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Bahrain Law Update related to the use of English language in Bahrain Courts

On 9 March 2023, the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Waqf on replaced Resolution No. 117 of 2021 relating to the use of language other than Arabic in the Bahrain Courts with a new resolution (No. 28 of 2023) (the “Resolution”) allowing high value cases to be heard in the English language.

Previously, proceedings under the mandatory jurisdiction of the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (“BCDR”) would be conducted in English if the language of the contract is English, unless the parties agree to proceedings in Arabic. The BCDR’s mandatory authority applies to international commercial disputes and disputes between commercial companies and/or financial institutions in claims exceeding a certain amount. In the instance that a contract was produced in multiple languages, the judge would demand an explicit agreement for the use of English in dispute resolution failing which additional considerations would apply.

Certain other disputes may be conducted in the English language if the claim value exceeds a certain amount, the language of the original contract is not in Arabic and the parties agree to apply the English language to the dispute.

This progressive step for Bahrain will ensure confidence for non-Arabic speakers in court litigation and greater transparency vis-à-vis the court, the respective legal counsel and clients, including on pleadings and evidence adduced originally in English. This move also bolsters Bahrain’s role in international dispute resolution and reduces the costs associated with litigation by excluding expensive translation and language barriers among clients, lawyers and judges. With ASAR’s robust, bi-lingual dispute resolution practice, we are well placed to maximize the benefit of the new Resolution for our clients.

To find out more on the new resolution or coordinate legal counsel related to a current or impending dispute, contact us on +973 17 533 182 or asarbh@asarlegal.com.


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