This country-specific Q&A provides an overview of the legal framework and key issues surrounding arbitration law in United Arab Emirates (UAE) including arbitration agreements, tribunals, proceedings as well as costs, awards and the hot topics concerning this country at present.
This Q&A is part of the global guide to Arbitration.
For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit http://www.inhouselawyer.co.uk/index.php/practice-areas/arbitration/
What legislation applies to arbitration in your country? Are there any mandatory laws?
There are three distinct arbitral regimes: (1) the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), an offshore financial free zone established in 2004; (2) the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), another offshore financial free zone; and (3) the remainder of the UAE’s seven Emirates, sometimes referred to as ‘onshore’ UAE, which is treated as one jurisdiction for the purposes of arbitration.
The applicable arbitration law in the UAE (outside of the DIFC and ADGM) is found in Articles 203 to 218 of the Federal Civil Procedure Code No 11/1992 (CPC). Other provisions of the CPC may also be relevant to arbitral proceedings (eg, Articles 235 to 238 in relation to the enforcement of foreign judgments and Articles 239 to 243 regarding execution procedures).
Certain provisions of the arbitration chapter of the CPC contain mandatory rules that cannot be derogated from, even with the mutual consent of the parties. These include the requirement to reduce an arbitration agreement to writing, the capacity of the parties to arbitrate, the arbitrability of certain types of disputes, the requirement that the tribunal consist of an uneven number of arbitrators, the independence and impartiality of arbitrators, due process, the inadmissibility of fact or witness testimony unless given under the specific oath set forth in the Federal Law of Evidence, the formalities for rendering awards, and the grounds for the setting aside of arbitral awards.
As an autonomous jurisdiction, the DIFC has its own Arbitration Law No 1 of 2008 (the DIFC Arbitration Law) which is modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law. Mandatory provisions of the DIFC Arbitration Law relate to due process guarantees such as the equal treatment of the parties, providing sufficient notice of hearings in advance, and communicating all pleadings and documents to all parties to the dispute.
In 2015 the ADGM “Arbitration Regulations” were promulgated by the ADGM Board of Directors (the ADGM Arbitration Regulations). The ADGM Arbitration Regulations apply to any ADGM-seated arbitrations, domestic and international, or where the parties select them to govern the procedure of the arbitration. The ADGM Arbitration Regulations are modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law but also draw from the English Arbitration Act 1996. They include certain mandatory requirements that aim to ensure procedural fairness in conducting arbitrations, including that the parties must be treated equally, given sufficient advance notice of any hearings, and equally receive all submissions and documents provided in the proceedings.
Is your country a signatory to the New York Convention? Are there any reservations to the general obligations of the Convention?
The UAE ratified the New York Convention (NYC) in 2006 without any reservations to its general obligations. The NYC applies across the UAE, including within the DIFC and ADGM.
What other arbitration-related treaties and conventions is your country a party to?
In addition to various bilateral treaties for judicial cooperation as well as bilateral investment treaties, the UAE has ratified the following Conventions:
- the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (ratified in 2008);
- the 1965 Washington Convention on the Settlement of Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ratified in 1982);
- the 1983 Riyadh Convention on Judicial Cooperation between States of the Arab League (ratified in 1999); and
- the 1987 Gulf Cooperation Council for the Execution of Judgments, Delegations and Judicial Notifications (ratified in 1996).
Is the law governing international arbitration in your country based on the UNCITRAL Model Law? Are there significant differences between the two?
The arbitration chapter of the CPC is not modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law, and there are some significant differences between the two, especially in respect of the appointment of arbitrators, the power of the tribunal to grant interim relief, witness testimony, the rendering of arbitral awards, the annulment of awards and costs.
Are there any impending plans to reform the arbitration laws in your country?
Since 2008 there have been several initiatives to amend the existing arbitration regime and drafts of a Federal Arbitration Law have been issued for consultation. The most recent indications are that any new law would be based on the Egyptian arbitration law. However, at the time of writing there is no visibility regarding a timetable leading to a new Federal Arbitration Law.
What arbitral institutions (if any) exist in your country?
There are multiple arbitral institutions in the UAE, but the key institutions are the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC), and the Dubai International Financial Centre-London Court of International Arbitration (DIFC-LCIA) Arbitration Centre.
