Commercial Arbitration Trends in the United Arab Emirates

In recent years, arbitration has become an increasingly popular method of commercial dispute resolution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While disputing parties have often preferred litigation in the past, the establishment of several arbitration institutions, as well as developments in UAE arbitration procedures and enforcement, have made arbitration a more common choice.

Since 2008, the majority of commercial arbitration cases have stemmed from the UAE’s bourgeoning construction and real estate sectors, but the region’s arbitrators have recently dealt with a broader range of commercial matters from a global client base. This is due in part to the continued growth of organizations such as the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) and the Dubai International Financial Centre-London Court of International Arbitration (DIFC-LCIA). Located within the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the DIAC provides a full range of arbitration services to the international business community, while the DIFC-LCIA represents a partnership between the world’s fastest growing financial center and its longest standing international commercial dispute resolution institution.

In 2006, the UAE joined the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, establishing its commitment to support global arbitration practices and their outcomes. While the country’s arbitration laws currently reside within its Civil Procedure Code, the UAE is working to draft an official commercial arbitration law.