United Arab Emirates: Arbitration Developments in the UAE in The First Half of 2016

Alec Emmerson, Consultant at Clyde & Co in Dubai, has a look at the arbitration developments in the UAE so far in 2016.

What has been the most significant arbitration case law development in the UAE the first half of 2016?

The most significant story in arbitration related case law in the UAE remains the development of the DIFC Courts' ("DIFCC") "conduit" jurisdiction. As previously reported several judgments of the DIFCC over the last two years led the way in the development of those courts as a conduit both for the enforcement of foreign awards where the award debtor had no connection with DIFC and also for the enforcement of domestic awards.

DIFCC held that there was no basis for asserted constitutional conflict of legislation which would prevent recognition and enforcement of awards in the DIFC where the Defendant is domiciled in Dubai. In December 2015 in an as yet unreported judgment of the Union Supreme Court (to which one of the parties in an earlier case had referred the constitutionality issue), it was held that DIFCC's view of the matter was correct.

Although the award debtor then sought a review by the USC of its December decision, no judgment on that review has been issued and, in the view of the writer at least, the USC has no power to review its own decisions.

In a further development, the award debtor in the same case had sought annulment of the arbitration award in the Dubai Courts but both at First Instance and in the Court of Appeal the applications to annul were unsuccessful. The matter is currently with the Dubai of Cassation.

The development of the conduit jurisdiction in various judgments of the DIFCC has also resulted in a change in procedure. In the early cases the Court was not prepared to make orders for enforcement on an ex parte basis. Now it appears to be the practice for such orders for recognition and enforcement to be made ex parte (as permitted by the DIFCC Rules), putting the onus on the award debtor to seek to set aside the recognition and enforcement order. This has speeded up the process considerably and has resulted in costs savings.

What have been the most significant developments in arbitral institutions in the UAE in the same period?

Following statutory amendments in 2014 to Law No. 9 of 2004 "Concerning the Dubai International Financial Centre", the DIFC Courts which was one of the three bodies of DIFC, became a constituent part of the new Dispute Resolution Authority. There was also created, as an independent body under the DRA umbrella, the DIFC Arbitration Institute ("DAI"). In November 2015 DAI relaunched the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre in what is essentially a joint venture with LCIA. This was followed by the appointment of Mohamed ElGhatit as the new Director & Registrar of DIFC-LCIA and the appointment of other support staff which will result in most of the case management and development of the Centre going forward with a unique blend of the LCIA's renowned reputation combined with "on the ground" management in the DIFC, supervised by an international board of five trustees who are well known in international arbitration. New Rules to reflect LCIA's updates of 2014 (including online filing, the ability to appoint an emergency arbitrator and the party conduct provisions) are looked forward to eagerly later this year, along with the establishment of a DIFC-LCIA Users' Council.

Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre was also established by decree in the first half of this year and will be fully up and running later in the year.
Finally, ADGM issued its arbitration regulations. Whilst this is not an arbitral institution, the regulations set out the "law" for the conduct of arbitrations in ADGM. The UAE therefore now has a diversity of arbitration offerings of which the above three have up to date arbitration laws their seat (DIFC and ADGM) and are expected to assist Dubai and the UAE in their aim to become world class arbitration centres.

What have been the most notable features of your practice so far this year?

For Clyde & Co, there has been a continued growth of instructions in commercial and construction arbitrations along with enforcements through the DIFC Courts and execution against assets "onshore".

What development internationally has caught your eye and why?

The lifting of sanctions on Iran should result in a dramatic increase of international trade and investment involving Iran. This in turn will mean that there are more disputes involving Iranian parties which the UAE's arbitration (and mediation) centres are uniquely placed to handle. This is a message that needs to be delivered to both international and Iranian parties with particular emphasis on DIFC as the seat preferred for such arbitration.

Arbitration Developments in the UAE in The First Half of 2016

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.