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Roundtable Discussion on the Development
and Implementation of Commercial Arbitration in the UAE
 
The Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) organized a discussion roundtable on the development and enforcement of commercial arbitration in the UAE on April 16th , 2008. The event was held at the building of Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) which embraces the Centre and supports all its activities.  
 
The Dubai Chamber also provides all facilities that ensure business sustainability and progress through developing commercial arbitration, raising the legal awareness and disseminating the commercial arbitration concept at a wider level.  
 
The sessions focused on a set of issues facing the UAE in its pursuit to establish the appropriate laws and regulations for commercial arbitration as well as the specialized bodies to organize the arbitration process in the country according to the international standards. For example, the standards included in New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. 
 
This discussion emphasized the importance of arbitration in supporting the economy in the UAE.  Arbitration is considered as a vital element in attracting investments to any country, as investors always study and take into consideration the potential risks that might face their investments and projects
 
The participation in this roundtable discussion attracted a 150 participants of the most prominent experts from judicial bodies in the UAE and other Arab countries, in addition to a team of international professionals specialized in the field of the international commercial arbitration and a number of excellent attorneys and legal advisors .
 
The roundtable discussion was organized by adopting a new approach based on direct interaction between speakers and participants. The session followed the direct dialogue method comprising questions and answers which concentrated on three main topics, namely: The role of UAE judiciary authorities in the development and enforcement of commercial arbitration, the role of lawyers and legal advisors in developing the commercial arbitration sector and discussion of the major practical obstacles facing the arbitration processes in the UAE.
 
During the discussion sessions, the speakers tackled a number of interesting subjects related to the commercial arbitration which would support and assist the local commercial community through facilitating arbitration processes, creating common harmonious environment between the judiciary authorities and arbitration with a view to develop and promote the role of arbitration in the country.
 
The round table was a great chance for all participants to establish an open dialogue and interactive discussion with the speakers who represent a group of the most prominent arbitration experts at the local, regional and international levels and discuss with them the bases of arbitration as well as the major developments in this field and how to apply them.
 
Interpretation in both Arabic and English was available for all topics and discussions raised in the sessions. The main focus of such topics and discussion was the introduction of better methods to implement the new laws in the field of the international commercial arbitration, which we desperately need to create the appropriate atmosphere for commercial arbitration enforcement in the region and to establish and enhance the confidence levels required from the commercial sector.  
 
The discussion circles were opened by His Excellency Eng. Hamad Ghanem Buamim, DCCI Director General, who welcomed the attendants and hoped for them the utmost benefit from their participation. Mr. Buamim emphasized also the significance of arbitration in the state and the necessity of its development.  
 
In his opening speech, Mr. Buamim said that DCCI hosting of this activity is among the objectives which Dubai Chamber believes in and implements. These objectives include representing, supporting and protecting the business community interests, promoting Dubai as a global business city, and creating a business environment at the highest international standards to enable companies to develop and prosper.
 
Mr. Buamim concluded his speech by thanking all prominent speakers, organizers and participants in this seminar for their valuable efforts to make this event distinguished.   
 
His Excellency Mr. Martin Hunter -  the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai International Arbitration Centre “DIAC” also participated in the opening speech, expressing his happiness for the development, interest and increased growth witnessed by the commercial arbitration sector in the state. Mr. Hunter also talked about the prompt endeavors made by the Dubai International Arbitration Centre to support and advance the commercial arbitration progress.
 
Subsequently, Dr. Husam Al Talhunni - DIAC Manager, announced the commencement of the discussion circles by inviting speakers in the first circle to the platform and inviting attendants to participate in an open and effective dialogue with speakers. In addition, Dr. Husam emphasized that all participants can raise any questions they wish on the most important controversial issues in this field.
 
The first session focused on the role of UAE judiciary authorities in the commercial arbitration development and hosted prominent figures from the judicial field inside and outside the state. Following are the names of those judges who participated in the first session discussion:
 
Judge Obaid Mohammad Ibrahim- Senior Judiciary Inspector at the UAE Ministry of Justice, Judge Ahamd Al Mullah- Head of Civil Department in Sharja Federal Court of Appeal, Judge Dawoud Abu Shawareb- Chief Justice of Ajman Federal Court of First Instance, Judge Dr. Ali Ibrahim Al Emam- Judge in Dubai Court of Cassation, Judge Dr. Waleed Kanakreiah- Judge in Amman Court of Appeal, Judge Sami Mansouri - Chief Justice of Beirut Court of Appeal and President of the Judicial Studies Institute in Beirut and Judge Marwan Karkaby- Chief Justice of Beirut Court of Appeal.
 
The discussion in this session was managed by Dr. Hussam Al Talhunni. The session also witnessed hot debate tackling several interrelated topics in judiciary and arbitration. Many attendants including lawyers and arbitrators talked about their prior experiences with courts during the enforcement of various arbitral awards. Moreover, views on how judiciary looks at arbitration in the UAE and some other Arab countries such as Jordan, Lebanon...etc were discussed and clarified.
 
The second session focused on the role of attorneys and legal advisors in the enforcement of the commercial arbitration in the state as well as the discussion of the practical obstacles facing arbitration in the state.
 
The attendants’ questions in this session were answered by a group of specialized attorneys in the state. Following are some of them: Mr. Essam Al Tamimi - Manager of Al Tamimi & Company - Advocates and Legal Consultants and a member of DIAC Board of Trustees, Dr. Ibrahim Al Mullah - Manager of the Emirates International Law Center, Mr. Mohamamd Al Suweidi - Manager of Al Suweidi and Company Law Office, and Attorney Mr. Victor Ligenskai - Arbitrator and Attorney in James Berry and Associates- Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The questions raised in the third session tackled the commercial arbitration issues, the mechanisms to develop the commercial arbitration sector at the regional level and the provision of the best services of commercial arbitration as per the highest standards.

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