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23 May 2024

Arbitration centre opens at the DIFC

By Staff Writer


The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) yesterday announced a joint venture with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) to offer dispute resolution services to all business and commercial sectors, providing a cost-effective and timely alternative to civil courts.


The venture establishes a new centre for the administration of international arbitration and mediation to complement the independent legal and regulatory framework of the DIFC. Yesterday, Emirates Business reported DIFC had issued consultation papers to seek comment on a new arbitration law to pave the way for such a centre to be established.


The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre will be located in the DIFC and will promote the effective resolution of international business disputes through arbitration. The link- up will allow the DIFC to benefit from LCIA’s reputation as one of the longest-established international institutions for commercial dispute resolution in the world.


“The establishment of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre is part of a strategy to position Dubai as an international arbitration jurisdiction. This is a landmark step for Dubai, reaffirming its status as one of the world’s leading business hubs and creating an efficient working environment for local and international companies to prosper,” said Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre’s rules will be a close adaptation of the LCIA rules, with minor changes to align them with regional needs and situations.


The rules are universally applicable and compatible with both civil and common-law systems, offering the international business community, international lawyers and arbitrators a comprehensive and modern set of rules and procedures. The centre has access to the LCIA’s complete database of arbitrators with a wide range of professional qualifications and expertise (legal and non-legal), enabling it to appoint tribunals of the highest calibre.


Signing the joint venture agreement on behalf of DIFC, Dr Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC, said: “The current business environment in the Middle East and North Africa region, where economies are experiencing unprecedented growth, merits a new, dedicated centre for the provision of dispute resolution services. The creation of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre achieves DIFC’s aim to be the key source, and sole body, in providing unique and efficient arbitration services as an alternative way of dispute resolution for the business and commercial community in the DIFC, Dubai, the region and internationally.”


Signing on behalf of the LCIA, Adrian Winstanley, LCIA’s director-general, said: “The LCIA is delighted to be working with DIFC on this important initiative to provide, within the DIFC itself, for efficient, neutral, dependable and cost-effective ADR [alternative dispute resolution] services for which the LCIA is widely known, for parties doing business in, through and beyond DIFC.


“This co-operative venture underlines the LCIA’s recognition of the important and burgeoning economies of Dubai, and the wider Middle East.”

With the introduction of the DIFC Arbitration Law 2008, the DIFC will offer a legislative platform for dispute resolution.


The Arbitration Law is based on the Uncitral Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, and covers all stages of the arbitral process, from the arbitration agreement to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.



Enhancing Confidence in Dubai


The new arbitration court is testimony to Dubai’s growing importance in the world of international trade and will enhance its reputation as both a secure investment destination and a respected neutral venue for the resolution of international and regional commercial disputes, says a top international arbitration specialist.


“As the linkages between national economies have continued to multiply, changing economic relations are producing increased levels of trade and investment in many parts of the world, not least in the Gulf” said Philip Punwar, an international arbitration specialist at Al Tamimi & Company, one of the leading law firms in the Gulf.


“Arbitration has become an integral part of the international trading system, primarily because it provides parties from different legal, business and cultural backgrounds with a framework for resolving their disputes before specialists of their own choosing and away from the procedural formalities of national courts.”


The DIFC, which has its own English language laws and courts for civil and commercial matters, is expected to introduce a revised law. The revision will permit parties not connected with the DIFC to have their arbitrations held in the DIFC.