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Arbitration agreements

Validity

What are the validity requirements for an arbitration agreement?

Article 12(3) of the DIFC Arbitration Law provides that an arbitration agreement shall be in writing. Article 12(4) provides that an arbitration agreement will be deemed to be in writing if its content is recorded in any form, whether or not the arbitration agreement is concluded by conduct or by other means. 

Enforcement of agreements

How are arbitration agreements enforced in your jurisdiction? What is the attitude of the national courts towards arbitration agreements?

Under Article 13(1) of the DIFC Arbitration Law, the DIFC court will dismiss or stay any substantive claim that has been brought before it in breach of an arbitration agreement, regardless of whether the seat of the arbitration is within or outside the DIFC.

Consolidation

Can an arbitral tribunal with its seat in your jurisdiction consolidate separate arbitral proceedings under one or more contracts, and, if so, in what circumstances?

Tribunals do not have express powers to consolidate separate arbitration proceedings under the DIFC Arbitration Law.  

Choice of law

How is the substantive law of the dispute determined? Where the substantive law is unclear, how will a tribunal determine what it should be?

The parties to a dispute are expected to agree on the substantive law to be applied to the dispute (Article 35(1)). 

Article 35(2) of the DIFC Arbitration Law provides that, absent the parties’ agreement, the tribunal shall apply the law determined by the conflict of laws rules which it considers applicable.

Separability

Are there any provisions on the separability of arbitration agreements?

Article 23(1) of the Arbitration Law states that an arbitration clause which forms part of a contract must be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract. A tribunal decision that the contract is null and void will not by itself determine the invalidity of the arbitration clause.

Multiparty agreements

Are multiparty agreements recognised?

Multi-party agreements are recognised by Article 17(3)(c) of the DIFC Arbitration Law, which provides that the DIFC court shall  appoint the entire tribunal where multiple parties  have been unable to agree to arrange themselves into claimant and respondent groups. 

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