PUNJAB ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION ACT 2019
ACT XVII OF 2019
An Act to provide for a system of alternate dispute
resolution of civil and criminal disputes.
It is necessary to ensure
inexpensive and expeditious justice by means of an alternate dispute
Be it enacted by Provincial Assembly of the
Punjab as follows:
1. Short title,
extent and commencement.–
(1) This Act may be cited as the Punjab
Alternate Dispute Resolution Act 2019.
It shall extend to whole of the Punjab.
(3) It shall come
into force on such date as the Government may, by notification in the
official Gazette, appoint and different dates may be so appointed for
different areas of the Punjab.
In this Act:
“Act” means the Punjab Alternate
Dispute Resolution Act 2019;
“Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)”
means a process in which parties’ resort to resolving a dispute, other than
through adjudication by courts, and includes, but is not limited to,
mediation, conciliation and evaluation;
“ADR Centre” means a Centre established
under the Act;
‘ADR person’ means a person who may
undertake ADR under section 11 of the Act;
“Code” means the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1898 (V of 1898)
means a process where a person encourages the parties to resolve their
disputes voluntarily and includes advising possible solution and terms of
settlement to them;
means a criminal court or a civil court having original jurisdiction under
any law for the time being in force.
“Government” means Government of the
means a process where a mediator facilitates dispute resolution by
encouraging communication and negotiation between the parties;
means prescribed by the rules made under the Act;
means the rules made under the Act; and
means the agreement reached between the parties as a result of successful
3. Reference in
(1) A court shall refer a case mentioned in Schedule I of the Act to ADR
within thirty days of appearance of the defendants.
(2) A trial court may refer a case mentioned in Schedule II of the
Act to ADR at any time or stage where it is of the view that the case is
likely to be resolved through ADR.
The court prior to referring the case to ADR shall ask the parties their
opinion as to the referral, and where a reference is made to ADR with the
consent of the parties, the court may formulate the points in issue.
every case where a reference is made to ADR, the court shall provide a time
table for completion of ADR proceedings not exceeding 60 days:
that the court on the application of both the parties, may extend the time
granted for resolution of the case through ADR.
further that the total time granted for completion of ADR proceedings shall
not exceed 6 months in any case.
The trial of a case referred to ADR shall be postponed till the completion
of the time allotted for ADR proceedings under subsection (4).
4. Reference in criminal disputes.–
(1) A court shall refer a case falling under section 345(1) of the Code to
ADR as follows:
case arising out of a police report:
the application by the concerned public prosecutor with the consent of the
complainant at any time before framing of the charge; or
its own within seven days of the framing of the charge;
case arising out of a complaint, on its own, within seven days of the
summoning of the accused
(2) A court may refer a case falling under section 345(2) of the Code
to ADR as follows:
case arising out of a police report, with the agreement of the public
prosecutor concerned, at any time after framing of charge
cases arising out of a complaint, with the agreement of the parties to the
case, at any time after framing of the charge
(3) In every case where a reference is made to ADR under this
section, the court shall provide a time period for completion of the ADR
proceedings not exceeding ninety days:
provided that the court may, on application of
the parties to the case, extend the said time for a further period of 90
The court which makes a referral to ADR under subsection (1) shall postpone
the trial of the case till the completion of the time allotted for ADR
proceedings under subsection (3) unless there are compelling reasons to
proceed with the trial.
A court which makes a referral under subsection (2) shall proceed with the
trial in the manner provided by the Code.
5. Power to record evidence during postponement.–
Nothing in section 3 or 4 shall prohibit or restrain the court from
recording evidence which is likely to become unavailable due to postponement
(2) The court may order the recording of evidence of such
person on its own or on the application of any party to the trial including
the public prosecutor.
6. Power to refer a case to ADR at any time.–
Nothing in section 3 or 4 shall prohibit or restrain a court from referring
a case to ADR at any stage of the case with the consent of the parties.
(2) Where a referral is made under sub section (1), the
court may if it thinks fit:
fix a time period for completion of ADR; and
the trial during the period given for completion of ADR proceedings.
7. Selection of ADR person.–
(1) The parties to the case may select the person or persons who shall
Where the parties are unable to agree on one or more persons for conduct of
ADR proceedings, the court shall provide a list of accredited ADR service
providers or ADR centers to the parties for selection.
Where the parties are unable to arrive at a common decision, the court shall
make a reference to an accredited ADR service provider or ADR center in the
8. Return to court.–
A case referred to ADR shall be returned to the court in the prescribed
format on the completion of ADR proceedings or on the expiry of the time
provided under section 3 or 4 of the Act whichever is earlier.
Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in
force, the person performing ADR and the parties taking part in the ADR
proceedings shall keep all matters confidential relating to such
10. Meaningful offer.–
Where a meaningful offer is made by a party to a civil dispute and is
rejected by the other, the party which rejects the offer shall not be
entitled to costs for the suit and the other party shall be entitled to
A ‘meaningful offer’ is an offer which is substantially the same as the
decree or order of the court.
11. Who may perform ADR.–
(1) ADR under this Act may be undertaken by:
counsel of parties;
or more persons selected or agreed upon by the parties;
accredited ADR service provider; and
accredited ADR center.
ADR center shall not be accredited unless it is registered under the
Companies Act, 2017 (XIX of 2017)
ADR Center and an ADR services provider shall be accredited in the
12. ADR proceedings.–
(1) The parties to the dispute may take part in the ADR proceedings in
person, through authorized agents or attorneys.
(2) An attorney who has acted for a party in an ADR
proceedings shall not represent another party in the case with regard to the
13. Failure of ADR.–
Where a matter has not been resolved or cannot be resolved through ADR on
referral, the court shall proceed to adjudicate the dispute or remaining
dispute in accordance with law.
