The MENA region, mostly governed by civil law regimes, has been plagued by antiquated arbitration laws for quite some time. In spite of this, Dubai is fast growing as a seat of international arbitration and has become a regional hub for arbitration in the MENA region. This is largely due to the creation and implementation of the DIFC free zone in conjunction with the DIFC Courts. The DIFC has become a new beacon for arbitration in the MENA region due to its adoption of the common law DIFC Courts as a supervisory court and due to the DIFC Arbitration Law’s basis on the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law.
Furthermore, the DIFC Courts have appointed a number of judges with extensive background in international arbitration, giving parties immense trust in all arbitration related Court proceedings. This confluence of factors in the DIFC has contributed to a four-fold increase in arbitration-related cases filed in the DIFC Courts from 2013 to 2015. These cases deal with a plethora of arbitration related issues from appointment of arbitrators and interpretation of arbitration agreements to applications for interim measures during arbitration and enforcement of awards upon conclusion. The DIFC Courts can provide parties with support for these and many other arbitration related issues. The DIFC Courts therefore represent an exciting new prospect for parties seeking to arbitrate in the MENA region and around the world.