New global financial arbitration centre opens in Dubai

February 17th, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, Feb 17 (IANS) As part of its efforts to become a global financial centre, Dubai has opened a new international financial arbitration centre in partnership with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). An agreement was signed here Sunday between the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the LCIA to set up the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre to offer dispute resolution services to all business and commercial sectors.

“The establishment of the DIFC LCIA Arbitration is part of a strategy to position Dubai as an international arbitration jurisdiction,” Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in a statement here after inaugurating the centre.

“This is a landmark step for Dubai, reaffirming its status as one of the world’s leading business hubs and creating an efficient working environment for local international companies to prosper.”

The centre is located at the DIFC here, an onshore hub for global finance, bridging the time gap between the financial centres of Hong Kong and London.

Addressing a press conference here after the inauguration of the centre, LCIA president Jan Paulsson said that this was the first time that the LCIA has entered into such a venture.

“This is the first time in LCIA’s more than a century old history that it has entered into such a venture,” he said.

“It will boost Dubai’s reputation as a 21st century global trading hub blessed as it is with an enviable geographical location.”

Stating that a lot of hard work had gone into the formation of this institution, he said, “The centre will be based in Dubai but with access to the knowhow and supervision of the LCIA and its vastly experienced arbitration agents.”

According to a DIFC statement, the new centre will promote effective resolution of international business disputes through arbitration and mediation worldwide.

The centre’s rules are a close adaptation of the LCIA rules with minor changes to align them with the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre’s needs.

The DIFC Arbitration Law 2008 is based on he UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, and covers all stages of the arbitral process, from the arbitration agreement to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

The law includes a provision aimed at ensuring that awards made within the jurisdiction of the DIFC are enforced by the Dubai courts without further review of the tribunal’s decision.

The new centre is expected to provide a cost-effective and timely alternative to the courts.

The DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre will operate under a three-tier structure comprising a board of directors, a secretariat and the LCIA Arbitration Court.

The centre’s operations will be overseen by the board of directors, which will include prominent international arbitration practitioners. The board will be principally concerned with the operation and development of the centre’s business.

The secretariat will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of all disputes referred to the arbitration centre.

The LCIA Court will be the final authority for the proper application of the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre’s rules and procedures. Its key functions will include appointing tribunals, determining challenges to arbitrators and controlling costs.

The centre’s facilities are not limited to companies registered with the DIFC but can be availed of by almost all companies across the world.

“The creation of the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre achieves DIFC’s aim to be the key source, and sole body, in providing unique and efficient arbitration services as an alternative way of dispute resolution for the business and commercial community in the DIFC, Dubai, the region and internationally,” DIFC governor Omar Bin Sulaiman said in a statement.

Now ranked as the world’s fastest growing financial centre, DIFC is a 110-acre free zone offering its facilities to several sectors of financial activity including banking services, capital markets, asset management and fund registration, insurance and re-insurance, Islamic finance and professional service providers.

Around 500 firms are registered with the DIFC.

The history of the LCIA can be traced back to 1883, when the Court of Common Council of the City of London set up a committee to draw up proposals for the establishment of a tribunal for the arbitration of trans-national commercial disputes.

The institution was formally inaugurated in 1892 as the London Chamber of Arbitration and in 1981 it was renamed as the London Court of International Arbitration.

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