Introducing ADR in various spheres OF Bangladesh:

ADR means Alternative Dispute Resolution, mostly applied to civil cases. When a civil case is instituted in a court of competent jurisdiction, the scenario usually is, that a long time is taken to serve the process, the defendants beat the law and submit their written statements after a long delay beyond the permissible statutory period of two months, lawyers and judges do not take any interest in screening out a false and frivolous case at the first hearing of the case under Order X CPC (in fact no such first hearing takes place), they seldom try to shorten the disputed questions of fact and law by application of Orders XI and XII of the CPC and mostly ignore the elaborate procedure of discovery, interrogatories, notice to produce etc. contained in those Orders, the issues of a case are seldom framed following the Code of Civil Procedure, the case takes several years to reach a settlement date and on the date of positive hearing half a dozen or more ready cases are fixed for hearing, resulting in the hearing of none. In the meantime years roll by, presiding judge of a single case is transferred a number of times, witnesses of a single case may be heard by more than one presiding judge, arguments are listened to may be by another presiding judge and judgment may be delivered by a presiding judge who had had no connection with the case ever before. Our legal system has thus been rendered uncaring, non-accountable and formalistic. It delivers formal justice and it is oblivious of the sufferings and woos of litigants, of their waste of money, time and energy and of their engagement in unproductive activities, sometimes for decades. When they win a case the result is much worse than winning it. When they lose a case they lose not only the subject matter of the dispute, but also a good part of their fortune. If interlocutory matters are dragged up to the appellate or revision courts, there would know no bounds and their agonies are prolonged for an indefinite period. Appeals from trial court decrees may reach unto the Appellate Division by which time the parties are thoroughly drenched in misery. When a decree is thus obtained after protracted litigation, it does not end there. Execution proceedings then re-starts a fresh litigation between the parties or even their successors which may take years or decades to come to a conclusion and which may end up with no real or positive benefit to the decree-holder plaintiff. This is the experience of a common litigant in Bangladesh. Added to this inherent and in-built delay and expenses, corruption and often terrorism at almost each stage of litigation is eating into the vitals of the justice delivery system. Most of us who are or were in the judiciary and were or are practicing in the Bar think that nothing can be done about it, or, at least, we have no role to play in the matter, either individually or collectively. We are drifting into a stage of aimlessness, inertia, inaction and helplessness. Many conscientious judges and lawyers have done what they could under the circumstances, but their sincerity has been drowned into the general morass of malfunctioning of the court system. Early Neutral Evaluation” for the same reasons described therein.

Different types of ADR in Bangladesh:

Sumaiya Khair suggests that there are three streams of ADR in Bangladesh:

  • Extra- judicial or community based ADR (informal);
  • ADR in Quasi-formal systems; and
  • ADR in formal legal system.

All these ADR modes have been discussed in different chapters in this book with their merits and demerits. Formal ADR in different laws are shown in the diagram below:

  • Code of Civil Procedure (sec. 89A, 89B, 89C
  • Family courts Ordinance, 1985 (sec. 10)
  • Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (sec. 7, 8)
  • ArtharinAdalat Ain, 2003 (sec. 21, 22)
  • Negotiation,Conciliation, Arbitration (sec. 210 of the Labour Code, 2006)
  • Pre-Litigation
  • Part of litigation

Informal ADR in Bangladesh

Informal ADR in Bangladesh includes traditional shalish and NGO modified Shalish. Quasi-formal ADR includes village court and Board of Conciliation has originated from the informal shalish system and this is why they all have been shown in the following single diagram.

ADR in different Bangladeshi Laws

  1. The Code of civil procedure, 1908.
  2. The Code of Criminal procedure, 1898.
  3. The Artha Rin Adalat Ain, 2003.
  4. The arbitration Act, 2001.
  5. The Bankruptcy Act, 1997.
  6. The Muslim Family Court Ordinance, 1985.
  7. The Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961.
  8. The Gram Adalat Ain, 2006.
  9. The Settlement of Disputes (Paura Area) Board Act, 2004.

