Will the DIFC court capers materialise?

Construction work is only just getting into full swing at Dubai International Financial Center, but it has already decided to build a new court just to handle all the contractor legal rows that will follow. Isn’t that the most pessimistic thing you’ve heard all week?

  • E-Mail
By  Sean Cronin Published  April 22, 2006

|~||~||~|Construction work is only just getting into full swing at Dubai International Financial Center, but it has already decided to build a new court just to handle all the contractor legal rows that will follow. Isn’t that the most pessimistic thing you’ve heard all week? There’s nothing like forward planning — although it does seem a bit like incorporating the divorce court with the registry office. An international design competition is already underway for an iconic boxing ring-shaped structure at the centre of Dubai’s new financial hub, where warring contractors and developers can enter to slug it out thunderdome-style. It’ll provide a bit of entertainment for all the pin-striped folk on their lunch breaks. Even if this does not materialise as the format that the financial authority eventually chooses for its new court service, it is an exciting development nonetheless. The arbitration powers of the new DIFC court are currently being finalised and could be ready in final form within three months. The addition of a new venue for dispute resolution to the already world-class Dubai International Arbitration Center is a welcome development and further evidence of the emergence of Dubai as a hub for international dispute resolution. Of course the icing on the cake would be the adoption of the 1958 New York Convention — which would mean that foreign arbitral awards could be enforced in the UAE. This missing link does have an impact on foreign investment because it is an extra risk variable that foreign companies eyeing this market must take into account. In its current UAE Investment Climate Statement, the US State Department says that ‘enforcing arbitration decisions [in the UAE] can be difficult as they require court certification, and judicial proceedings may continue for several years’. This same statement is also sceptical that the UAE will implement the New York Convention. Happily, many local lawyers and arbitration practitioners are more hopeful that progress is indeed being made and that an announcement will be made soon. Let’s hope that they are right and the US State Department is wrong. The adoption of the convention would be almost as exciting as the ‘arbitration thunderdome’ and probably more likely.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code