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Qatar: New Arbitration Law Passed

(June 5, 2017) On March 13, 2017, Qatar passed Law No. 2 of 2017 on rules of arbitration.  The new Law is based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law, which is designed to assist countries in reforming their domestic arbitration laws in the field of international commercial arbitration.  Law No. 2 of 2017 repeals articles 190-210 regulating civil procedures on arbitration in Qatar’s Code of Civil and Commercial Procedures.  (Law No. 2 of 2017, 3 AL JARIDAH AL-RASMYIAH (Mar. 13, 2017), at 3 (in Arabic); UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, U.N. Doc. A/RES/31/98, 15 ILM 701 (1976), UNCITRAL website.)

The new Law requires that arbitrators be appointed from a list of accredited arbitrators held by the Qatar Ministry of Justice.  Any person may be appointed as an arbitrator provided that he or she is of full legal capacity, has a good reputation, and has not been convicted of any crime, including dishonesty or immorality.  (Law No. 2 of 2017, art. 11.)

The Law provides for jurisdiction over disputes that arise both in Qatar and abroad.  (Id. art. 2.)  An arbitral tribunal has the right to grant preliminary orders, including for the preservation of assets and evidence and the prevention of prejudicial actions.  (Id. art. 27(1).)  If the tribunal is not able to carry out those legal measures, the domestic courts will assist the tribunal by authorizing the measures.  (Id. art. 27(2).)

Article 35 sets conditions under which an arbitral award will not be recognized by a court.  Those conditions are:

  • if the provisions of an arbitration agreement are invalid;
  • if one of the parties was not given appropriate notification of the proceedings or was unable to attend the hearing;
  • if the award includes matters outside the scope of the arbitration agreement; or
  • if the establishment of the tribunal did not adhere to the provisions of the Law.  (Id. art. 35.)

Concerning the enforcement of the arbitral award, the Law requires that a tribunal send a written copy of the award to the designated court (a court of first instance), in Arabic or in the original language of the award along with an Arabic translation.  (Id. art. 34.)