• Role of UAE courts in international commercial arbitration

      Abdullah, Muhammad Tahir (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-06-28)
      Concept of arbitration has been prevalent, historically, in the Middle East since the early days of Islam. The arbitral process has been problematic in the UAE however, it has not been until recently that the UAE has recognized the importance of arbitration as a powerful dispute resolution alternative and revised its legislation to accommodate the proceedings of domestic and international arbitration. In the past, foreign investors have been reluctant to select the UAE seat for their arbitration proceedings. There has been a perception that, as a general rule, the practice of international commercial arbitration in the Middle East is still in its infancy. The UAE is now demonstrating to the international community that it has the necessary infrastructure and laws in place to successfully count itself as one of the key arbitration players, alongside London, Paris and Hong Kong. This has been the result of the UAE updating their laws, reforming dispute resolution practice and procedures and through the establishment of key regional arbitration centres. The UAE's accession to the New York Convention was also seen as a significant step in demonstrating the UAE's commitment to foreign investors and the international community. Under Federal Decree No. 43 of 2006, the UAE managed to accede to the New York Convention. The UAE's accession is considered as a mile stone towards provision for a more straightforward arbitral process and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in other Convention states. As a recent development, the UAE has evidenced the joint venture between the Dubai International Financial Centre ('the DIFC') and the London Court of International Arbitration ('the LCIA'), in February 2009, to create the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre ('the DIFC~LCIA'). The DIFC-LCIA operates alongside the longer-established Dubai International Arbitration Centre ('the DlAC'). Both offer their own procedural rules and regulations for the amicable settlement of disputes through arbitration. The Courts role is vital in an arbitral proceeding in any jurisdiction. Although arbitration is believed as a court-free, independent forum for dispute resolution; the court plays fundamental role to ensure that the arbitral proceeding is taking place in a moderate and independent decorum. The UAE Court's role towards the International commercial arbitration has been very problematic and the courts historically used to intervene in the arbitral proceeding over tiny issues. The new UAE arbitration laws has changed the situation and curtailed the courts powers to interfere the arbitral proceeding. At present, the arbitration in the UAE is more independent and straightforward. The proposed UAE arbitration law has much more similarities with the Model Law UNCITRAL and meets the International standards. A lot of work still has to be done in order to make the arbitration more independent, straightforward and friendly in the UAB. The Court's role is vital and is required to be more supportive then it is at present in the arbitral process.