What are the validity requirements for an arbitration agreement under the laws of your country?
Under the CPC, an arbitration agreement must meet certain requirements, namely:
- it must be evidenced in writing;
- the parties must have the legal capacity to dispose of the right in dispute, and if the agreement is executed through an agent, the agent must have specific authority to bind the principal to arbitration;
- the subject matter of the dispute must be arbitrable – according to the CPC a matter is only arbitrable when conciliation is possible, unlike questions of public policy which must be resolved in the national courts; and
- any special formalities must be satisfied, eg arbitration agreements regarding insurance policies must be made separately from the general terms and conditions of the policy.
The DIFC Arbitration Law and ADGM Arbitration Regulations are more in line with international best practice and have few validity requirements.
Are arbitration clauses considered separable from the main contract?
Yes, the doctrine of separability of arbitration clauses is recognised by the UAE courts. While the CPC is silent on this issue, it is established in various decisions of UAE courts that an arbitration clause is not affected by the nullity of the contract in which it is contained. The DIAC and ADCCAC Rules similarly provide for the separability of arbitration agreements, unless the parties agree otherwise.
The DIFC Arbitration Law states in Article 23(1) that an arbitration clause which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an independent agreement. Article 14 of the ADGM Arbitration Regulations also recognises the doctrine of separability and follows the approach of the English Arbitration Act.
Can claims under more than one contract be brought in the one arbitral proceeding? Can an arbitral tribunal with its seat in your country consolidate separate arbitral proceedings under one or more contracts, and, if so, in what circumstances?
The arbitration chapter of the CPC does not address the possibility of consolidating claims under multiple contracts in the same proceeding. Further, the DIAC and ADCCAC Rules do not explicitly deal with consolidation.
The DIFC Arbitration Law is also silent on consolidation of multiple arbitrations. Further, the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Rules currently in force do not provide for consolidation of multiple arbitrations.
The ADGM Arbitration Regulations explicitly allow parties to agree to the consolidation of two or more arbitrations or to holding concurrent hearings. However, a tribunal does not have the power to order consolidation on its own motion or discretion, but only when authorised by the parties.
How is the law applicable to the substance determined?
Priority is given to the parties’ choice of the substantive law applicable to their dispute, failing which the tribunal will determine the applicable law by reference to the appropriate choice of law rules. The tribunal may be guided in this exercise by the provisions of the UAE Civil Code.
As a general rule, tribunals in DIFC-seated arbitrations are required to apply the substantive law selected by the parties. In determining that law, any designation of the law or legal system of a given State or jurisdiction shall be construed, unless otherwise expressed, as directly referring to the substantive law of that State or jurisdiction and not to its conflict of laws rules. Absent any designation or agreement between the parties, the tribunal should apply the law determined by the conflict of laws rules which it considers applicable. In all cases, the tribunal must make determinations in accordance with the terms of the contract and applicable law, and take into account the usages of the trade.
The ADGM Arbitration Law requires the tribunal to decide the dispute in accordance with the law selected by the parties as applicable to the substance of the dispute. Further, any designation of the law or legal system of a given State or jurisdiction shall be construed, unless otherwise expressed, as directly referring to the substantive law of that State or jurisdiction and not to its conflict of laws rules. Where there is no agreement between the parties on the applicable law, the tribunal must decide the dispute in accordance with the rules of law it considers appropriate. In all cases, the tribunal must take into account trade usages.
Are any types of dispute considered non-arbitrable? What is the approach used in determining whether or not a dispute is arbitrable?
The general rule under the CPC is that arbitration is permissible in resolving disputes where “conciliation” is permissible, ie where the power to dispose of the right(s) in dispute rests solely with the concerned private parties, absent a higher or parallel State interest. Therefore, matters in relation to which conciliation is not permissible are non-arbitrable. Such matters are typically those involving public policy considerations. Classifying a matter as pertaining to public policy is within the power of UAE courts in interpreting the law, but there are well-known examples of non-arbitrable matters in the UAE which can provide guidance to parties. Those include:
- matters listed in Article 3 of the UAE Civil Code which pertain to public policy (eg the circulation of wealth, personal status, and rules and foundations upon which the UAE society is founded);
- matters listed in Article 733 of the UAE Civil Code (eg the cancellation of a debt by another debt);
- commercial agency and distributorship disputes;
- criminal matters, including issues of forgery; and
- labour disputes.
