New Arbitration Law in United Arab Emirates (UAE): an overview
The UAE are taking a further step towards becoming a model for free trade, openness and attractiveness to foreign investments. Recently his Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, has issued New Arbitration Law Federal Law No. 6, which entered into force on 16th of June 2018. It now applies to all arbitral proceedings in the UAE.
The new Law is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law and follows its main principles. Thus, it is aligned with international best practice and standards for arbitration process.
While getting into details of the legal wording of the law, it should be noted that it introduces the principles of separability and competence-competence, as well as gives clarifications on the competent court and its powers. Both arbitral tribunals and courts (through the president of the court) now have the power to order interim and conservatory measures relating to ongoing or potential arbitrations; the fact that the court has ordered such measures does not mean that the parties have waived their right to arbitrate.
Moreover, new Law confirms that electronic writings satisfy the requirement that the arbitration clause be in writing and now states that annulment (total or partial) must be initiated within 30 days of notification of the award to the parties.
A significant step is taken also towards enforceability of interim and partial awards. New Law includes limited restrictions on the requirements of arbitrators, and does not require anymore an arbitration award to be physically signed by the arbitral tribunal in the seat. Furthermore, an application for annulment now does not automatically stay enforcement proceedings.
The UAE’s legal community welcomes these positive developments in arbitration law and foresees a very bright future for the international and local arbitration in the UAE.
Mag. Anastasiia Kovtun, LL.M.