Optimists will note that arbitration in Dubai has made great progress in the past decade. Thus, the United Arab Emirates acceded to the New York Convention in 2006 and the number of arbitration cases relating to the economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has increased significantly. Pessimists will retort that much of this progress has been overshadowed by a small number of incongruous court decisions disregarding the New York Convention or revealing an overly formalistic approach to arbitration.
The most recent developments in the practice of arbitration in the UAE, addressed in this report, confirm that development is not always linear. It is sometimes a succession of steps forward and steps back. But beyond these ups and downs, observers of arbitration in the UAE should not lose sight of the bigger picture: arbitration in the UAE has made significant progress in a very short period of time. A much awaited and much debated new arbitration legislation, which reportedly has been in preparation for years, would be helpful to consolidate this progress and give the UAE the place it deserves on the global map of international arbitration.Journal of International Arbitration