[WATCH] Government calls for proposals to expand international arbitration services

Government launches a request for proposals to turn Malta into an attractive hub for international dispute resolution, including in the maritime sector

Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera, Minister Own Bonnici and Malta Arbitration centre chairman George Hyzler
Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera, Minister Own Bonnici and Malta Arbitration centre chairman George Hyzler
Proposals to turn Malta into an attractive hub for international dispute resolution

The government has launched a request for proposals (RFP) to rejuvenate and bring the judiciary system closer to its people and businesses, in an effort to promote Malta as a centre for international arbitration and as an advantageous jursidiction for the matter, chairman of the Malta Arbitration Centre, George Hyzler said earlier today.

Hyzler added that the RFP document would be issued at the end of this week and that it would be open until 4 January.

"The entity will ultimately work with the centre to push forward international arbitration in Malta," Hyzler said, adding that the centre was created to promote and facilitate arbitration both on a local level and internationally. 

Malta had an average of five international cases in a year, when compared to some 40 local cases a year.

Hyzler emphasized the need to strengthen the role of the centre, and that Malta's advantageous position hadn't yet been fully exploited. 

"Malta is in a very comfortable and advantageous position, not just because of its mastery of a global language but even due to its geographic position and a preceived lack of prejudices that affect other countries," Hyzler said, pointing out Malta's positive relaions with North African and Middle Eastern countries.

Economic growth parliamentary secretary Jose Herrera praised previous administrations for conceiving of the centre itself, but said that it now needed significant improvement and stressed the timely nature of the reation of the centre. 

He added that it was important to tie arbitration to the maritime industry, which had presented such important opportunities. 

"Arbitration is one of the main pillars thatstrengthen the maritime industry, but it can also spread to other important sectors, such as aviation and gaming among others," Herrera said.

"We need to secure and generate more interest in international maritime arbitration, despite the steep competition other countries may present." 

He added that the government aimed to strengthen the current mechanisms and to research what is happening overseas to understand what models could be applied to the local scene. 

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici also said that the RFP had been a result of close collaboration between various sectors including the maritime, and financial services.

Addressing key stakeholders present at the event, Bonnici said that they had created immeasurable benefits and job opprtunities in the services industry of the country, but that the RFP aimed to create a new niche, the so-called voluntary litigation solutions. 

"The changes the sector will see are unprecedented," he said.  "The international call aims to give the government a relevant and suitable partner," he said, stressing that Malta already had one of the greatest maritime registration centres in the world.

Speaking about the RFP, Head of the privatisation unit Manuel Camilleri said that the document was divided in three parts, which were in turn divided into some ten sections. 

Camilleri said that the RFP should outline the government's vision, the strategy of how to achieve this vision, the critical success factors to outline what must be done right, key performance indicators as well as critical information sets. 

Tthe government's vision, he explained, included high quality services, economic sutainibility and profitability, instilling Malta as an international arbitration centre, as well as tapping new opportunities for sustainable growth. 

Camilleri explained that the RFP should promote private sector participation, create robust business opportunities and exclusivity.

He added that Malta was both a central location in the mediterranean and it also had a reputation of having high professional standards as well as specialist niches, including corporate finance. He stressed that these niches had successfully evolved over time and that the government now needed to find the right parter.

"We want a highly professional and ethical partner, as well as someone who has technical competence," Camilleri said, adding that the entity's financlal and economic standing was aso considered essential.