Oman - Part D - Arbitration in the MENA
Originally from Arbitration in the MENA
In the Gulf area, arbitration has historically been used as a means to settle different types of disputes. After the arrival of Islam, all sources of Islamic regulations —including the Quran, Sunnah, Idgama, and Qias—accepted arbitration as a means to settle disputes.
As an Islamic country, the Sultanate of Oman (“Oman”) recognizes arbitration as a means of the settlement of disputes under the umbrella of Sharia Rules, especially the Ibadi Doctrine. Oman started to establish its legal framework on the basis of a body of laws beginning in 1970. Finding a suitable way to settle commercial disputes was an issue before the Omani legislature for several decades. From 1972 to 1997, the laws concerning arbitration were modified several times.
The first means for the settlement of commercial disputes was created through Royal Decree of 21 May 1972, which established the Committee for Settlement of Commercial Disputes (the “CSCD”). The initial decree, however, did not provide any details about the CSCD. The Commercial Companies Law that was enacted two years later in 1974 contained such details, thereby making the CSCD active as of that date. The CSCD functioned primarily as a court and its jurisdiction extended to all types of disputes between traders. Decisions of CSCD were final. Five commercial disputes experts were members of CSCD. In 1981, Oman established the Board for Settlement of Commercial Disputes (the “BSCD”). This replaced the CSCD. In 1984, the BSCD became affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The BSCD, unlike the CSCD, had a separate legal personality and jurisdiction over business disputes. The BSCD was restructured in 1987. The BSCD rules were amended in 1990 and 1991.