An ongoing debate exists concerning the arbitrability of certain types of real estate disputes. In 2012, the Dubai Court of Cassation held that disputes relating to issues of registration of properties in the real estate register in Dubai in the context of off-plan sales of units were non-arbitrable on public policy grounds. Courts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai later clarified that this restriction on arbitrability is limited to disputes relating to the “registration” of real estate property only, not to issues pertaining to parties’ rights under any contract dealing with real estate.
Under the DIFC Arbitration Law, the only disputes that are not arbitrable are disputes relating to employment or consumer contracts for the supply of goods and services (other than residential disputes). Exceptions to the non-arbitrability of such disputes exist where:
- the employee or consumer provides its written consent to submitting the dispute to arbitration after the dispute has arisen;
- the dispute is referred to arbitration by the employee or consumer; or
- the DIFC Court permits the referral to arbitration on the grounds that it is satisfied that the referral to arbitration will not be detrimental to the interests of the employee or consumer.
The ADGM Arbitration Regulations do not set out any matters that are not arbitrable.
In your country, are there any restrictions in the appointment of arbitrators?
Parties must comply with certain requirements under the CPC when selecting arbitrators. The requirements relate to the number of arbitrators which must be uneven, the capacity of arbitrators who must not be minors or otherwise legally incapacitated (eg through being bankrupt or the subject of criminal penalties), the integrity of the arbitrators in the sense that they must be both independent and impartial throughout their appointment. Within those parameters, the parties are at liberty to select any arbitrators they wish.
The DIFC Arbitration Law and ADGM Regulations do not contain any restrictions on the parties’ autonomy to appoint arbitrators beyond the requirement that they be impartial and independent and that they possess any particular qualifications agreed to by the parties.
Are there any default requirements as to the selection of a tribunal?
In an ad hoc arbitration, if the parties have failed to agree on the number or identity of the arbitrators, either party can request a UAE court to appoint the arbitrators (Article 204, CPC). The court’s decision will be final and not subject to appeal (Article 204(2), CPC). In institutional arbitrations, the rules will typically prescribe a default procedure in the event that the method of appointment fails. See, for example, Articles 8.2 and 9 of the DIAC Rules.
Under the DIFC Arbitration Law, where there is no agreement between the parties regarding the appointment procedure, the default procedure under Article 17(3) of the DIFC Arbitration Law applies. This provides that:
- In an arbitration with three arbitrators, each party shall appoint one arbitrator, and the two arbitrators shall appoint a third arbitrator; if a party fails to appoint an arbitrator within thirty days of receipt of a request to do so or the two arbitrators fail to agree on the appointment of the third within thirty days of their appointment, the appointment shall be made, upon request of a party, by the DIFC Court of First Instance.
- In an arbitration with a sole arbitrator, if the parties do not agree on the appointment of such arbitrator within thirty days of one party requesting the other party to do so then the arbitrator shall be appointed by the DIFC Court of First Instance on the request of a party.
In an arbitration with more than two parties, if such parties have not agreed in writing that they represent two separate sides for the formation of the arbitral tribunal, the DIFC Court of First Instance shall appoint the arbitral tribunal without regard to any party’s nomination. In such circumstances, the arbitration agreement shall be treated for all purposes as a written agreement for the DIFC Court of First Instance to appoint the arbitral tribunal.
Can the local courts intervene in the selection of arbitrators? If so, how?
Local courts (being the onshore UAE courts, the DIFC courts or the ADGM courts as applicable) can intervene to assist with the constitution of the tribunal where there has been a failure in the appointment process, as set out immediately above.
Can the appointment of an arbitrator be challenged? Can an arbitrator be disqualified? What is the procedure for such challenge?
Under the CPC, arbitrator appointments can be challenged on the same grounds for recusal and disqualification of judges, namely:
- the existence of a certain disqualifying relationship between the arbitrator and one of the parties;
- conflicting interests with other proceedings;
- arbitrator bias;
- a deliberate failure to comply with the arbitration agreement; or
- a deliberate neglect of the arbitrator’s duties.
Arbitrator challenges are submitted to the curial court, and the court’s decisions are subject to appeal. The DIAC and ADCCAC Rules provide further grounds for arbitrator disqualification.
