Lord Woolf, William Blair QC to launch Qatar’s commercial court

Lord Woolf and Tony Blair’s brother William Blair QC are flying in to Qatar to launch the country’s first civil and commercial court as part of its drive to become one of the world’s most prominent financial centres.

Woolf, the former UK Chief Justice, has been appointed president of the court, while former managing director of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) Blair of 3 Verulam Buildings becomes chairman of the Qatar regulatory tribunal.

Dubai-based Alec Emmerson, a disputes consultant at Clyde & Co, said: “In order to attract global businesses and maximise [Qatar’s] importance as a financial centre, it’s necessary to have a court with a common law system that businesses can trust.”

The court has been launched after the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) court in April appointed former UK High Court judge Sir Anthony Evans as judge, with former judicial commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore Michael Hwang becoming chief justice.

While the court has been launched, the regulatory framework that will govern proceedings is still a work in progress.

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority will be overseeing the formation of the court, which will be modelled on the Commercial Court in London.

The majority of the core operating principles in Qatar are based on the UK’s FSA rules.