Arbitration in Malta represents an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure employed to settle commercial disputes. Arbitration has started to gain terrain in front of court settlements when it comes to resolving disputes as it takes less time and it costs less money. The main disputes settled by the Malta Arbitration Centre (MAC) refer to:
- construction public procurement,
- maritime issues,
- litigation between shareholders.
The Malta Arbitration Centre is the main dispute settlement instrument in litigation cases when parties agree to submit their claims to it. The Arbitration Centre is also involved in promoting arbitration as a method of resolving issues without appealing to court proceedings.
The Malta Arbitration Centre can arbitrate various disputes except for marriage dissolutions. Also, disputes involving real estate properties, traffic accidents with no injured persons and with damages not exceeding 12,000 EUR, as well as litigations concerning utilities matters, such as electricity, can only be addressed with the Malta Arbitration Centre.
The Arbitration Act or Chapter 387 is comprised in the Laws of Malta and it is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law (The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law). The main regulations of the Maltese Arbitration Act states that dispute settlement must be done only if an arbitration agreement was concluded in writing and if the claims have been registered with the Malta Arbitration Centre. However, the process mustn’t necessarily take place at the Malta Arbitration Centre.
An arbitration procedure in Malta can start after one of the parties, named claimant, files an arbitration notice with the Arbitration Centre. MAC will register the notice and send it to the other party known as the respondent.
The respondent will send a statement of defense to the claimant, but also to the Malta Arbitration Centre or the arbitral tribunal. If the dispute will be settled by an arbitral tribunal, the panel can be formed of one arbitrator or more depending on the sum of the claim.
Both parties are allowed to present the evidence they gathered. The award of the arbitration must be written and once it is registered by the MAC it will be definitive.
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