In times when commercial disputes need to be addressed in a fast and reliable manner but without too much publicity, many a contender prefers arbitration to civil courts. This is not different in the Gulf region (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE), where traditionally already reigned a certain unease with adhering courts due to lack of predictability, missing special sections, Arabic as the sole procedural language and questions of monetary recoveries.
Over the past years, a dozen local arbitration centers have been established in the six Gulf states in steep competition to the established players from London, Paris or Singapore. And it pays off: The specific expertise of local customs, paired with the application of the New York Arbitration Convention / UNCITRAL and the knowledge of international experts, has ensured that Gulf arbitration is on the rise.
Jan Wrede, German Attorney and the Director of Dennemeyer & Associates Dubai, has recently been enrolled as an arbitrator with the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) based in Riyadh. Dennemeyer is pleased to add this capacity to its persistent endeavor to offer our clients the best local expertise in an ever more challenging global environment.
“The fact that the Director of our Dubai office, Jan Wrede, has been enrolled as an official arbitrator with the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration in Riyadh, shows the rising recognition of Dennemeyer & Associates as a leading IP law firm in the GCC region,” states Dr. Robert Fichter, Managing Director at Dennemeyer & Associates.
In arbitration, parties can nominate their arbitrator and determine most of the procedural rules. Usually, there is no appeal unless challenged for procedural flaws.
Historically, settling cases out of court in a non-institutional manner has been a favorite means of resolving disputes in the Middle East but, from an international perspective, an institutionalized arbitration system was the preferred solution. Recently, there have been many significant developments in the legislation with new arbitral institutions being established and rules revised and updated across the region. There are Arbitration Centers now in Bahrain (two), Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (seven). In Saudi Arabia, the passing of the Arbitration Law together with the Enforcement Law has changed the arbitration landscape for the better. Then came the opening of the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration in 2016 and the publication of its Arbitration Rules, closely followed by the Implementing Rules in June 2017. Things are rapidly evolving in this complex and diverse region.
Using arbitration in the GCC states has certain advantages over litigation throughout all kinds of commercial disputes. Although this is not necessarily the case in terms of costs or time-efficiency, parties can nominate their arbitrator and determine most of the procedural rules, such as the language of proceedings. Other flexible terms regard the venue, the number of arbitrators and whether the arbitration itself is to be done by documentation only or by holding one or more hearings. Usually, the verdict is binding (in other words, there is no appeal) unless challenged for procedural flaws (like the violation of a party's right to be heard).
“I am pleased to add this interesting new option to all companies active in the Middle East,” says Jan Wrede. “Arbitration is a pragmatic approach to settle IP-related issues as a valid alternative to going to court. For the region, the implementation of international best practice standards is another huge step in the development of their legal system.”
Dennemeyer & Associates is a global IP law firm and serves as a single point of contact into all relevant jurisdictions.
The authors contribute to this blog in their personal capacity. The views expressed are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Dennemeyer IP Solutions, Dennemeyer & Associates, or Dennemeyer Consulting.