Anyone who’s been following the news in the world of arbitration and construction law lately cannot have missed the goings-on at the DIAC and DIFC in Dubai. In an unexpected move, on 14th September, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al-Maktoum issued a decree abolishing the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre. The decree came as something of a surprise to many in the legal sector across the region.

In practical terms, ongoing arbitrations at the DIFC will conclude, supported by DIFC-LCIA teams on secondment from DIAC.  No new arbitrations will take place at the DIFC. The new DIAC will have a base both in mainland Dubai and in the DIFC.

Some commentators have observed that it presents a great opportunity for the DIAC. The centre may now position itself as a leading centre for commercial arbitration globally. It is also anticipated that the DIAC will issue new arbitration rules to replace the 2007 rules.

What Is the DIAC?

The Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) is the largest arbitration centre in the Middle East. It was initially established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1994. It is non-profit and independent, aiming to provide efficient and impartial dispute resolution in the region.

Damian James and the DIAC

Damian was fortunate to qualify as an arbitrator at the DIAC in April this year. The timing means that we are well placed to support our clients and contacts with any queries they may have about the centre. Regular readers will recall we wrote about their capped fees scheme recently. This particular innovation ensures parties have control over costs, which is a regular concern when entering into legal proceedings.

Are you beginning work in the Gulf region? Is there a DIFC arbitration clause in your existing contract? If so, take care to ensure compliance with the new decree. We always recommend taking good legal advice before starting work on any project. These changes make it more important than ever to ensure your documentation is in compliance with the latest changes.

As always, if you need help with any of the issues in the above, do get in touch with us, we’ll be happy to talk.