ADR Under code of civil procedure 1908

89B. Arbitration. – (1) If the parties to a suit, at any stage of the proceeding, apply to the Court for withdrawal of the suit on ground that they will refer the dispute or disputes in the suit to arbitration for settlement, the Court shall allow the application and permit the suit to be withdrawn; and the dispute or disputes, thereafter, shall be settled in accordance with Salish Ain, 2001 (Act No. 1 of 2001) so far as may be applicable:

Provided that, if, for any reason, the arbitration proceeding referred to above does not take place or an arbitral award is not given, the parties shall be entitled to re-institute the suit permitted to be withdrawn under this sub-section.

(2) An application under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be an arbitration agreement under section 9 of the Salish Ain, 2001 (Act No. 1 of 2001).

89C. Mediation in Appeal – (1) An Appellate Court may mediate in an appeal or refer the appeal for mediation in order to settle the dispute or disputes in that appeal, if the appeal is an appeal from original decree under Order XLI, and is between the same parties who contested in the original suit or the parties who have been substituted for the original contesting parties.

(2) In mediation under sub-section (1), the Appellate Court shall, as far as possible, follow the provisions of mediation as contained in section 89A with necessary changes {mutatis mutandis) as may be expedient.

Modes of ADR in Artharin Adalat Ain

The Act provides for single mode of ADR and this is mediation s defined and described in section 22 of the Act. Unlike before the adoption of the process of mediation is compulsory after Submission of written statement. Once the written statement is submitted, the court must send the suit to appointed lawyer or to ite parties to settle the suit matter by way of mediation.

ADR in Criminal Cases

ADR in criminal cases may be of two types: compounding of offences and plea bargaining. In Bangladesh section 345 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides for in-built provisions for compounding although there is no such provision of plea bargaining in the Code.

ADR in the village court Act 2006

Section 5 specifies has a Village Court shall consist of a Chairman and four members. Of these four members two are to be nominated by each of the parties to the dispute. One of two members to be nominated by each party should be a member of die Union Parishad concerned. However, any party to dispute, with the permission of the Chairman, may nominate any person other than the members of the Union Parishad members of the Village Court. Section5 (2) states that the Chairman of the Union Parishad shall be the Chairman of the Village Court. However if the Chairman is unable to act as Chairman for any reason, or if his impartiality is challenged by any party to the dispute, any other member of the Union Parishad will become Chairman of the Village Court.

ADR in the Muslim Family court ordinance 1985

  1. The Family Courts Ordinance 1985 provides the courts with arms to exercise mediation in suits pending before it both at the pre trial stage under section 10 and after close of evidence following framing of issues and fixing a date of preliminary hearing under section 13.
  2. Another reason for recommending mediation in Family Courts is that it involves the direct participation of the parties in dispute. They are required to meet along with their legal representatives and other interested persons at confidential meetings at any time during the law suit in the presence of a neutral third party who, a judge, is a trained facilitator at conflict resolution.

ADR in Labor Act 2006


If a dispute is likely between an employer and an employee, the employer or the CBA shall communicate the same in writing to the other party. Within ten days the parties will try to resolve the matter by way of negotiation; if a settlement reached, a memorandum shall be recorded accordingly (Section 210(1, 2, 3)). Under sub-section 210(4) 30 days time is allowed to complete negotiation.


Failing a negotiation under sub-section 210(1, 2), any party may report to the conciliator that the negotiation have failed and request the conciliator in writing to conciliate the dispute and conciliator shall, on receipt of such request, proceed to conciliate in the dispute. Under section 210(6) the conciliator has ten days time for conciliation.


If conciliation fails the conciliator shall try to persuade the parties to agree to refer to the dispute to an Arbitrator. In case the parties agree, they shall make a joint request in writing for reference of the dispute to an Arbitrator agreed upon by them. The arbitrator shall give his award within thirty days from the date on which the dispute is referred to him or within such period as may be agreed upon by the parties. The award of the arbitrator shall be final and no appeal shall lie against it (section 210(16)).

ADR under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961

Under this law provision for reconciliation or alternative dispute resolution through arbitration council has been provided for in three circumstances:

(i) in case of polygamy under section 6;

(ii) in case of giving talaq and making it effective under section 7; and

(iii) in case of failure of the husband to provide maintenance of his wife under section