Commercial and Labor Courts To be Operational by the End of 2022

FILES: Workers from the NagaWorld casino hold placards during a protest outside the National Assembly building in Phnom Penh on January 4, 2022 to demand the reinstatement of colleagues who were laid off last year. (Photo: AFP)

Both courts were supposed to start operating at the end of 2021

PHNOM PENH – Commercial and labor courts could be operational by the end of 2022, according to Chiv Songhak, Ministry of Justice’s secretary of state and the chair of the Commission for the formation of commercial and labor courts.

Chiv Songhak could not tell exactly when the Ministry of Justice would be able to launch the commercial and labor courts. He could only conclude that the ministry is trying to make these two courts functional by the end of 2022.

At first, the Ministry of Justice planned to launch both courts by the end of 2021. But it had to postpone it a first time, to early 2022, and a second time, to the end of the year, as it couldn’t meet the deadline. The ministry justifies the delay by stating it is still preparing the new procedures and training new judges and court officials for these two fields.

Nevertheless, having separated courts will speed up the settlement process and ease commercial conflicts, as business owners need a quick resolution to their business-related disputes, he said.

An Bunnarith, an attorney-at-law and a partner at An & Lor Business law firm, confirmed that, as of now, every business dispute brought to the court is time-consuming due to the vast number of ongoing procedures. The slow speed of every case is currently one of the main challenges for business owners to settle their disputes, he said.

In accordance with the Law on the Organization of the Courts adopted in 2014, the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court have to be divided into specialized courts. Criminal, civil, commercial and labor Chambers have thus to be created at every level to develop the Cambodian judicial system.

“As a legal practitioner, I truly believe that specialized chambers will help the court to handle the case management more effectively and will settle the disputes in a more efficient way,” said Bunnarith.

“In addition, [creating a dedicated court for commercial issues] is also one of the key factors to attracting more foreign investments to Cambodia, he added. Foreign investors will have more confidence if Cambodian courts are capable of handling their commercial disputes more effectively.”

Bunnarith believes that the majority of business communities will welcome and appreciate the Ministry of Justice’s current continuous efforts to establish the two specialized courts, as they will benefit everyone.

Ken Loo, the secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said it is good news that the government plans to set up both labor and commercial courts.

“This will help expedite and speed up the resolution of disputes,” he said, adding that labor and commercial disputes can also be resolved by two coexisting mechanisms: the Arbitration Council and the National Commercial Arbitration Centre, respectively. 

Related Articles