Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Intellectual property protection

Bahrain has developed a comprehensive legal regime to protect intellectual property rights and has acceded to most major international treaties, protocols and conventions; such as the Paris, Berne, Rome and Madrid Conventions. Trademarks, patents, designs and copyrights are all eligible to be registered for protection. There are no specialised courts for enforcement; however, a petition for enforcement may be filed with a court.

Bahrain offers adequate protection to intellectual rights as it has well defined laws in this respect. In 2009, the Kingdom of Bahrain passed the Law No. 29 of 2009 with respect to Ratifying the Protocol amending the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Dispute resolution

Commercial laws are clearly defined and English is widely used. Although based on several sources, such as tribal and Islamic law, the legal system is heavily influenced by the British common law.

Notably, Bahrain is the home of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Commercial Arbitration Centre and has established itself as an international and regional centre for arbitration. The Centre has its own ratified arbitral rules, which are within the guidelines of the New York Convention 1958.