The amended law on the resolution of economic disputes came to effect on 6 December 2018. The amendments have strengthened the dispute resolution mechanisms, including more comprehensive procedures related to mediation and arbitration and the process of dispute resolution proceedings.
In regards to the timeframe, the amended law has shortened the time periods applicable to the centre or office for the resolution of economic disputes in certain circumstances.
In regards to the arbitration, the amended law allows the Laos courts to enforce and recognise foreign arbitral awards in accordance with the law on civil procedure. Also, parties in Laos may now establish ad hoc arbitration, which subject to the approval of Laos government. In addition, the proceedings will no longer render as void and null even if the respondent fails to receive a summons or to participate in the hearing. Under the amended law, either parties can request recusal of an arbitrator when the arbitrator is or may be subject to a conflict of interest.
Additionally, the amended law has expanded the scope of matters that are not capable of arbitration. Foreign arbitrators and mediator may now register with the Ministry of Justice under the amended law. However, the registration of foreign arbitrators and mediators is only permitted under certain circumstances.