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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

A Pakistani joins European Court of Arbitration

A Pakistani has joined CEA, a court that dispenses justice in 9 months. It is important that Pakistanis participate in international organizations for our diplomacy can be strengthened. The recent appointment will consolidate Pakistan's soft power and soft image. Pakistan has an unpleasant record in international arbitration. Part of the problem stems from the lack of awareness of the substantive and procedural aspects of international arbitration.

A Pakistani, Rana Sajjad has joined the panel of arbitrators of the Irish branch of the European Court of Arbitration. Rana Sajjad is a Partner at the Lahore-based law firm of Rana Ijaz & Partners.

Rana Sajjad is the founder and President of Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration.

Sajjad is a also member of the panel of arbitrators of the European Court of Arbitration (Irish branch), the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) and an Arbitrator of the Hangzhou Arbitration Commission (HAC).

Sajjad is a graduate of Columbia University, School of Law, New York.

Established in 1959, the European Court of Arbitration (CEA) is the branch of the European Centre of Arbitration and Mediation which promotes arbitration and administers international and domestic arbitration.

Arbitral proceedings of the CEA can generally be expected to be completed within 9 months. However, if the arbitrator requests an extension on the basis of extraordinary circumstances, the Court may grant a maximum of two six-month adjournments.


These rules are aimed at ensuring that the arbitral tribunal decides the dispute within a reasonable time period. The expeditious administration of arbitration proceedings is especially important in view of criticism of certain international arbitration proceedings that take a long time and cost parties a substantial amount of money.

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In addition to the choice of arbitrators and confidentiality, time and cost efficiency are the primary advantages that international arbitration offers to individuals, businesses or even States that choose arbitration for resolution of their international commercial and investment disputes.

Pakistan has an unenviable record in international arbitration and part of the problem stems from the lack of awareness of the substantive and procedural aspects of international arbitration.

This dire need for raising awareness, building capacity and having indigenous capacity to offer international arbitration services in Pakistan, was Rana Sajjad’s motivation for establishing the Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration (CIICA), Pakistan’s first international arbitration center.

Established in 2015, the Lahore-based CIICA offers both domestic and international arbitration services and its mission also includes modernizing Pakistan’s legal framework for arbitration and building capacity of lawyers, Judges, members of the business community and relevant government officials.

During the past 5 years, CIICA has made significant progress in furthering its mission by organizing highly successful conferences and well-attended training workshops on international arbitration.

CIICA has also signed cooperation agreements with leading international arbitration institutions around the world including, most recently, with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), China’s oldest and largest arbitration institution.

The agreement provides for cooperation between CIICA and CIETAC on matters including research, training, recommendation of arbitrators and administration of arbitration proceedings.

This agreement is especially significant in light of the substantial Chinese investment in Pakistan under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

CIICA was also the only Pakistani organization that participated in the discussions regarding the signing of the “Beijing Joint Declaration” at the Roundtable for Leaders of Arbitral Institutions during the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions’ Roundtable Forum last year in Beijing.

The declaration is aimed at promoting discussions and strengthening cooperation between around 35 arbitral institutions to develop effective dispute resolution mechanisms across the Belt and Road.

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CIICA has also been granted observer status by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) for its annual session and sessions on Working Groups II and III that relate to dispute settlement and investor-state dispute settlement reform.

Having a Pakistan-based institution participate in these sessions is a significant step towards playing an important role in developing the framework for harmonization and modernization of laws governing international trade and commerce.

Sajjad is a global speaker and has spoken at conferences in Pakisan, China, Malaysia and the U.S. He has also written extensively on international arbitration. In addition to authoring articles published in major English newspapers in Pakistan, he has authored journal articles and commentaries published in the International Journal of Arab Arbitration (IJAA).