Enactment of the Abu Dhabi Global Market Arbitration Regulations 2015: the creation of a new “pro-arbitration” seat in the Middle East?

The Abu Dhabi Global Market ("ADGM"), a financial freezone in the United Arab Emirates, has enacted new arbitration regulations based on the UNCITRAL Model Law to create a new "pro-arbitration" seat in the Middle East. The ADGM Arbitration Regulations 2015 (the "ADGM Regulations") were enacted on 17 December 2015, and allow contracting parties to choose the ADGM as the seat of arbitration – no link is required to the ADGM for it to have jurisdiction.

The ADGM was recently established by decree of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 2013 and began operating in 2014. Similar to the Dubai International Financial Centre (the "DIFC"), the ADGM operates its own self-contained common law legal system, however, the ADGM directly incorporates English common law and a list of English statutes into its legal system by reference. In contrast, the DIFC has created its own separate body of substantive laws, with English law only applied in the event of conflict or gaps in DIFC law.

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