Judgement and Decree.–
(1) When the outcome of the ADR is returned to the court and the court finds
that the matter has been completely or partially resolved in accordance with
law, the court shall pronounce judgment and in case of a civil dispute pass
a decree in terms of the settlement.
Where the outcome of ADR is not clear, the court may ask the ADR person to
provide the requisite clarification.
15. Appeal and revision barred.–
(1) No revision or appeal shall lie from the decree or order of the court
under this Act except provided by this section.
A public prosecutor may challenge the judgment of a court with regard to a
case falling under subsection (2) of section 345 of the Code.
(1) Save as provided in the Act, the ADR proceedings shall be privileged
and shall not be admissible in evidence before any court without consent of
the parties and the person undertaking ADR shall not be required to appear
as a witness or otherwise in any arbitral or judicial proceedings with
respect to the dispute that is or has been the subject matter of the ADR but
the final settlement, award or agreement, wholly or partly, between the
parties shall be admissible in evidence in any subsequent proceedings
between them relating to the same subject matter.
(2) The ADR person shall not act as an agent or attorney
of any party to the ADR, in any subsequent proceedings with respect to a
dispute that is or has been the subject matter of the ADR.
(3) No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall
lie against an ADR person or any other person connected with the ADR
proceedings for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith
under the Act except where
the ADR person allowed or ordered the commission of an offence in
retaliation of an offence which was the subject of ADR proceedings before
Application of certain laws.–
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act the Oaths Act, 1873
(X of 1873) and the rules made thereunder shall apply mutatis mutandis
to the proceedings under the Act.
(2) Save as provided in the Act, the Qanun-e-Shahadat
Order, 1984 (P.O. No. 10 of 1984) shall not apply to the ADR
proceedings under the Act:
Provided that the ADR person may adhere to principles of
evidence contained in the Qanun-e-Shahadat
18. Overriding effect.–
The provisions of the Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything
contained in any other law for the time being in force.
19. Cases pending in appeal or revision.–
The provision of the Act shall, with the consent of the parties, apply
mutatis mutandis to a dispute pending adjudication in an appeal or
20. Code of Conduct.–
(1) The Government shall prescribe a Code of Conduct for ADR service
providers and ADR centers accredited under this Act.
An ADR service provider and an ADR center shall comply with and act in
accordance with the provisions of the Code of Conduct.
An ADR service provider or an ADR center who commits a violation of the Code
of Conduct shall be removed from the list of accredited service providers or
centers by the prescribed authority.
21. Accreditation Authority.–
(1) The Government shall notify an authority established by law for purposes
of accrediting ADR service providers or ADR centers.
Where the Government notifies an authority under subsection (1), it shall
provide such authority with the requisite staff and funds.
The Government may subject to rules entrust accreditation work to any entity
qualified to perform work of accreditation.
22. Costs and fees of ADR.–
The costs and fees of the ADR proceeding, if required, shall be borne by the
parties in such proportion as may be mutually agreed upon by them failing
which it shall be determined by the rules made under the Act.
23. Power to make rules.–
(1) The Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, make rules
for carrying out the purposes of the Act.
(2) Notwithstanding the generality of subsection (1), the Government
may make rules:
to provide for
ethical conduct in the provision of ADR services by licensed ADR service
providers and ADR centers;
to provide for
accreditation of licensed ADR service providers;
to provide for
documentation of decisions; and
provide for procedures to be adopted during ADR proceedings.
Power to amend the Schedules.–
The Government may, in consultation with the Lahore High
Court Lahore, amend the schedules to the Act, from time to time, so as to
add an entry thereto or omit therefrom or modify any entry therein.
Removal of difficulty.–
If any difficulty arises in giving effect to any provision of
the Act, the Government may, within two years of the commencement of the
Act, make such order not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act as may
be necessary to remove the difficulty.
Subject to the provisions of section 19 of the Act, section 89-A of the
Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (V of 1908) and clause (iii), Rule 1A,
Order X in the First Schedule to that Code, to the extent of the Punjab, are
dispute between a landlord and tenant under the Punjab Rented Premises Act,
2009 (VII of 2009).
Dispute involving pre-emption under the Punjab Pre-Emption Act, 1991 (IX of
Disputes relating to possession of immovable property.
Family disputes including guardianship and custody of minor children.
Dispute arising out of enforcement of commercial contracts except those that
in fall in schedule II.
Suits for specific performance of contracts except those that fall in
Disputes arising out of negotiable instruments under the Negotiable
Instruments Act, 1881 (XXVI of 1881) except those that fall in schedule II.
Suits arising out of Tort except those that fall in schedule II.
Dispute for recovery of movable property or value thereof.
Dispute for separate possession of joint immovable property through
partition or otherwise including claims for
Disputes for rendition of accounts of joint property.
Disputes to remove nuisance.
Disputes involving recovery of money.
Cases relating to inheritance including declaration and succession.
Disputes relating to ownership of immoveable property.
Disputes relating to professional negligence under Tort and those under the
Punjab Consumer Protection Act, 2005 (II of 2005).
Suits under the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 (LVII of 1962).
Disputes involving copy rights and patents under the Copyright Ordinance,
1962 (XXXIV of 1962) and the Patents Ordinance, 2000 (LXI of 2000)
Disputes involving trademarks under the Trademarks Ordinance, 2001 (XIX of
Suits for redemption of mortgaged property under the Transfer of Property
Act, 1882 (IV of 1882).
Cases relating to Waqf and Trusts under the relevant laws for the time being