March 5, 2022

Decree No. 34 of 2021 on Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)

Decree No. (34) of 2021 on Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), dissolving Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (“EMAC”) and the Dubai International Financial Centre-London Court of International Arbitration (“DIFC-LCIA”). 

Saher Khan and Swetha Sivaram 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued Decree No. (34) of 2021 (the “Decree”) on the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC). This Decree dissolves EMAC and the DIFC-LCIA and merges all their operations, memberships, and assets into DIAC. The Decree’s aim is to boost Dubai’s efforts to increase the efficiency of Dubai’s dispute resolution mechanisms and continue to enhance Dubai’s status as a global arbitration center, and to foster alternative dispute resolution means in a manner to best serve the business community in Dubai. In order to achieve these aims, the Decree encourages dispute resolution in different languages and promotes entering into Memorandum of Associations with other arbitration centres in the region and share expertise and lists of arbitrators and mediators. In due course, DIAC will also set up a branch in the DIFC in addition to its existing premises onshore.

Current Tribunals and cases under the DIFC and EMAC will continue with interruption under the respective rules, unless the Parties agree otherwise. However, DIAC shall supervise all such cases. DIAC will have to comply with the rules under this Decree within six months of the date of the Decree.

In addition to establishing the objectives of DIAC, the Decree also states the functions, and the organisational structure at the following levels: Board of Directors, a Court of Arbitration, and an Administrative unit of DIAC.

There shall be no more than 9 Board members, including the Chairman and the Vice Chairman and will be highly qualified individuals of various fields including but not limited to dispute resolution. These members will be appointed for a renewable period of 4 years.

The new Arbitration Court will comprise of 13 members, who will convene every 90 days and will include its President and Vice President. DIAC’s Board of Directors will appoint members to this Court, and these will be individuals with local and international arbitration expertise. These members will be appointed for a non-renewable period of 4 years.

It is interesting to note that the Chairman, Board members, members of the Court, arbitral tribunals and members of the administrative body will not face any civil liability while performing their duties and DIAC will be liable for any such acts or omissions.

This publication is not intended to offer legal advice and is solely for informational purposes.