As the world continues to globalize at a rapid scale and grow interdependent on the world’s economy from cross-border trade, multiple complications arise resulting from trade relations and solving cross border commercial disputes through the courts is not an efficient procedure due to time restraints and steep costs. Therefore, Abu Dhabi has initiated a commercial arbitration center for the purpose of resolving commercial disputes that provides swift proceedings in a cost-efficient manner. The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) established the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center (ADCCAC) as the first arbitration center in the Middle East to resolve regional and global commercial disputes that are lined within the framework of privacy and confidentiality and established the rules of modern arbitration with the purpose of escalating arbitral awareness within the community.
In 2013, ADCCAC published its amended set rules of arbitration and has provided the nation with modern international arbitration rules that provide consideration to widely-adopted modern strategies regarding arbitration. Their procedures are inspired by the UNCITRAL rules and regulations and provide a judicial ruling to resolve commercial and investment disputes in order to have the best international practice within the region. It has set targets strategically upon itself in order to be the first choice of arbitration institute for national and international corporate entities that are operating in the trade, financial, investment and property industries. It also aims to build an internal system to ensure the quality of arbitration and conciliation techniques.
ADCCAC’s aim is to offer its exceptional services and facilities to the disputing parties to experience the best arbitration process that oversees the implementation of conciliation and arbitration systems that ranges throughout the organizational and administrational services for the parties that are disputing. ADCCAC also provides a list of arbitrators, translators, conciliators and experts from all specializations. The list of services ADCAAC provides are:
Article 5 (1) of the Procedural Regulations of Arbitration by ADCCAC provides the guidelines when making an arbitration request, and states that the claimant must submit a request to the ADCCAC and provide as many relevant copies of documents and supporting materials as possible. Section 2 of Article 5 provides the list that is required to initiate an arbitration request and it should include:
Article 7 sets out the effects of the arbitration agreement and section 1 state that the arbitration clause that is mentioned in a contract will be deemed as independent from the other terms and conditions of the contract, and the clause will be valid in the case of annulment, termination and revocation of a contract and the validity of the clause will not be affected. Section 2 expresses that should there be an objection about the existence of the arbitration clause in a contract, then the Committee may conduct a prima facie review of the documents and determine whether or not they decide to proceed with the arbitration, and inform the parties of the decision.
The guidelines of the procedures are defined in Article 14 which defines the scope of the general provisions and states that the Arbitration panel shall implement the arbitration procedures the way they deem fit and at its own discretion as long as the parties are treated in a fair and appropriate manner, ensuring that each party is given the full opportunity throughout the stages of the proceedings to present their case. There is a clause of transparency in the provision and states in section 3 that all the notes, information, memos and documents that are addressed to the Arbitration Panel shall be sent to the parties simultaneously.
Article 16 (2) stipulates that in the event that the two parties do not agree with the legal rules applied to the issues of the dispute, then the panel will apply the substantive rule of law which they believe has the closest connection with the dispute. In all of the cases, the panel is inclined to decide the dispute that is in accordance with the terms of the contract and consider the applicable commercial custom.
The venue to conduct the arbitration shall be at the discretion of the parties, however, should they fail to agree on a venue then the default place of arbitration shall be in Abu Dhabi, and the Panel will take all arbitration-related issues into consideration as mentioned in Article 17(1).
An arbitral award will be issued at the venue where the arbitration took place. Unless stated otherwise, the language of the arbitration shall be conducted in Arabic stated under Article 18. Should the language of arbitration be Arabic, then arbitration awards should be issued in Arabic, and if the arbitration was conducted in another language, the arbitration awards must be issued in the same language along with a relevant Arabic translation.
Under Article 27, the final arbitration award should be issued within a maximum period of 6 months from the date which the file was received by the Sole Arbitrator or the president of the Arbitration Panel.
Article 31 stipulates the process of ending the arbitral proceeding after a settlement is awarded. The provision states that should the parties reach a settlement to end the dispute, then they may request that the terms of the settlement be submitted to the panel, therefore the Panel shall issue an amicable settlement that will bring the proceedings to an end, and the award will have a binding force upon the parties.
An annual affiliation fee of AED 1,500 dirhams will be collected by ADCCAC for registering as a member of the arbitrators’ roster accredited by the center. If a member fails to make the annual payment by the end of February, he shall lose his membership under Article 35. However, in certain cases, it is up to the discretion of the Center to keep an individual in the member roster even if that individual has failed to renew their annual fees.
The request to register an arbitration case in ADCCAC will be AED 1000 dirhams and is non-refundable even if the request is withdrawn or not pursued. The Arbitrational Panel fees are dependent on the type and nature of the dispute, and if the disputed amount in the claim has not been specified, then the Director shall decide the amount.
The fees should initially be deposited by both the parties before the start of the procedure until the final award is issued that determines which of the parties are obliged to pay the fees and the amount of what is due. If one of the parties failed to pay their share of the fees, then the party with the interest in the arbitration shall bear the payment for the defaulting party’s share by a way of loan.
In the instance that both parties refrain from making the payments, then the Panel may decide to either proceed with the arbitration and then decide which of the parties should bear the arbitrational panel fees, and specify the proportion of the fees or they can decline the arbitration assignment.