Doug Jones, the head of Clayton Utz's International Arbitration group, and Essam Al Tamimi from Al Tamimi & Co. discuss the role of Sharia law in international arbitration.

With Kate Ritchie of Boardroom Radio

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Kate Ritchie

Today BRR speaks with Doug Jones who is a partner and the head of International Arbitration at Clayton Utz. Joining him is Essam Al Tamimi who is a senior partner and head of Arbitration at Al Tamimi & Co. Doug, in an increasingly globalised economy more and more companies are turning to international arbitration to resolve their commercial disputes. How important is recognition of various cultures and laws to both the acceptance and enforceability of commercial arbitration decisions?

Doug Jones

Decisions need to be decided according to the appropriate law; whether that's local or not depends on the agreement.

So as far as culture is concerned, it's legally irrelevant but very important from a practical point of view. Parties need to have their culture respected in order to accept the outcome of decisions, as do local courts enforcing outcomes. They need to appreciate their culture has also been respected.

Kate Ritchie

And Essam in your experience with international arbitration and Sharia law, is there a place for Sharia law in international arbitration decisions?

Essam Al Tamimi

Indeed, Islamic law recognised arbitration from day 1 of Islam and maybe even before then.

It has been progressed through Islam, it's been recognised and developed in some of the Islamic jurisprudence. There is no conflict between Islam and arbitration and actually they complement each other and Islamic law supports arbitration and it is recognised.

There has been however some misconceptions from some of the Islamic scholars and maybe some of the international users that Islamic law may conflict with international arbitration and puts on some restrictions, which is not true. Both of them actually could cohere and work together very well.

Kate Ritchie

And Essam, how might we see Sharia law applied to international arbitration in the future?

Essam Al Tamimi

Islamic law is the principle of law that is being embodied into a codified law in most of Arabian and Islamic countries. You may find the source of the law that comes from the Sharia and Islamic principles but most of the Islamic countries and Arab countries, with maybe the exception of one state, have enacted laws within their codified law and the principle of it remains Sharia.

Those laws and regulations embodied in these local laws do not conflict with arbitration and actually support arbitration and they could be used in any local and international arbitration whether as procedural law or substantive law.