LAHORE -  Lahore High Court (LHC) has referred first-ever business dispute case to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) for mediation.

It is not only a major breakthrough but is also the first example of judiciary and private sector’s partnership in the country. The decision of referral of business disputes was taken during the recent visit of Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah to the LCCI.

The dispute that has been referred to the Lahore chamber is related to a compoundable offence ie an offence under Section 489-F, PPC and both parties are from the business community.

The order forwarded to the LCCI by the LHC says, “Petitioner present in court is at liberty to move an application to the Chairman Standing Committee, Mediation Center, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry within a period of three days after the receipt of this order and if any such application is moved, the mediator so appointed by the chairman of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry  shall do the needful maximum within a period of one month after filing of such on application.”

The mediation culture is fast getting its roots in the country with the active support of the LHC chief justice who is a pro-mediation person.

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Abdul Basit, LCCI Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and LCCI Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that business community is excited as concept of judiciary-private sector partnership has come true. It would help resolve business disputes in shortest possible time and reduce burden on the courts that are already burdened of criminal cases.

They said that this partnership would help businessmen to save their valuable time and capital. The LCCI office-bearers said, “We have to utilise all options to make business environment attractive for the business community and promotion of out-of-court settlement culture is one of them.”

They said that businessmen are facing hurdles in their businesses and one of the leading factors is the trade disputes arising between them and their counterparts. They said that commercial disputes that end in courts of law are always costly and usually bitter.

They said that when trade relations develop, there are possibilities that trade disputes may arise. They said the fundamental purpose of introducing alternate dispute resolution mechanisms is to help local and foreign companies avoid litigation constraints.

They said that the conventional way of litigation is not always favourable as it is time consuming, many a times not equitable, and may cause permanent damage to business relations.

They said that arbitration and conciliation saves precious time and money of the business doing people through out-of-court settlement of business dispute through mediation therefore the businessmen should avail this tool to give boost to their businesses.