The Middle East, construction and the law

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The construction industry across the Middle East is showing very encouraging signs of sustained recovery from the global economic crisis.

As well as increased activity in the private sector, governments across the region are recognising an urgent need for updated social and economic infrastructure in sectors including health, housing, transport, water/wastewater, hospitality and tourism and energy.

Against this backdrop, this article briefly considers some of the key legal characteristics of the Middle East construction market.

Apart from a few exceptions (such as Saudi Arabia and Oman), Middle Eastern legal systems are founded upon principles of civil law (primarily derived from Egyptian law which, in turn, was heavily influenced by the French legal system) and are therefore codified. In the UAE, for example, the UAE Civil Code has a specific chapter entitled “Muqawala”, which contains provisions governing the relationships between the participants in a construction project…

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