In the DIFC and the ADGM, a party may only challenge an arbitrator if circumstances exist that give rise to justifiable doubts as to his/her impartiality or independence or if he/she does not possess qualifications agreed by the parties. A party may only challenge an arbitrator it appointed or in whose appointment that party participated for reasons of which such party becomes aware after the appointment. The same provision is found in Article 10.3 of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Rules.
The parties are free to agree on a procedure for challenge. However, absent such agreement, a party wishing to challenge an arbitrator can send a written statement of the reasons for challenge to the tribunal. If the challenge procedure is unsuccessful, the challenging party may request the DIFC Court of First Instance or the ADGM Court of First Instance, as the case may be, to decide on the challenge. The Court’s decision is not subject to any appeal.
Are arbitrators immune from liability?
The CPC does not address arbitrator liability except with regard to instances of unjustifiable resignation, which may constitute a cause of action for damages for the concerned parties. However, the DIAC Arbitration Rules are clear in excluding the liability of arbitrators for acts and omissions in relation to the arbitration. The Dubai courts have recently rejected several claims against arbitrators for alleged procedural misconduct.
Under the DIFC Arbitration Law and ADGM Arbitration Regulations, with the exception of wilful conduct to cause harm, arbitrators, in addition to their agents and employees, enjoy certain immunities from liability. In the DIFC, this immunity does not extend to causes of action arising from an arbitrator’s resignation. No equivalent provision exists under the ADGM Regulations.
Is the principle of competence-competence recognised in your country? What is the approach of local courts towards a party commencing arbitration in apparent breach of an arbitration agreement?
The principle of competence-competence is not expressly addressed in the CPC. Therefore, parties who wish to vest in the tribunal the power to decide on its jurisdiction should either stipulate this power expressly in their arbitration agreement or adopt arbitration rules that recognise the principle. Both the DIAC and ADCCAC Rules recognise such principle.
However, the UAE courts are willing to (and usually do) stay court proceedings commenced in apparent breach of an arbitration agreement, provided that the existence of such agreement is clearly raised by the respondent at the first hearing before such court, failing which, it will be deemed to have waived its right to enforce the arbitration agreement. The ‘first hearing’ has been interpreted as the first time a party appears before the court, even if that party requests nothing more than an adjournment. Therefore, the arbitration agreement should be invoked prior to making any requests or defences before the court at the first hearing.
Both the DIFC Arbitration Law and the ADGM Regulations provide for the tribunal’s power to rule on its own jurisdiction, including on any challenges to the validity or existence of the arbitration agreement. The DIFC Courts should stay proceedings brought in apparent breach of an arbitration agreement. While as yet untested, the same approach can be expected of the ADGM courts.
How are arbitral proceedings commenced in your country? Are there any key provisions under the arbitration laws relating to limitation periods of which the parties should be aware?
Arbitral proceedings are typically commenced by serving a request for arbitration on the respondent directly in ad hoc proceedings, or by way of the relevant arbitration centre in institutional arbitrations. The request for arbitration should satisfy any form requirements of the applicable arbitration rules.
Arbitrations against Dubai governmental entities require the claimant to follow a process of first notifying the Dubai Legal Affairs Department.
Under the DIFC Arbitration Law and the ADGM Arbitration Regulations, unless the parties agree to the contrary, arbitral proceedings commence on the date on which a request for that dispute to be referred to arbitration is received by the respondent.
What is the applicable law (and prevailing practice) where a respondent fails to participate in the arbitration? Can the local courts compel parties to arbitrate? Can they order third parties to participate in arbitration proceedings?
Under the CPC, if either party fails to appear and/or participate in the proceedings, the tribunal may begin and/or resume the proceedings despite the absence of the defaulting party until it renders its award. The DIAC and ADCCAC Arbitration Rules provide similar rules.
The non-participation of respondents is a common problem in onshore UAE arbitrations, with some respondents choosing only to appear in the local courts at the point of ratification.
Both the DIFC Arbitration Law and ADGM Regulations provide that the parties may determine the appropriate procedure to be followed in the event of default. Absent such agreement, both arbitration regimes confer upon tribunals the power to:
- terminate proceedings where a claimant fails to communicate properly its statement of claim;
- continue with the proceedings and proceed to issue an award on the evidence before it where the respondent fails to communicate properly its statement of defence or where a party fails to appear at a hearing or to produce evidence.
