Arbitration Centers Project

“Arbitration is the adversaries choice”

First stage: The first stage of the arbitration centers project was launched on 2015. It included five provinces

(Homes, Aleppo, Idlib, Al Hasakah and Damascus countryside).

Second stage: started on 3/15/2016 and lasted until 1/14/2017
In the second stage the FSLA worked on extending the geographical area, where it established a new center in Darra province. In addition to that the Association continued working with the centers mentioned in the first stage.

third stage: started of the arbitration centers project was lunched on 7/1/2017 and lasted until 4/30 /2018
included six provinces (Homs, Aleppo, Idlep, Hama, Alhasakah and Darra province) and 12 centers.

Since the beginning of the revolution in March 2011, which turned later to military actions, and the exiting of some areas out of the control of the central authority in Damascus, the government institutions started to disappear from these areas especially the judicial institutions. All that led to a status of chaos, and a lot of revenge cases started to take a place. Some military groups started to hold accountability for the offenders without any reference to competent courts or clear laws. A huge gab started to appear in the judicial institutions as well as the urgent need to fill this gab, meet the civilians’ needs, and the civilian bodies that were established in these areas, where some judicial bodies affiliated to some military groups were established in an attempt to fill the judicial and legal gab. However, these bodies work in an unstructured manner and without any sound legal basis as well as legal references.
Under these circumstances and in order to meet the needs of the judicial and legal reality in the Syrian regions that are out the regime control, and due to the urgent need for the existence of a legal institute that depends on the Syrian law, and with the belief of the Free Syrian Lawyers Association that the application of the Syrian law is the only guarantor of the unity of the Syrian land, the FSLA activated on of the judicial institutions which works under the Syrian judicial and legal system in Syria trough establishing arbitration centers.

Arbitration is a legal instrument that helps in resolving national and international disputes. In Syria the Arbitration law is organized under the arbitration law number /4/ for the year 2008. There are specific legislations for the arbitration law in most of the world’s countries in addition to many international conventions that governs the recognition of the arbitration provisions and their implementation. Such as the New York convention of the year 1958 related to the provisions of the arbitrators and their implementation, which was approved by the United Nations conference related to the International Commercial Arbitration that was held in New York between 20th of May and the 10th of June for the year 1958.
Arbitration Features:
The most important characteristics of arbitration as a judicial system in the current circumstances in Syria are:
1- Agreeing on submitting the case to arbitration replaces submitting the case to the court. Moreover, if it was agreed on submitting the case to arbitration to resolve the dispute, none of the parties have the right to submit the case to the state courts. If that happens it will be under the penalty of dismissal by court, where the contract is the law which arrange and organize the relation between the two parties.
2- Arbitration suggests that the individuals have the needed confidence and knowledge about the character of the arbitrator/s who were chosen to resolve the dispute, because the arbitrator’s character is not imposed on the parties of the dispute, in fact it is optional.
3- The arbitration system is a convention system under which the legislator leaves for the individuals the possibility to resolve their disputes in the framework of compromise and mutual understanding away from the courts and the public authority, which helps in accessing justice in an atmosphere of peacefulness and mutual conviction between the two parties.

Through all the positivity as well as the flexibility in contributing to accesses to justice that the arbitration institution has, the FSLA worked on consolidating the role of the work of this institution in the free areas inside Syria through working in five arbitration centers in five different cities in Syria.
The arbitration centers were established through a consultative process with the local population

ough their representatives in civil departments, local councils, civil police forces, active NGOs, as well as lawyers, judges, notables, dignitaries in addition to the academic clerics.

Any expansion in the arbitration project should be taken very carefully and in an organized manner, with paying particular attention to the moral standers as well as confidentiality and objective efficiency of arbitrators.

Due to the absence of the role of law in Syria, it is a necessity to work on strengthen the rule of law, and to work on return the role of law and its instruments, in addition to establishing the principle of justice in the society through delivering it to the people by delivering the available laws and social concepts.
Project objectives:

-The project aims to strengthen the rule of law in the Syrian society by providing the possibility to access to arbitration which will help in providing access to justice for all the parties.

– Reducing the existing judicial gap in the free areas which is filled by the sharia court and some of the group courts that lack the legal experience, and suffers from the absence of the single reference as well as the lack of clarity of what is the applicable law, expect some interpretations made by the judges.

– creating a solution and conflict resolution mechanisms for disputes between people in all its kinds, civil and commercial, and with a single legal reference that is based on the Syrian law. As well as enhancing the professionalism of the lawyers and judges who will contribute in helping people finding clear ways to access justice, and finding a solution to seeks to resolve their disputes.

– Supporting the civil departments, governmental bodies, police institutions, and the civil society organizations to contribute in building a democratic state based on legal foundations in which the law is the leader upon everyone.

– Contributing in restoring stability for the areas out of the control of the central authority, which can happen through enforcing the law and the working mechanisms of arbitration. In addition to contributing in maintaining the civil peace through resolving the disputes in a peaceful manner. Project activities:

– The arbitration centers scattered in five provinces, started to receive the civilians applications, registering cases and working on resolving them, where the cases varied between civil, commercial, lawful and inheritance issues

.- The focus was on the awareness work and raising the awareness between the individuals and the civil departments about the concept of arbitration as an instrument to resolve disputes between the individuals, through carrying out media campaigns, awareness sessions, in addition to carrying out meetings and interviews with different civil actors.

– The scattered centers provided many legal consultations for people.

– All the services provided by the arbitration centers are always free of charge

.- Despite all the circumstances and the challenges in the free areas, the FSLA was able to activate the academic women role in the arbitration centers through appointing a woman head of the arbitration center.

– The FSLA made a contract with the “Middle East” institution for studies and training and “Emma Democratic Institute” to work together on the censorship process over the centers, as well as the internal censorship, in order to shed the light on the gaps, negatives and how to overcome them, lighting the positives, as well as working on developing them.
We will attach a report about that at the end of the file.

– The arbitration centers signed several memoranda of understanding with a large number of civil bodies and organizations that contributes in strengthen the working role of the arbitration centers.

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