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“Are judicial reforms fast and good enough for the needs of the business sector in Armenia?” Round-table conference

The government supported by foreign donors is undertaking significant efforts to reform the judiciary. But are the reforms deep enough and the pace fast enough for the needs of the business sector in Armenia? These and other topics were discussed at a round-table conference, organized by the European Business Association (EBA) and the European Union project to support the Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia implemented by IRZ – German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation – in partnership with Expertise France and the Latvian Court Administration on 20th January 2022 at the Marriott Hotel in Yerevan.

“Armenia continues to face excessive lengths of civil trials, among other things, due to cumbersome judicial procedures and court management leading to an accumulation of backlogs”, said the Head of European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin in her opening speech. Ambassador Wiktorin connected predictable, timely, and enforceable justice decisions with trust and stability in the society and thereby a business environment conducive to entrepreneurial activity and investment. The European Union is the first trade partner of Armenia, with close to one-third of the exports going to the EU, and is also the biggest donor in Armenia.

The Deputy Minister of Justice Yeranuhi Tumanyants in her opening speech mentioned: “Cooperation with international partners is extremely important in solving the problems set by the state and achieving its goals. Programs implemented with the support of international partners have played a significant role in the success of justice reform. The achievements within the framework of the “Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia” program are vivid evidence of that.

The Deputy Minister of Justice added that the Ministry of Justice of Armenia highly appreciates the cooperation with international partners and is convinced that it will be continuous.

 “The judicial system is one of the most important parts for any foreign investor and it is still one of the top five priorities that companies mention repeatedly in the market exploratory survey conducted every year by the EBA”, said Ms. Diana Sarumova, executive director of the European Business Association. EBA co-organized the round table to provide an opportunity for the business community for getting an update on improvements of the reform process but also to discuss obstacles.

During the conference, participants discussed a number of issues related to alternative Dispute resolution and its cost-effectiveness in comparison to the court procedure, whether mediation outperforms direct negotiation and if arbitral awards are difficult to enforce.

Around the table were also discussed the Justice reform and sector policies, customs procedure and administrative law, competition law, and civil procedure as well as the choice of law and jurisdiction

Ms. Teresa Thalhammer, the project director from IRZ said about the event: “Within our project “Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia”, operated by IRZ and our partners Expertise France and Court Administration of Latvia, we seek to support the business environment by reforming judicial procedures and promoting alternative dispute resolution. We are happy that, together with our co-organizer EBA, we managed to convene such a diverse and relevant audience today to discuss the status quo, and we look forward to hearing in what way we can contribute even more to this regard”.

The “Consolidation of the Justice System in Armenia” project is implemented by the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ) in partnership with Expertise France, and The Court Administration of the Republic of Latvia. The project is funded by the European Union.