The future for arbitration in Dubai just got brighter with the recent announcement that a new Arbitration Institute is to be established in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Dubai Law No. (7) of 2014 amends the DIFC's founding law and mandates the establishment of a Dispute Resolution Authority within the DIFC consisting of the DIFC Courts, the Arbitration Institute, and other tribunals or bodies established pursuant to the law.  

The Arbitration Institute shall have a separate legal personality and is intended to operate independently from other bodies established in the DIFC including the DIFC Authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority and the DIFC Courts. 

The functions of the Arbitration Institute shall include:

  1. the promotion of the Arbitration Institute as a hub for the settlement of domestic and international disputes, and of disputes arising out of treaties, by arbitration, mediation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR);
  2. the preparation and issuance of rules and procedures required to regulate the administration of arbitration, mediation, and other forms of ADR;
  3. the education, training and accreditation of arbitrators, mediators, practitioners and other persons concerned with ADR; and
  4. entering into co-operation and joint venture agreements with any local, regional, or international centre, society or organisation specialised in arbitration and ADR.

The Constitution of the Arbitration Institute, to be promulgated by a resolution of the President of the DIFC, shall further define the functions of the Arbitration Institute. 

The Arbitration Institute shall have a Board of Trustees comprised of a Chairperson and a number of members, including the Chief Executive of the Arbitration Institute, all of whom shall be independent of the DIFC Courts and appointed by the Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, Michael Hwang, SC.  Chief Justice Hwang is also the President of the Law Society of Singapore, a Vice Chairman of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, a Vice President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, a member of the London Court of International Arbitration, a member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport, and is Singapore's non-resident Ambassador to Switzerland. 

Once the Arbitration Institute is up and running, the business and legal communities can expect a centre of excellence in arbitration nestled in an environment built upon international best practices. 

Between the Arbitration Institute, the DIFC | LCIA Arbitration Centre founded on a partnership between the DIFC and the London Court of International Arbitration, and the DIFC Courts, we would expect heightened investor confidence in enforceable commercial decisions.