In what instances can third parties or non-signatories be bound by an arbitration agreement or award (e.g. by joinder)?
The CPC does not expressly provide for the possibility of third parties or non-signatories being bound by an arbitration agreement or award.
The DIFC Arbitration Law is silent on joinder although the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Rules permit the joinder of one or more third persons upon application of a party and only where the applicant and the third party have consented in writing to the joinder.
Article 36(1) of the ADGM Arbitration Regulations confers the arbitral institution or, in ad hoc arbitration proceedings, the Court of First Instance of the ADGM with the power to order additional parties to be joined to the arbitration in certain circumstances. However, the ADGM Arbitration Regulations are silent in relation to the addition of non-signatories.
What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending the constitution of the tribunal?
The CPC does not expressly provide that an arbitral tribunal has the power to order interim measures. Accordingly, UAE courts have allowed such orders only where the parties have specifically agreed to bestow that power on the tribunal in the arbitration agreement, terms of reference or arbitration rules. Under the DIAC and ADCCAC Rules, the tribunal has the power to order interim or conservatory measures.
UAE courts have broader powers to grant interim relief to the parties in support of arbitral proceedings. For example, UAE courts can issue orders for the preservation of evidence or attachment of assets prior to the commencement or during the course of an arbitral proceeding.
DIFC and ADGM-seated tribunals are authorised to grant interim relief as they may deem necessary. This power extends to including security for costs and orders to preserve goods or evidence. The DIFC Arbitration Law provides that seeking interim relief before or during arbitral proceedings is not incompatible with an arbitration agreement, although this is restricted by Article 25 of the DIFC-LCIA Rules. While the ADGM Regulations include the same statement, Article 29(2) provides that the ADGM Court of First Instance should not intervene unless the tribunal or arbitration institution is not empowered or is unable to act.
Are there particular rules governing evidentiary matters in arbitration? Will the local courts in your jurisdiction play any role in the obtaining of evidence?
There are no particular rules governing evidentiary matters in onshore arbitrations. The DIAC Rules and ADCCAC Rules grant the tribunal the power to decide on the applicable rules of evidence.
Certain evidentiary formalities should be observed. For example, any fact or expert testimony must be sworn in accordance with the specific wording set forth in the UAE Law of Evidence.
Tribunals in DIFC and ADGM-seated arbitrations enjoy wide latitude in assessing the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of evidence, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. The rules of evidence that apply to the DIFC Courts and the ADGM Courts do not extend to DIFC and ADGM arbitrations. Further, the DIFC Arbitration Law and the ADGM Regulations permit tribunals, as well as a party following leave from the tribunal, to seek the assistance of the DIFC Court or ADGM Court in taking evidence, which may grant the request in accordance with its rules on the taking of evidence.
What ethical codes and other professional standards, if any, apply to counsel and arbitrators conducting proceedings in your country?
There are no particular ethical codes or standards that apply to arbitration proceedings in the UAE. The Federal Legal Profession Law is not tailored to foreign legal practitioners or to arbitral proceedings.
The DIFC Code of Best Legal Practice applies to legal consultants practising in the DIFC. In the ADGM, the Chief Justice of Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts has recently passed the ADGM Courts Rules of Conduct 2016, which entered into force on 30 May 2016. Neither apply specifically to arbitration proceedings.
How are the costs of arbitration proceedings estimated and allocated?
The CPC authorises the tribunal to award the fees and arbitration expenses to the losing party. No mention is made of legal costs. The Dubai Court of Cassation has held that the DIAC Arbitration Rules do not authorise a tribunal to order the losing party to bear the legal costs of the winning party. The Court held that tribunals can award legal costs only if the parties have agreed to grant the tribunal such power. Therefore, in DIAC arbitrations, the costs of arbitration will typically include DIAC’s administrative fees, the tribunal’s fees and expenses, as well as tribunal-appointed expert expenses, but may not include legal costs.
Article 38(5) of the DIFC Arbitration Law and Article 50(5) of the ADGM Arbitration Regulations provide a broad list of categories of costs that may be recoverable in DIFC/ADGM-seated arbitrations.
