On 11 July 2014, the National Commercial Arbitration Center (“NCAC”) of Cambodia held its first annual general meeting where the members discussed and adopted the NCAC’s Arbitration Rules and Internal Regulations, marking a significant step towards full operation of the commercial dispute resolution body.  Once operational, the NCAC is expected to provide parties to commercial disputes with an efficient mechanism for resolving such disputes.  Under the newly-adopted rules, the parties may decide whether to submit their dispute to the NCAC, they may select their arbitrators (so long as such arbitrators meet certain criteria), select the language of the arbitration proceedings and the law to be applied in resolving the dispute, as well asdecide whether the proceedings will be conducted with or without a hearing.

The NCAC is the product of Cambodia’s Law on Commercial Arbitration, which was enacted in 2006 and the related Sub-Decree on the Organization and Functioning of a National Arbitration Center, passed in 2009.  Initial funding and assistance for the NCAC was provided by the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.  Cambodia also enacted a new Code of Civil Procedures in 2007, which includes key provisions on execution of arbitration decisions, both foreign and local, as well as provisions allowing for courts to issue decisions for interim relief (injunctive relief) in the context of matters subject to arbitration proceedings.

The availability of a commercial arbitration center will provide investors, particularly foreign investors, with an added measure of confidence that, in the event a commercial dispute arises, their investment will receive the protection of an efficient resolution mechanism.