Arbitration in Qatar – Introduction

As FIFA world cup approaches, our eyes focus on Arbitration in Qatar. Construction has picked up considerable and the rulers of the country intend to keep up the level of development post world cup. As construction and real estate pick up in the gulf country so does arbitration.

This publication addresses all you need to know about arbitrating in Qatar in 5 handy sections.

Does Qatar have an arbitration Law?

Qatar has a Federal Arbitration Law and an arbitration law that applies when the seat of arbitration is the Qatar Financial Centre. Law Number 2 of 2017 Promulgating the Civil and Commercial Arbitration Law has UNCITRAL roots and applies to arbitrations in Qatar (where the QFC Arbitration Regulations are not applicable) or abroad to arbitrations that select the law of Qatar as the law applicable to the arbitration.

The Qatar Financial Centre has its own arbitration law issued via Regulation No. 8 of 2005.

The Qatar Financial Centre resembles the robustness of the UAE’s Dubai International Financial Centre or the Abu Dhabi Global Markets habilitating a common law jurisdiciont within their civil systems.

How many arbitral institutions exist in the UAE?

In Qatari mainland soil there’s one institution: the Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA).

Within the QFC, the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) target arbitration under the QFC Arbitration Regulations.

Is Qatar a member of the New York Convention?

Qatar is a member to the New York Convention without reservations.

The accession to the Convention became effective in March 2003.

For those of you not versed with the New York Convention, this is a key tool of international arbitration. It applies to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. Today it has 170 contracting states.

Without the New York convention arbitration awards rendered abroad could not be executed in the country where award debtor has assets.

For additional information on the New York Convention kindly visit its official site here.

Any hints on drafting an arbitration agreement selecting to arbitrate in Qatar?

Under the Qatar Arbitration Law, arbitration agreements must be in writing. It can be contained in electronic exchanges, a signed contract or any means to evidence that a written agreement to arbitrate exist. It could also be valid to find an arbitration agreement by reference to a document that contains it but such reference cannot leave room for doubt of the desire to be bound by the arbitration agreement.

Under de QFC Arbitration Regulations, a contract to arbitration could be oral or by conduct insofar as the arbitration rules referred, or arbitration clause or arbitration terms are in writing.

Important to stress that most arbitral institutions would accept an arbitration filed without arbitration agreement if the defendant does not challenge the arbitrability of the dispute. This is however not recommended in the absence of a valid arbitration clause due to the delays and costs involved.

Based on the above duality of arbitration laws it is very important that when drafting an arbitration clause for effect in Qatar that the Parties are very conspicuous of the competent authorities (CIArbt, QICCA,…) and the applicable law (QFC Arbitration Regulations or Qatar Arbitration Law)

No additional major notes when considering Qatar as the place of enforcement of the award as Qatar is a member to the New York Convention.

For additional information on arbitration agreements kindly visit our publications here.

Any particularities when drafting arbitral awards in Qatar?

The most controversial particularity is whether to issue awards in the name of His Royal Highness, the Emir of the State of Qatar.

The Federal Law is silent on this requirement, as silent as the Constitution of Qatar. Jurisprudence can be found requiring such issuance and referring to Article 69 of the CCPL as reason for inclusion. A relatively recent judgment however dismisses a challenge for this reason in the year 2020.

Beyond this information, an award in Qatar should contain:

  • proper definition of parties (discernible and easily traceable);
  • reasons for the award
  • copy of the arbitration agreement
  • a summary of the parties’ respective claims
  • the costs and fees of the arbitration and party responsible for its coverage
  • seat, applicable law and language of the arbitration
  • signed by majority of arbitrators and if a dissenting opinion exists, its reasons.

We trust that this information is of assistance when grasping a general sense of arbitration ambiance in Qatar. For additional information kindly email us at info@rubertpartners.com

*This publication is not intended as legal advice but rather as of general character information.