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The new 2022 DIAC Arbitration Rules: the Backbone of a State-of-the-Art International Arbitration Regime

The Dubai International Arbitration Centre (‘DIAC’) has launched the new 2022 Arbitration Rules, cementing its position as one of the world’s leading jurisdictions for dispute resolution and international arbitration.

The new Rules reflect the evolving needs of the global business community and include a framework for efficient dispute resolution, digitization of operations and processes and flexibility for all participating parties. Consistent with the UAE Federal Arbitration Law, which in turn is modelled after the UNCITRAL Model Law, the Rules form the backbone of a state-of-the-art international arbitration regime, reflective of the ambition, energy and drive of the UAE.

The development of the new Rules was achieved by the creation of a taskforce, led by Dr Ahmad Bin Hezeem, Vice Chairman of DIAC & President of the Court of Arbitration, who conducted an extensive benchmarking process, taking into consideration international best practices, as well as the experiences and learnings from major arbitration centres across the world, while introducing modern and progressive new practices, designed to benefit and match the pace of the international business community.

The new age of Arbitration Rules

The new Rules aim to improve the efficiency of arbitration procedures and to ensure that participating parties benefit from a wide range of innovative new provisions and practices, including:

  • Permitting consolidation of multiple arbitrations;
  • Joinder of additional parties;
  • Alternative process for appointing arbitrators;
  • Expedited proceedings; and
  • Exceptional proceedings including appointment of emergency arbitrators and conciliation.

The much-anticipated legal fees are now part of the arbitration costs which could be claimed by the participating parties.

The Rules take effect for any DIAC arbitration filed after 21 March 2022, regardless of the date upon which the agreement to arbitrate was entered into, unless the parties agree otherwise.

Dr Ahmad Bin Hezeem, Vice Chairman of DIAC & President of the Court of Arbitration, which shall act as the supervisory body overseeing the management of cases pending in DIAC, stated:

“The new Rules truly differentiate DIAC from other Arbitration Centres, providing a completely new and evolutionary offering to participating parties. Our goal was to form an Arbitration Centre which can match the strides taken by the evolving international business community, and we have achieved this through the inclusion of innovative and progressive arbitral provisions. The new Rules signify our ambitions to form and deliver a State-of-the-Art International Arbitration regime in Dubai, which will attract parties from all over the world, who seek an unbiased, efficient and robust structure and seat of international arbitration.’

The structure of DIAC is note-worthy. It is the only Arbitration Centre in the world to operate on both mainland and offshore jurisdictions simultaneously and therefore governed by two separate legal systems. Disputes can be filed either through the DIFC Courts, and therefore would be governed by DIFC or common law, or through the Dubai Courts, and would therefore be governed by Dubai and UAE laws and regulations. This unique two-fold system works in harmony, serving the entire business community whilst streamlining processes and efficiencies.

The 2022 DIAC Arbitration Rules highlight the drive and ambition of the “new” DIAC, which took over the rights and obligations of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre (‘DIFC-LCIA’) and the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (‘EMAC’) following their merger by Decree No. 34 of 2021. These developments continue to affirm Dubai’s standing as a leading option for parties in need of an internationally focused and progressive jurisdiction for dispute resolution and international arbitration.

Further details on the new Rules can be found at www.diac.ae.


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