The UAE's Pilgrimage to International Arbitration Stardom: A Critical Appraisal of Dubai as a Centre of Dispute Resolution Aspiring to Be a Middle East Business Hub

Journal of World Investment and Trade, Vol. 15, 2014

52 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2014

See all articles by Ahmed Almutawa

Ahmed Almutawa

University of Portsmouth

A. F. M. Maniruzzaman

University of Portsmouth - School of Law; Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee; Faculty of International Law, China University of Political Science and Law

Date Written: February 22, 2014

Abstract

The last two decades have witnessed a growing interest and participation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in international arbitration as they have also joined the New York Convention and the Washington Convention. Still, scepticisms abound as to the efficacy of international arbitration in the GCC states. However, Dubai is considered to have the potential of being a Middle East business hub as it is modernising its arbitration law and practice in light of international developments. Forward thinking and innovative pro-arbitration institutions like the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) - the leading arbitration centre in the UAE; the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) - a common law free zone within Dubai with its own sets of laws, including the DIFC Arbitration Law, and its own court system (DIFC Courts) both of which are separate from Dubai and UAE laws and judicial systems; and the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre, have turned Dubai into a growing propitious arbitration hub (i.e. a pro-arbitration and pro-enforcement jurisdiction) in the Middle East. While doubts continue to be raised with regard to the role and influence of the Shari’a on the arbitration process and on the enforceability of arbitral awards in Dubai, an examination of recent developments and trends in the arbitration rules and case law in Dubai reveals a promising environment for international arbitration, except for a few cases that followed formalistic grounds for denying enforcement. Recent cases from the UAE, and especially from Dubai, reveal a new attitude pervading the UAE judiciary that is more welcoming of the New York Convention and that is less likely to interfere with the merits of an arbitral award. However, the new UAE Draft Federal Arbitration Law is yet to be enacted. The article provides a critical appraisal of the recent legislative and institutional developments and international arbitral practice in the UAE and assesses Dubai’s prospect to be a Middle East business hub.

Keywords: Dubai International Arbitration Centre, Dubai International Financial Centre, enforcement, foreign arbitral award, international arbitration, public policy, setting aside, Shari’a, United Arab Emirates

JEL Classification: K2

Suggested Citation

Almutawa, Ahmed and Maniruzzaman, A. F. M., The UAE's Pilgrimage to International Arbitration Stardom: A Critical Appraisal of Dubai as a Centre of Dispute Resolution Aspiring to Be a Middle East Business Hub (February 22, 2014). Journal of World Investment and Trade, Vol. 15, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2460411

Ahmed Almutawa

University of Portsmouth ( email )

University House
Winston Churchhill Avenue
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2UP
United Kingdom

A. F. M. Maniruzzaman (Contact Author)

University of Portsmouth - School of Law ( email )

Richmond Building
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 3DE
United Kingdom
+44 (0)2392844194 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/academic/law/staff/title,23599,en.html

Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee ( email )

Nethergate
Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN
United Kingdom

Faculty of International Law, China University of Political Science and Law ( email )

Beijing
China

HOME PAGE: http://www.cupl.edu.cn:81/sites/en/School_EN_new_Index.jsp

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