Observers of arbitration in the region have been predicting the passage of the Federal Arbitration Law for a number of years. The publication of the Draft Law is a positive development in that regard although it remains unclear when the Federal Arbitration Law will be passed.
Notwithstanding, this latest release provides those involved in contractual negotiations with fair warning as to the issues that should be given due consideration when drafting arbitration clauses in agreements where the UAE is the seat of arbitration, or where UAE courts could be a forum for enforcement.
- This may also be an issue of translation. There are a number of instances where the English language translation of the Draft Law contains ambiguous or even unclear text. For instance, there is repeated reference to the word “apology” which seems to be a reference to “defending” or “responding” materials (see Articles 33 and 34). Under UAE law the Arabic version of legislation is the official version that will be relied upon if there is any debate as to interpretation.