At a press conference on 22 August 2016, the President of the Supreme Judicial Council and Chancellor of the Court of Cassation, Salim bin Mohammed Al-Kuwari announced the launch of two new Bahraini courts on 1 September 2016.

The new courts will operate alongside the domestic civil courts and the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR), handling disputes that do not meet the current threshold requirements of the BCDR Court (Value of claim exceeds BHD 500000 and involves either an international commercial dispute or a party licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain). They will specialise in arbitration claims, bankruptcy and insolvency claims, and disputes relating to shares, bonds, securities, commercial agencies and intellectual property.

A further indication of the positive steps being taken in the Kingdom is the announcement by Mr Al-Kuwari of the launch of a new system of continuing training and develop- ment for members of the judiciary.

Under the new system, judges will have the opportunity to undertake training in specialist areas of law pertaining to commercial and investment disputes. As part of this training, a group of Bahraini judges travelled to several US states to acquaint themselves with the current practice in these states’ courts, and a further group of Bahraini judges are to visit the UK commercial courts in the latter part of 2016.

These developments are further examples of the progressive and modernising steps that Bahrain is taking as part of its Economic Vision 2030 and accompanying National Development Strategy (2015-2018), which set out the future path for the development of the Bahraini economy, Government and society in accordance with the principles of sustainability, competitiveness and fairness.

The introduction of more specialised courts and enhanced professional development for the judiciary shows Bahrain’s commitment to the advancement of the Rule of Law. Optimising the efficiency, effectiveness and technical ability of the Bahraini Courts ensures that disputes will be resolved quickly and fairly, enhancing the public confidence in the legal system. Bahrain’s focus on consolidation and improvement in these areas will benefit not only its citizens and other residents in the Kingdom, but will also likely attract significant foreign trade and investment. In so doing, Bahrain will ensure that it maintains its competitive edge, both in the MENA region and globally.