Introduction to Arbitration Proceedings in Dubai

Arbitration proceedings in Dubai typically follow the expected international arbitration proceedings.

While arbitration proceedings may vary depending on the  arbitration agreement, the rules chosen by the parties, and the complexity of the dispute, parties to an arbitration in Dubai could expect an arbitration going over initiation stages, written pleadings, hearing stage and the closing silence prior to the issuance of the final award.

Initial Stages

The initial stages may vary in an institutional arbitrations vs ad hoc arbitration. In an institutional arbitration (ICC, LCIA, SIAC, DIAC, etc); the arbitral institution will participate in the collection of the arbitration expenses from the parties and in the appointment of a tribunal with knowledge, time and inexistent of conflicts to hear and decide the dispute.

To know whether an arbitration is institutional or ad hoc we will need to revise the parties agreements and the arbitration agreement in particular.

The first contact of the arbitral institution with the case usually takes place at the time of registration of a request for arbitration containing a summary of the facts, description of the parties, the law governing the dispute, and claim figure and indications as to the appointment of the Tribunal. The Defendant/s will then be given the opportunity to reply and the arbitration center will in parallel organise the economic affairs of the arbitration vis a vis the claim and counterclaims that could be filed.

Prior to the registration of the claim with the arbitration center, parties usually have already exchanged notices and responses and have at that stage deemed that the matter cannot be amicably settled. Most arbitration agreements contain the parties’ undertaking to aim to settle amicably the dispute prior to initiating an arbitration proceedings.

During this initial stage in front of the arbitral institution, the tribunal is appointed. If the arbitration agreement specifies the number of arbitrators, they are appointed according to that agreement. If not, the parties may agree on a sole arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. In case of disagreement, the chosen arbitration rules or a designated institution may facilitate the appointment process.

Transfer of the Case to the Tribunal

Once the arbitration expenses have been paid by the Parties and the Tribunal is appointed, the case is transferred to the Tribunal.

On receipt of the case file the Tribunal should summon the Parties to a preliminary meeting. The purpose of the preliminary meeting is to discuss procedural matters, such as the timetable for submissions, the exchange of evidence, and any other administrative issues. This hearing may also address the selection of procedural rules and the language of the arbitration.

Written Submissions in Arbitration Proceedings in Dubai

The parties exchange written submissions outlining their respective positions, arguments, and evidence supporting their claims or defences. These submissions typically include statements of claim and defense, as well as any counterclaims or responses.

Arbitration proceedings in Dubai may require parties to include witness statements within their major pleadings or separate the witness statement filing.


The parties may engage in a process of discovery, where they exchange relevant documents and information.  The arbitrators may also issue orders regarding the production of evidence and the examination of witnesses.

Arbitration proceedings in Dubai usually follow the Redfern Schedule to address document production requests, globally used in international arbitration worldwide.


On closing of the written pleadings and depending on the complexity of the dispute and the parties’ desire to hold or not a hearing, the arbitrators may hold a hearing where both parties present their case orally. During the hearing, each party has the opportunity to make opening and closing statements, examine witnesses, and cross-examine the opposing party’s witnesses.

During the Hearing stage, the Parties  will conduct hearing preparation meetings, agree on binders’ content, swap skeleton arguments and prepare the needful for the Tribunal to be fully ready for the Hearing, which generally lasts between 1-3 days depending on the complexity of the case.

After the Hearing it is possible that Parties will swap post hearing submissions prior to the Tribunal deliberating and drafting the Final Award.

Final Award

After considering all the evidence and arguments presented, the arbitrators deliberate and reach a decision, known as the arbitral award. The award is typically written and includes the reasoning behind the decision. It may also specify any remedies or damages awarded to the prevailing party. The Tribunal usually closes proceedings just before releasing the Final Award.

Conclusion to Arbitration Proceedings in Dubai

Throughout the arbitration process, the parties have the opportunity to participate actively in the proceedings, present their case, and influence the outcome of the dispute. Arbitration offers a flexible and efficient alternative to traditional litigation, allowing parties to resolve their disputes in a more collaborative and private manner.

This being said, winning an arbitration does not prevent parties to having to enforce the final award if the losing party does not comply with the tribunal’s directions in its Award. You may read about this possibility in DIFC based arbitrations in a separate publication here.


We hope this publication will help you understand the importance of arbitration proceedings in Dubai  and remain available for any legal and commercial question regarding the UAE.

For more information published in English you can visit all our publications at this link as well as the videos in English of our Partner Maria Rubert.

*The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice. This article is intended to provide an initial introduction to arbitration proceedings in Dubai.