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UAE mulls judicial reform initiative: Minister

posted on 17/02/2009: 737 views



The UAE is considering a key initiative on judicial reform as well as the adoption of a draft law on regulation of arbitration in commercial disputes, Dr. Hadef Al Dhaheri, Minister of Justice, said on Monday.

Al Dhaheri said the Ministry of Justice was pondering under its strategic plan "a very ambitious initiative on judicial reform consistent with best international practice.”

He said the reform was aimed at bringing the law, and due process of law to "everyone's door” through multi-door courthouse empowered to decide which dispute process is best suited for the dispute before it. "Such processes range from adjudication, arbitration mediation, conciliation, and fact findings,” he said while addressing the 12th International Arbitration Day Conference in Dubai.

Al Dhahiri said the UAE strongly supported arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. "It is deeply embedded it in our legal system,” he said.

He said the UAE in general and Dubai in particular had invested heavily in the development and establishment of institutions for arbitration to ensure the independence of the legal proceedings in order to attract foreign investment. "Arbitration is the key to foreign investment as investors are more comfortable with the jurisdictions that rely on the role of law, and afford them the right to choose the legal means for settling their commercial disputes.”

He said foreign investors were more confident with the legal systems that guarantee the enforcement of the award rendered by the arbitral court that they established to resolve their dispute.

The minister said the draft law concerning the "Regulation of Arbitration in Commercial Disputes” was under consideration before the competent authorities for its adoption.

"This law shall govern all aspects of arbitration in the UAE.” It will cover the agreement of the parties to subject their disputes to arbitration, the formation of the arbitral body, the authority of the arbitral body, the arbitral awards, appeals of the awards, and enforcement of arbitral awards.

"Due process, whether in an arbitration proceedings or in a judicial proceedings is so essential to justice, fairness, human rights and the role of law, and the UAE as a responsible member of the international community is committed to all these principles which are enshrined in the UN Charter and other international instruments including the settlement of disputes through peaceful means,” Al Dhaheri said.

The UAE Constitution and its judicial system afford due process of law and equal protection of the law to everyone in the UAE regardless of race, colour, religion, ethnic backgrounds or nationality, he said.

He said due process of law entailed the impartiality of the UAE courts and their independence.

"Under the UAE legal system no life, liberty or property may be taken without due process of law. As a result of this legal protection, the UAE has become an oasis for the coexistence of so many nationalities. Dubai has established the Dubai International Arbitration Centre which has become one of the leading arbitration centres in the region, and has provided for special courts in the Dubai International Financial Centre which have exclusive jurisdiction over all cases arising out of transactions in the DIFC,” he pointed out.

The minister said at the international level, the UAE had ratified the New York Convention for the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Judgments, as well as other regional conventions on the same subject to affirm its support for arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

"In this respect the UAE has signed and ratified various bilateral treaties and conventions that provided for arbitration for settling any potential dispute that may arise as to the interpretation and application of such treaties.” – Khaleej Times

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