The launch of the DIFC | LCIA Arbitration Centre

Inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today announced a joint venture with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) to offer dispute resolution services to all business and commercial sectors, providing a cost-effective and timely alternative to the Courts.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai welcomed this initiative: "The establishment of the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre is part of a strategy to position Dubai as an international arbitration jurisdiction. This is a landmark step for Dubai, reaffirming its status as one of the world's leading business hubs and creating an efficient working environment for local and international companies to prosper."

The joint venture establishes a new centre for the administration of international arbitration and mediation to complement the independent legal and regulatory framework of DIFC. The DIFC - LCIA association will benefit from the reputation of the LCIA as one of the longest-established international institutions for commercial dispute resolution in the world, which will complement DIFC's reputation as the world's fastest growing international financial centre

The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre will be located in the DIFC and will promote the effective resolution of international business disputes through arbitration and mediation world-wide.

The DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre's Arbitration and Mediation rules are a close adaptation of the LCIA Rules, with minor changes to align them with the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre's needs.

The rules are universally applicable and compatible with both civil and common law systems, offering the international business community, international lawyers and arbitrators a comprehensive and modern set of rules and procedures.

The Centre has access to the LCIA's unique database of arbitrators with the widest range of professional qualifications and expertise (legal and non-legal), enabling it to appoint tribunals of the highest caliber.

With the introduction of the DIFC Arbitration Law 2008, the DIFC will offer a legislative platform for comprehensive dispute resolution. The Arbitration Law is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, and covers all stages of the arbitral process, from the arbitration agreement to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

The adaptation of the Model Law makes the DIFC Arbitration Law practical and comprehensible to all arbitration practitioners. The Law also covers all aspects of legislation necessary to accommodate the unique set-up of the DIFC's jurisdiction and legal framework and to overcome any hurdles presented by the region's unique market conditions and dynamics.

Signing the joint venture Agreement on behalf of DIFC, His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC, commented: "The current business environment in the Middle East and North Africa region, where economies are experiencing unprecedented growth, merits a new, dedicated centre for the provision of dispute resolution services. The creation of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre achieves DIFC's aim to be the key source, and sole body, in providing unique and efficient arbitration services as an alternative way of dispute resolution for the business and commercial community in the DIFC, Dubai, the region and internationally."

Signing on behalf of the LCIA, Adrian Winstanley, LCIA Director General, said "The LCIA is delighted to be working with DIFC on this important initiative to provide, within DIFC itself, the efficient, neutral, dependable and cost-effective ADR services for which the LCIA is widely known, for parties doing business in, through and beyond DIFC. This cooperative venture underlines the LCIA's recognition of the important and burgeoning economies of Dubai, and the wider Middle East, within which the LCIA hopes to make a greater contribution to the provision of commercial dispute resolution services and associated information and training programmes".

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