What is Arbitration and conciliation?
Arbitration is a less formal procedure than adjudications through courts, and it is conducted in private, away from the glare of the media and the public. Parties are free to appoint their own arbitrators and can choose simple procedures and rules for the conduct of arbitration. Arbitration is more cost-efficient and speedier than litigation.
Furthermore, due to the fact that SARCO has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985), one can expect maximum judicial support in the region. Arbitral awards which are final are generally binding on the parties and are enforceable in approximately 150 countries signatories to the New York Convention (subject to any local legislation and/or requirements).
Conciliation is another ADR method where partners resolve their disputes to avoid the judicial process. In conciliation disputes are settled amicably with the assistance of a third party conciliator, who acts as a facilitator. Conciliation is a voluntary flexible, confidential, and interest based process, where the parties involved are free to agree and attempt to resolve their dispute with the assistance of the third party. The process is agile, allowing parties to define the time, structure and content of the conciliation proceedings. These proceedings are rarely public. They are interest-based, as the conciliator will, when proposing a settlement, not only take into account the parties' legal positions, but also their; commercial, financial and / or personal interests. In conciliation, the ultimate decision to agree on the settlement remains with the parties.
SARCO has developed its own Arbitration and Conciliation Rules of procedure in conducting arbitration and conciliation proceedings.

What is SARCO?
SAARCO is the acronym of SAARC Arbitration Council which is a Specialized Body of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), comprising the Member States, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, People's Republic of Bangladesh, The Kingdom of Bhutan, Republic of India, Republic of Maldives, Democratic Republic of Nepal, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. It is an inter-governmental body cooperate mandated to provide a legal framework/forum within the region for fair and efficient settlement of commercial, industrial, trade, banking, investment and such other disputes as may be presented to it by the parties. Presently SARCO provides Arbitration and conciliation services in resolving disputes.

Who can apply to SARCO?
Anyone having business in any of the SAARC regional country can approach SARCO for settling their business related disputes. Any dispute which is in the nature of trade, commerce or investment and is in the SAARC region or a citizen of any SAARC member country is party to such dispute, could be referred to SARCO for settlement by arbitration or apply for conciliation.

How do I start arbitration or conciliation at SARCO?
The claimant initiates arbitration by filing a request for arbitration with the SARCO Secretariat. For detailed information on step-by-step arbitration process go to “Arbitration | Arbitration Procedure "

What will be the cost of arbitration or conciliation at SARCO?
The costs are based on the value of the dispute and will be calculated in accordance with the schedule of fees published at our website (arbitration) (conciliation). The amount in dispute includes all claims, counterclaims and set-offs. Where the amount in dispute cannot be ascertained, the SARCO secretariat determines the costs taking all relevant circumstances into account.

Is there a limit on the claim amount made before SARCO?
There is no maximum or minimum claim limit for disputes referred to SARCO.

How long will it take for arbitration or Conciliation to be concluded at SARCO?
One of the major reasons for the parties to prefer arbitration or conciliation over litigation is the shortest time taken for settlement. SARCO offers a fast and secure process. According to the SARCO Arbitration Rules an arbitral award shall be rendered within six months. The time limits may be extended by the SARCO secretariat with the consent of the parties.

What types of disputes can be bought before SARCO for arbitration? Is SARCO authorized to resolve any dispute brought before it?
SARCO is mandated to resolve commercial, trade and investment related disputes. However, as SARCO's competence and jurisdiction increase, it can resolve construction/engineering, insurance, banking, shipping/Maritimes disputes or other disputes of similar nature which are referred to SARCO.

Is an arbitration clause mandatory for parties to come before SARCO for disputes resolution?
The parties’ in an agreement to arbitrate either should have an arbitration clause in their business contract or can do it by making a separate arbitration agreement. In drawing up international contracts, SARCO recommend that parties include its model Arbitration Clause which is : “Any dispute ,controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof, shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the SAARC Arbitration Rules, as at present in force.”

How do I draft an arbitration clause?
On our website you can find SARCO Model Arbitration Clause. It is recommended that the clause should be used when drafting a dispute resolution section in a business contract.

How do I select arbitrators?
SARCO keeps a panel of arbitrators from each of the country in SAARC region and at the request of a party, SARCO can assist by recommending suitable panel members as arbitrators. However, a party is free to appoint anyone as arbitrator other than from the SARCO panel for arbitration at SARCO.
When parties are unable to appoint a chairperson or a sole arbitrator, SARCO can make such appointment with the consent of the parties.
While making an appointment of arbitrator, SARCO takes, inter alia following aspects into consideration:
-Experience as arbitrator,
-the subject matter of the dispute,
-applicable law,
-the seat of arbitration and
-Language of the proceedings.
If the parties are of different nationalities, SARCO appoints a chairperson or a sole arbitrator from a third country.

Can SARCO Conduct arbitration where the governing law of the agreement in dispute is not the local law?
Yes, SARCO is fully competent to administer arbitrations where the governing law is not a local law.

What are SARCO's operating hours?
SARCO operates from Monday to Friday, and follows normal office hours. SARCO is closed on all public holidays announced by the Government of Pakistan.

Can parties to a contract who are not citizens of SAARC region, request for arbitration at SARCO if the contract contains a general arbitration clause?
Parties to an agreement having a general arbitration clause executed in a country outside the SAARC region may apply to SARCO for arbitration if both parties agree to hold it at SARCO.

Are SARCO rules of arbitration easy to follow and unambiguous?
Yes, SARCO's rules of procedure for arbitration are based on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules which are very easy to understand.

Is it only regional disputes that could be brought before SARCO?
Regional or domestic disputes can be brought before SARCO provided that the parties agree to such dispute resolution.