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Arbitration agreements


What are the validity requirements for an arbitration agreement?

Article 203(2) of the UAE Civil Procedure Law provides that an arbitration agreement must be in writing.

Article 203(3) provides that the subject matter of the dispute must be defined either in the arbitration agreement or during the course of the proceedings.

Article 203(4) states that a party’s representative who signs an arbitration agreement must be granted specific authority in order to create a valid and binding arbitration agreement.   

Enforcement of agreements

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

Arbitration agreements are enforced in accordance with Article 203 of the UAE Civil Procedure Law. Article 203(5) provides that if the parties agree to arbitrate the dispute, they cannot bring an action in respect of the same dispute before the national courts. Article 203(5) also states that where one of the parties initiates litigation without regard for an arbitration agreement, unless the other party objects at the first hearing, the arbitration agreement will be deemed to be cancelled. 

The UAE courts generally enforce arbitration agreements if there is evidence of a clear intention between the parties to be bound by arbitration. 


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?

No. Tribunals do not have express powers to consolidate separate arbitration proceedings under the UAE Civil Procedure 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. 

The UAE Civil Procedure Law does not address the situation where the parties have failed to agree on the substantive law. 


Are there any provisions on the separability of arbitration agreements?

The UAE Civil Procedure Law includes no express reference to the separability of arbitration agreements. The doctrine of separability is generally recognised by the UAE courts. 

Multiparty agreements

Are multiparty agreements recognised?

The UAE Civil Procedure Law includes no provisions on multi-party agreements. 

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