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First int'l financial tribunal opens in The Hague

(Xinhua)

09:13, January 17, 2012

THE HAGUE, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- A group of academics, lawyers and policy makers on Monday unveiled here the world's first international tribunal for settling disputes over complex financial instruments.

The tribunal, the Panel of Recognized International Market Experts In Finance, also known as Prime Finance, was created by the World Legal Forum foundation, a conflict-resolution initiative started by the International Criminal Law Network and the Science Alliance, which connects universities with external organizations.

Local media already compared this new financial tribunal to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, also based in The Hague.

But according to Frank Zwetsloot, general manager of Prime, there are fundamental differences.

"Our target group are mostly financially strong companies that are able to pay for our arbitrage and mediation costs," he said.

"All our arbitration awards will be binding." Zwetsloot added.

Zwetsloot told Xinhua that the court is mainly financed by the Dutch ministry of Economics and the City of The Hague, but will be self-sustainable as companies will have to pay for Prime's services.

Complex financial instruments such as cross-border disagreements over derivatives, dispute settlement, reducing legal uncertainty and fostering stability in the global financial markets are to be dealt with by a panel of experts from the field and judges.

The location for this new initiative is the Peace Palace in the Hague, chosen for its "neutral" image and for the facilities the city has to offer.

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