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Dubai DIFC-LCIE arbitration centre relaunched

The DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre has been restructured to address perceived concerns about its jurisdictional reach and lack of independence from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) courts.19 Nov 2015

The DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) and London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) issued a joint statement on the restructuring.

LCIA-DIFC rules will be updated to reflect "changes and improvements" to LCIA rules, while supervision of the arbitration proceedings will remain with the LCIA court, the statement said.

Dubai-based arbitration expert Michelle Nelson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "It is fair to say that the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre has struggled to gain popularity and traction away from the onshore Dubai International arbitration centre (DIAC) since its inception. This is evident from a comparison of their respective caseloads – the DIAC has approximately 150 new cases in 2015 alone, compared to the 28 open cases referred to by the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre."

"The move to stress the independence of the centre away from the DIFC Court and the introduction of new arbitration rules mirroring the LCIA rules may well lead to an increase in popularity and provide regional arbitration customers with a further credible alternative to the existing options," Nelson said.

The DIFC-LCIA centre has now moved into new premises within the DIFC, the statement said.

"The ‎restructured DIFC-LCIA is expected to consolidate and enhance Dubai’s role as the major centre for the resolution of commercial disputes for those doing business in and with the Gulf states," it said.