The general practice is to adopt the ordinary rule that costs follow the event, although there can be variations depending on the nature of the dispute, the conduct of the parties and the identity of the tribunal. Conditional and contingency fee arrangements are not permissible in “on-shore” UAE.
Can interest be included on the principal claim and costs incurred?
Arbitrators have the power to order interest in accordance with the rules of the substantive law. The typical rate of interest awarded by tribunals acting under UAE law is 9% or 12% (for merchants) per annum.
There are no restrictions under the DIFC Arbitration Law on awards of interest, regardless of their rates and whether they are simple or compound. The ADGM Arbitration Regulations expressly provide that a tribunal may award simple or compound interest at such rate as it deems appropriate.
Can arbitration proceedings and awards be appealed or challenged in local courts? What are the grounds and procedure?
Arbitral awards are typically challenged during the ratification process by way of defence to enforcement. A recalcitrant party, in addition to contesting enforcement for public policy reasons, may contest an award’s ratification only under the grounds enumerated in Article 216, which are generally limited to challenges connected to the arbitration agreement and the arbitration procedure.
Under the DIFC Arbitration Law the only recourse a party may have against an award is to apply to the DIFC Court to set it aside, which application must be made within three months of issuance of an award. There are limited grounds for making such an application and a Court may consider those grounds alone; it cannot embark upon a review of the merits of an award. The position is largely the same under the ADGM Regulations.
Can the parties waive any rights of appeal or challenge to an award by agreement before the dispute arises (such as in the arbitration clause)?
It is not possible to exclude the right of a party to challenge an onshore award during the ratification phase.
The DIFC Arbitration Law is silent on whether a party may waive its right to challenge an arbitral award. However, under the ADGM Arbitration Regulations, the parties may expressly agree whether in the arbitration agreement or by a subsequent written agreement, to waive their right to bring an action for the setting aside of the award. They may also agree to limit the grounds upon which such an application can be made.
To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?
There is no concept of state immunity per se in the UAE. However, public or private property owned by the UAE or any individual Emirate are immune from seizure. Accordingly, no debt due from the governments in the UAE, their emanations or corporations may be recovered by a legal process by attaching state property– even if the judgment debtor has signed a sovereign immunity waiver, which the courts will likely not enforce on public policy grounds (see article 247 of the CPC).
Are there rules or restrictions on third-party funders in your country?
There are no specific rules or restrictions on third-party funding in the UAE. Third-party funding remains in its infancy in the UAE, although there is growing interest from third-party funders in the UAE.
Is there a concept in your country providing for class-action or group arbitration? If so, are there any limitations to the arbitrability of such claims or requirements that must be met before such claims may be arbitrated?
The CPC, DIFC Arbitration Law and ADGM Arbitration Regulations Law contain no provisions on class-action arbitration or group arbitration.
Is diversity in the choice of arbitrators (e.g. gender, age, origin) actively promoted in your country? If so, how?
Efforts are underway to promote diversity in the selection of arbitrators in the UAE. Many young practitioners often sit as arbitrators in UAE arbitrations and women are increasingly participating as arbitrators in onshore UAE, DIFC and ADGM-seated tribunals.
Is emergency arbitrator relief available in your country? Is this actively used?
Since 2010, the SCC Rules offers rules on emergency arbitration, which can be used to obtain a decision on interim measures before the tribunal is constituted.
The SCC has received approximately two applications a year for an emergency arbitrator. However, during 2016, the SCC has seen an increasing number of applications with nine applications filed already.
Emergency arbitrator relief does not currently form part of any of the rules of the UAE’s arbitral jurisdictions.
Have measures been taken by arbitral institutions in your country to promote transparency in arbitration?
To date, the UAE’s main arbitral institutions have not taken concrete steps to promote transparency in arbitration.
Are efforts being made by arbitration institutions or local courts to impose strict deadlines for the rendering of awards?
The CPC already provides that, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, a tribunal must render its award within six months from the first arbitration session. This is reflected in the DIAC Rules, although in practice the deadline is frequently extended.
Have steps been taken in your country to publish reasoned decisions on arbitrator challenges and provide more insight into the drivers behind arbitrator selection by institutions?
No specific steps have been taken in the UAE in this regard.
Are there arbitral laws or arbitration institutional rules in your country providing for simplified procedures for claims under a certain value?
The three major arbitral institutions in the UAE have not yet provided any special procedures for small claims.