United Arab Emirates - Part I.H - Arbitration in the MENA
Originally from Arbitration in the MENA
Arbitration in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is increasingly becoming a field of study in its own right. The UAE are a young federation of seven Emirates governed by a federal constitution, the UAE Federal Constitution. The UAE have emerged unscathed from the social and political upheaval caused by the Arab Spring in many a neighbouring nation, including in particular the Arab Republic of Egypt, and have been able to capitalise on their status as a peaceful haven in a region of political turmoil, including in offering arbitration services to regional investors. Arbitration in the UAE and in the Middle East more generally has a long history, taking its roots in the very origins of Islam. The general idea that arbitration as an alternative means of dispute resolution is alien to the Arab Middle East is hence a misperception. This being said, however, there can be no doubt that modern forms of arbitration that benefit dispute resolution in the twenty-first century are still in their infancy and it is only through a gradual process of professional socialisation that arbitration is coming of age in the region.
Some Emirates have proven to be more adept than others at adopting modern arbitration practice and procedure and consequently to develop into a modernized arbitration hub in the region. By way of example, arbitration in Dubai has swiftly moved center stage over the past decade. This is, first and foremost, due to Dubai’s rapid growth as a financial and commercial service center in a prime strategic location in the Middle East and due to the liberal economic climate created in the Emirate by the Ruler of Dubai, which in turn has attracted international investments on an unprecedented scale and led to the development of Dubai as a modern service economy. Dubai has been evolving into the arbitration capital of the region, having been the first metropolis in the Middle East to build a modern civilian and institutional infrastructure that accommodates the conduct of complex international arbitrations and that fosters the implementation of best arbitration practice on a grand scale.