is a long-drawn-out process which increases the cost of doing business. Reaching a settlement is also in most cases an unlikely scenario, but with support from the IFC-managed and DFID- and EU-funded Bangladesh Investment Climate Facility, there has been a major breakthrough in this burdensome process.

Bangladesh’s first-ever alternative dispute resolution center, the Bangladesh International Arbitration Center (BIAC), has been launched with IFC’s support. BIAC will help businesses and investors settle commercial disputes out of court in a quick, transparent, and cost-effective manner through a structured and institutionalized mechanism.

A striking feature is that the initiative is led and driven by the private sector - BIAC has been established in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce - Bangladesh, the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which made a financial contribution in the Center.

In addition to helping establish BIAC, IFC is:


  • building capacity of lawyers and judges in arbitration, mediation, and conciliation through targeted skill training in Alternative Dispute Resolution, as well as certification
  • creating awareness among stakeholders and advocates who will promote this alternative mechanism as a quick, cost-effective process to reach a fair and reliable conclusion.
  • working with the Ministry of Law to implement legal changes necessary to execute the ADR mechanisms. BIAC will have its own rules, code of ethics, and panel of arbitrators and mediators that will be used by the business entities/individuals to resolve their disputes.

The first public sector agency, the National Board of Revenue, will start piloting Tax ADR (Income Tax, VAT and Customs) in January, 2012 before full rollout.

The economic adviser to the prime minister, Dr. Mashiur Rahman said, “The center will ensure better trans-border business by giving confidence to businessmen. The arbitration process widens opportunity to reach goals for which contracts have been signed."

BIAC will help


  • reduce the huge backlog of commercial cases.
  • prevent the accumulation of further backlogs.
  • reduce the cost of doing business and legal uncertainties.
  • minimize the delays of the formal justice system.

Paramita Dasgupta, IFC Regional Business Line Leader, called this initiative a “new paradigm of service delivery for lower cost and speedier resolution of commercial disputes.”

With the establishment of this vital institution, Bangladesh is on course to improve its position in Doing Business in "enforcing contracts."