Prishtina, December 18, 2020 – Arbitration vs. Court’s jurisdiction on possessions was discussed at the closing event of Commercial Justice Days: Arbitration in Focus, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Commercial Justice Activity Program.
Njomëza Zejnullahu, Senior Legal Advisor at USAID Commercial Justice Activity, and at the same time moderator of this forum, noted that a marathon of roundtables focusing on the arbitration process was organized as part of Commercial Justice Days, aimed at raising awareness among the business community and the public at large on the opportunities offered by arbitration as an alternative method of resolving disputes, by providing as much information as possible and by intending to increase the inclusion of arbitration clauses in business contracts.
The Attorney-at-law Erblina Krasniqi Prishtina, emphasized that arbitration is a great alternative opportunity for resolving disputes outside the regular courts, noting that it saves time for businesses and enables the handling of cases by a tribunal of professionals in relevant fields, which businesses themselves can choose. She stressed that businesses often try not to solve their problems through the courts by using other legal opportunities that are offered in the execution of their contracts. In terms of lease contracts, she mentioned that businesses often use private enforcement through the clause of enforceability to avoid courts. Further, Krasniqi Prishtina emphasized that in Kosovo, foreign businesses are usually very interested in including the arbitration clause in the contracts, however, they are reluctant to contract it in Kosovo.
The Attorney-at-law Taulant Hodaj assessed that there is not necessarily clear legislation that requires local courts to have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to lease and property contracts. He stressed that the Law on Arbitration states that arbitration can deal with any civil-legal and economic relationship, and in this regard, the civil-legal relationship can also be interpreted in matters relating to property disputes, obstruction of possession, as well as rent contracts. However, according to him, specifying property disputes or lease relations in the legislation, and clarifying the powers of the court to resolve such cases is needed. Hodaj also stressed that when dealing with international clients, the inclusion of an arbitration clause in contracts is usually a prerequisite, while there is a greater reluctance on the part of domestic clients. Hodaj mentioned that he has often insisted on convincing domestic businesses that the inclusion of the arbitration clause is in their favor.