Hogan Lovells Supports Launch of First Arbitration Centre in Rwanda

LONDON, 31 May 2012 - An arbitration centre will officially launch today in Kigali (Rwanda), opening up the possibility for corporate disputes in the country to be resolved independently and administered locally for the first time. Thomas Kendra, senior associate at Hogan Lovells is a board member for the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) and was one of the consultants who helped to prepare and draft the KIAC arbitration rules (the Rules).

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, is expected to attend the opening today, alongside 200 members of the business community, 30 government institutions, the Rwandan judiciary and legal practitioners.

Thomas Kendra commented: "The possibility to have disputes resolved independently and locally can only be a positive development in offering parties choice and flexibility. Rwanda has done much to support arbitration, passing a modern arbitration law and pushing forward with the setting up of this centre. KIAC will offer a very viable alternative for the resolution of disputes in the region and much work is being done to ensure that the people involved, including local judges, are given high-quality training in arbitration issues.”

"There is now excellent potential for arbitration in Rwanda, where previously it simply may not have been considered due to the cost and distances involved.  It is a privilege to be involved in this excellent project."

Rwanda's business reforms are part of the government’s extensive efforts to promote Rwanda as an attractive business and investment destination. The establishment of commercial courts in 2008 has already produced tangible results - the backlog and time taken to process a commercial dispute by the judiciary has been reduced significantly and confidence in the contract enforcement system has improved. However, the cost of litigation remains high and there continues to be a backlog of commercial disputes in the courts.  Until now there has been no formal mechanism for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and the launch of KIAC will address these challenges.

The Rules were initially developed by a team of consultants from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in Kenya.  The team at KIAC, with assistance from the Private Sector Federation, then consulted with private practitioners and international arbitrators, including Hogan Lovells Thomas Kendra. The Rules are principally based on a mixture of the ICC, LCIA and SIAC rules. 
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