The new Qatari Arbitration Law is a long-anticipated piece of legislation which operates to repeal the handful of Articles (190 to 210) that had been contained within the Civil and Commercial Procedure Code and replaces it with a series of provisions that, by and large, emulate the scheme of the UNCITRAL Model Law. The Arbitration Law is permissive in nature, allowing the Parties freedom to determine the arbitration procedures.
The Arbitration Law provides a comprehensive framework for the arbitration process in Qatar. The Law achieves important reforms in a number of areas. It provides more clarity in relation to the nullification and enforcement of arbitral awards. It also empowers Qatar-seated arbitral tribunals to grant interim measures and preliminary orders. Further, it authorizes the Qatar Court of Appeal or Qatar Financial Centre’s Court of First instance to address all issues under the new Law requiring the assistance of the Qatar courts.
Most importantly, arbitral awards cannot be appealed on questions of fact or law under the new Arbitration Law; a positive development that will provide greater certainty to parties and keep sensitive matters relating to the nature of a dispute out of the local courts. Moreover, it is remarkable that under the Arbitration Law, several provisions have envisaged short and swift time bars for procedures either during the arbitral process or after rendering the award. Finally, the Arbitration Law limits liability for arbitrators in the course of the performance of their duties, save in circumstances of bad faith, collusion or gross negligence.