Arbitrating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Arbitration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been subject to material reform in recent years which has had a positive effect in the realm of dispute resolution. The new arbitration law, enacted by Royal Decree No. M/34 published in the Official Gazette on 8 June 2012 (the “New Arbitration Law”) has facilitated the Kingdom in adopting international norms and practices when promulgating new laws. This New Arbitration Law is broadly modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law and replaces the previous Arbitration Law issued by Royal Decree No. M/46 on April 25, 1983 and supplemented by an Executive Regulation dated June 22 1987.

The New Arbitration Law has paved the way for the adoption of ‘arbitration friendly’ provisions that facilitate the resolution of disputes in the Kingdom and complement the recent arbitral progress. For example, the UNCITRAL-based New Arbitration Law led to the enactment, in 2013, of a new enforcement law (the “Enforcement Law”).

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First insight – the new UAE Federal Arbitration Law and the future for UAE arbitration

On 3 May 2018, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, issued Federal Law No. 6 of 2018 promulgating the country’s much anticipated new Federal Arbitration Law (the “New Law“). The New Law, which is heavily based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, will replace and supersede Articles 203 to 218 of the Civil Procedures Code (Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 (as amended)) which currently govern arbitrations seated onshore in the UAE (the “Civil Procedure Code“).  The New Law applies to any arbitration conducted in the UAE, unless the parties have agreed that another law should apply, (Article 2) and to ongoing arbitration proceedings, even if the arbitration agreement was concluded before the Law came into effect (Article 59).

The New Law will take affect one month after its date of publication in the Official Gazette.  This article highlights some of the most significant developments and identifies key similarities and differences between the New Law and the UNCITRAL Model Law on which it is based. Continue reading

New UAE Federal Arbitration Law issued

The President of the United Arab Emirates has issued Federal Law No. 6 of 2018, promulgating the much anticipated new federal arbitration law in the UAE. As we reported in March, the new federal law, which is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law, will replace and supersede Articles 203 to 218 of the Civil Procedures Law No. 11 of 1992, which currently govern arbitrations seated onshore UAE, and will provide a properly structured procedural framework for domestic and international arbitrations seated in the UAE. The law will be published in the Official Gazette of the Union, and will come into effect one month after the date of publication.

Craig Shepherd, Head of the Global Contentious Construction Practice at Herbert Smith Freehills and Head of the Dubai Dispute Resolution team, commented: “The new Federal Arbitration Law is a very exciting development for the whole of the UAE. While the state has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent seat in the Middle East for arbitration, it did risk falling behind other nations who have introduced comprehensive new laws. That issue has now been addressed, and I am sure the new law will help cement the UAE’s position in the global arbitration market.”

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Recent arbitration developments in the UAE

In the last few months, there have been two notable developments in the United Arab Emirates relating to arbitration. First, it was announced on 27th February 2018 that the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates has approved the highly anticipated draft of the Federal law on Arbitration (understood to be based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration). Second, the Legal Affairs Department of the Government of Dubai has clarified that all lawyers who are licensed in Dubai have the right of audience before any arbitration tribunal in Dubai, including foreign lawyers, and that visiting lawyers may also appear before arbitral tribunals in Dubai. These significant and welcome developments are discussed further below.

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Inside Arbitration: Issue #5 of the publication from Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice

We are delighted to share with you the latest issue of the publication from the Herbert Smith Freehills Global Arbitration Practice, Inside Arbitration.

In addition to sharing knowledge and insights about the markets and industries in which our clients operate, the publication offers personal perspectives of our international arbitration partners from across the globe.

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ICC to open representative office in Abu Dhabi

The ICC has announced that it will be opening a representative office in the United Arab Emirates to service the Middle East and North Africa region.  The office aims to be open by early 2018 in the new arbitration hearing centre of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in Al Maqam Tower on Al Maryah Island in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

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Appointment of arbitrators: English Court grapples conflicting case law and clarifies relevant principles when asked to assist with appointments

In its decision in Silver Dry Bulk Company Limited v Homer Hulbert Maritime Company Limited [2017] EWHC 44 (Comm) the English Court has considered and clarified the principles which apply to an application under section 18 of the English Arbitration Act 1996 (the "Act").  Section 18 enables a party to apply to the court to exercise its powers to give directions as to the making of tribunal appointments or make the appointments itself.  The decision confirms, amid conflicting case law, that the applying party must establish a "good arguable case" that a tribunal would have jurisdiction to hear the case, and emphasises that any jurisdictional arguments remain matters for the tribunal to decide in accordance with the principle of kompetenz-kompetenz. The case is also a good reminder of the purpose of section 18, which only applies where there has been a complete failure of the appointment procedure agreed between the parties, and cannot be used to declare or confirm the validity of a tribunal's constitution.

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