The UAE has established itself as a hub for international commerce in the Middle East over the last 50 years. This has led to the need for adapting to international methods of dispute resolution, and the UAE has responded by developing a comprehensive legal framework for arbitration, including the UAE Federal Arbitration Law based on the UNCITRAL Model Law and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) Rules.
The DIAC is the leading arbitration institution in the UAE, offering state-of-the-art facilities and experienced arbitrators from around the world. Other arbitration institutions in the UAE include the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC) and Tahkeem, Sharjah’s arbitration hub
The UAE’s strategic location, modern infrastructure, excellent transport links, and a cosmopolitan population make it an attractive location for international arbitrations.
The UAE’s mature market in the region has witnessed large-scale arbitration matters, allowing neighbouring countries to trust the UAE courts to handle their disputes.
The UAE’s legal system is based on civil law and influenced by Islamic law, making it particularly attractive for parties seeking arbitration in disputes involving Islamic finance, construction, and energy, among other sectors.
According to the DIAC, the number of cases handled has significantly increased from 260 cases in 2019 to 346 cases in 2020, with the highest number of cases involving construction, real estate, and hospitality sectors. Additionally, the UAE’s DIAC has handled high-profile international cases, including the $2 billion dispute between Dana Gas and its sukuk holders and the $3.8 billion dispute between the Saudi conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brothers Co. and Maan Al Sanea, a Saudi businessman, to name but a few.
— The writer is Head of Real Estate, AWS Legal Group