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Qatar arbitration law introduced

Qatar has introduced a new Arbitration Act to cover both civil and commercial matters.21 Feb 2017

The law will be applicable to any arbitration in either the public or private sectors, irrespective of the nature of the legal relationship on which the dispute is based, or any treaties Qatar has with other countries, the Qatar government said.

However, the law will only apply to cases taking place inside Qatar or in cases abroad in which parties agree to adhere to the provisions of Qatari law, it said.

Faisal Al Sahouti, chief executive of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) said the new law will meet the economic and commercial needs of the state of Qatar.

The law is based upon the UNCITRAL arbitration rules of 2010, which are internationally recognised and widely used, and will allow parties to give the Civil and Commercial Court at the QICDRC supervisory jurisdiction over arbitrations.

This is likely to be an attractive offering, especially for international companies doing business in the Qatar, the QICDRC said.   

Dispute resolution expert Jonathan Collier of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "The new arbitration law is highly anticipated and is considered as a positive development for companies, both domestic and international, doing business in Qatar. The UNCITRAL model law on which the new arbitration law is based is both well established and reasoned and its introduction will hopefully provide a more stable and consistent landscape for conducting arbitration and enforcing arbitral awards."

Saudi Arabia brought in a modern arbitration law in 2012, one of the first countries in the Gulf region to do so, and launched a commercial arbitration centre in 2014.

The Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration was formed by the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), in consultation with the kingdom’s justice, commerce and industry ministries, and in coordination with the governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.