The Dubai experience: evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of international commercial arbitration laws in the Gulf Arab Region
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:46 authored by Amer H. AlQahtani
International commercial arbitration has become the method of choice for dispute resolution between international commercial parties. This thesis analyses and discusses the development of arbitration in the Gulf Arab Region, with a major focus on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), taking the Emirate of Dubai as a case study. It evaluates the growth and development of institutional arbitration as it is conducted in Dubai in relation to other world-class arbitral institutions such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Dubai has been emerging as a regional hub in attracting international commercial arbitration in the Gulf Arab Region and the Middle East. This thesis analyses the effectiveness and efficiency of the current procedural rules of the Dubai International Financial Centre Arbitration Law of 2008 (hereafter, DIFC Arbitration Law of 2008) on dispute resolution, which can be adopted by parties seeking to conduct arbitration proceedings or attempting to enforce arbitral awards in Dubai. Since the global financial crisis of 2006, the UAE has made considerable progress in many areas regarding international commercial arbitration. The UAE Federal Government has proposed new arbitration laws and acceded to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958) in 2006. Moreover, Dubai as an Emirate of the UAE has established its own arbitration centres, namely the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC). Focusing on institutional arbitration in Dubai, particularly the DIFC Arbitration Law of 2008, the legal frameworks and procedures of international arbitration still experience a number of procedural issues with regard to effectiveness and efficiency in conducting international arbitration, even given the separation of the DIFC legal system from the national legal culture of the UAE, where resolution of international disputes could be affected by the unique legal heritage (i.e. mixed civil and Shari’a legal systems) found in most jurisdictions within the Gulf Arab Region and the Middle East. The UAE, particularly the Emirate of Dubai, has established itself as a leading arbitration hub in the Middle East. In his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has been active in supporting the success of international commercial arbitration, which in turn will attract foreign investment and promote Dubai as a prominent venue for international commercial arbitration in the Middle East. Accordingly, in 2008, the DIFC amended its arbitration framework to enhance the position of Dubai as an arbitration centre within the region. However, at the Federal level, if the UAE aims to establish itself as an arbitration-friendly jurisdiction, it should enact its federal government’s proposed new arbitration law and advance its court system. At the Emirate level, if Dubai and its arbitration institutions (i.e. the DIFC) aim to develop into a competitive, world-class arbitration hub offering a suitable environment and infrastructure for the modern practice of international commercial arbitration, attracting large and complex international commercial disputes as the ICC does, it is suggested that it should improve its profile by pursuing recent trends in international commercial arbitration that offer the most effective and efficient procedural solutions.