THE ADVOCATE 411
VOL. 76 PART 3 MAY 2018
A VIEW FROM
By Barry Penner, Q.C.*
COST-EFFECTIVE AND CONFIDENTIAL, B.C.’S INTERNATIONAL
COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION CENTRE CAN HELP RESOLVE DISPUTES IN A
Since taking on the role of managing director of the B.C. International Commercial
Arbitration Centre (the “Centre”), I have been getting to know the
various counsel and clients who use our services, as well as the capable and
experienced arbitrators on our roster.
A common theme from our discussions is how the cost of traditional
litigation (i.e., the court system) has rendered many disputes impractical
to resolve, other than through alternative forums such as mediation and
From a public policy perspective, it makes sense to encourage parties to
pursue mediation and arbitration to resolve their disputes.
As a former Attorney General of British Columbia, I know there are significant
systemic constraints in our judicial system and that “just” spending
more tax dollars to add capacity is difficult to sustain, given competing political
priorities (think hospitals, schools, transportation, parks, policing, etc.).
Cost-effectiveness is not the only reason why parties may avoid relying
on the court system to resolve civil disputes. At the Centre, we pride ourselves
on maintaining confidentiality on behalf of the people who use our
Unlike pleadings filed with the court, documents prepared for mediation
and arbitration administered by the Centre are not subject to the prying
eyes of competitors or media representatives who may be interested to
know the financial or other details of various clients. This can be an important
consideration for businesses operating in a very competitive commer-
* Barry Penner, Q.C., is the Centre’s managing director.