Ann Black


[extract] The parallel, but separate, systems of courts that co-exist today in Brunei are a result of these two distinctive imported influences. The British legacy is manifest in the Civil Court system whilst the Islamic inheritance is apparent in the newly reformed system, of Syariah Courts. Whilst the former was retained post-independence to be the dominant institution in the Sultanate’s legal system, recent reforms to the Islamic courts and to Islamic laws have signalled the Sultan’s commitment to increasing their role and significance for Brunei’s predominantly Malay, Muslim population. This is consistent with the nation’s ideology, Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB), designed to promote and uphold Malay culture, Islam and the institution of the monarchy as indispensable components in Bruneian development. Inevitably, MIB also impacts upon the current priorities for dispute resolution, including those processes other than adjudication employed in courts, whether the secular common law or the religious Syariah court systems.

It is two of these ‘alternative’ processes, specifically arbitration and mediation, that are the main focus of this article.