Amendment to Dubai International Finance Centre Arbitration Law

The reputation of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as a burgeoning hub for international arbitration was significantly boosted late last month, when the DIFC Authority amended the DIFC Arbitration Law to ensure that it now fully complies with the UAE’s treaty obligations under the New York Convention.

Two decisions of the DIFC Court in 2012 highlighted that the law as previously drafted did not comply with the New York Convention in that it did not contain an express requirement that the DIFC courts stay their own proceedings in favour of a foreign-seated arbitration — even in the face of a valid arbitration clause.

The convention requires member-state courts to dismiss or stay an action, on the request of a party, in respect of matters that fall within the scope of a valid arbitration agreement. Before the amendment, article 13(1) of the law only required the DIFC courts to stay proceedings on the request of a party where an arbitration was seated in the DIFC itself…

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