Advancements in UAE Arbitration Law: A Closer Look at Federal Law No. 15 of 2023

Big news for the United Arab Emirates! The country has made some important changes in how it handles arbitration. Back in September 2023, there were significant updates made with the introduction of Federal Law No. 15 of 2023. These changes directly impacted the Federal Arbitration Law No. 6 of 2018 ("FAL"), building on the adjustments made with the new DIAC Rules introduced the year before. The goal behind these amendments is twofold. The first aim is to fine-tune the rules for appointing arbitrators within the FAL framework. The revisions simultaneously introduce cost-saving measures in an effort to improve the effectiveness of the arbitration procedure.

Significant Modifications Made To This Legislation:

Confidentiality Curtain Widens: The very first and important change concerns the scope of confidentiality. Previously, Article 33 only shielded hearings from public scrutiny. Now, the revamped version extends this cloak of secrecy to encompass the entire arbitral process, aligning the FAL with modern international standards and fostering a more comfortable environment for sensitive disputes.

Documents Take the Spotlight: Say goodbye to lengthy oral proceedings for straightforward claims! The amended Article 33 empowers arbitral tribunals to resolve disputes solely based on documents. This not only expedites the process but also translates into significant cost savings for parties, eliminating the need for travel and witness expenses.

Rules of Evidence: Tribunals are now able to create their own rules of evidence under the amended Article 33, until they don't disrupt public order and the parties haven't agreed otherwise. This clause permits flexible and effective procedures, especially in cases involving legislation with no set guidelines for admissible evidence. However, there is a possible chance that foreign rules of evidence might clash with UAE public policy. To avoid future complications, it's advisable for parties to pre-emptively agree on the applicable rules of evidence before disputes arise.

Appointing Arbitrators: The Amendment Law addresses the important matter of arbitrator appointment in addition to minor procedural changes. The principle of impartiality is strengthened with an entirely new article, 10bis. It prohibits the appointment of arbitrators who have direct connections to any party that could raise doubts about their neutrality. This guarantees fair outcomes for all parties concerned and strengthens the arbitral process's credibility.

Beyond the Words The United Arab Emirates' standing as a preferred forum for international arbitration will be strengthened by these amendments. The focus on efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and ethical standards makes the FAL more attractive to businesses seeking a swift and fair resolution to their disputes. Furthermore, by bringing the UAE into line with international best practices, these modifications promote cooperation and confidence among arbitrators around the world. As we reflect on these changes, one thing stands out: the UAE is dedicated to building a strong and contemporary arbitration framework that meets the changing demands of the global business world. By prioritizing efficiency, transparency, and ethical practices, the UAE is positioning itself as a guiding force in the realm of international arbitration.

Alqada believes in supporting clients on each step during the arbitration process. There are following list of Arbitration's articels you can know more about Arbitration law by visiting these links.

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