International Arbitration in Dubai Courts: Let the Data Speak for Itself
Published 19 February 2020
More than a decade has elapsed since 2006, the year in which the United Arab Emirates acceded to the New York Arbitration Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Since then, Dubai has cemented its place as the Arab epicenter for international arbitration. Although some acknowledge the progress made in the legal landscape, others remain skeptical about the reception of international arbitration awards in Dubai Courts. This paper examines the extent to which the perceived hostility of Dubai Courts towards international arbitration is grounded in empirical data.
This is the first empirical study of its scale on the application of the New York Arbitration Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in Dubai Courts. It answers the following question: How are petitions for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards under the New York Convention received in Dubai Courts? The novelty of this paper lies in its data-driven assessment of the reception of foreign arbitration awards in Dubai Courts. To answer this question, we collected approximately 177,000 Dubai Courts judgments that were filed and heard between January 2010 and August 2018. Within these judgments, we identified petitions for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards under the New York Convention.
Based on this data, we calculate the overall and yearly enforcement rates of foreign arbitral awards in Dubai Courts, and analyze trends related to the reception of international awards in Dubai Courts. Our study reveals evidence supporting the view that Dubai Courts are favorable towards international arbitration, based on their application of the New York Convention to the reception of foreign awards, and examines the intricacies of Dubai Courts jurisprudence on this subject.
This paper will be part of the upcoming TDM Special Issue with other material from the Centre of International Commercial Arbitration Symposium on "Arbitration in Times of Economic Nationalism", American University Washington on 14 November 2019. More information here: www.wcl.american.edu/news-events/events/detail/8028/