24-Oct-2018, Dubai UAE:
Recently the Dubai Courts website was updated to include an option/button titled (on the English version of the website): “Order on petition, arbitration”.
The United Arab Emirates Arbitration Law (Federal Law No. 6 of 2018) came into effect in June of 2018 after being published in the Federal Official Gazette number 630 on the 15th of May, 2018. Since then, the UAE courts have been implementing internal processes – both administrative and technological – to comply with the Arbitration Law. A recent arbitral award obtained by our firm shed light on new web-based options provided for by the Dubai Courts.
Recently the Dubai Courts website was updated to include an option/button titled (on the English version of the website): “Order on petition, arbitration”. The option can be viewed in the Case Registration webpage. The term seems to be literally translated from (ÃãÑ Úáì ÚÑíÖÉ¡ ÊÍßíã); the service is otherwise known generally as a petition/court petition.
The service is listed under the categories of services provided by the Dubai Court of Appeal. This reflects the practical application of Article 55 of the UAE Arbitration Law which states that:
A party looking to enforce an arbitral award shall submit a request for its confirmation and enforcement with the chief justice of the Court [of Appeal].
By way of background, our client is the respondent in a hotel related arbitral proceeding seated in Dubai, subject to United Arab Emirates law, in Arabic, with a sole court-appointed arbitrator. No rules or terms of reference were agreed upon and the arbitrator applied the Civil Procedures Law in lieu. We obtained a favorable award subsequent to which we applied for confirmation of the award.
A court petition in the United Arab Emirates requires the competent judge to issue an order in a procedural sense without the parties having to go through a trial. In issuing such orders the judge acts in an administrative capacity as opposed to a judicial capacity; in Arabic, this capacity is known as “ÕÝÉ æáÇÆíÉ”.
The order issued is both that of confirmation and enforcement simultaneously. Enforcement measures would then be followed up with the Enforcement Judge to commence enforcement procedures.
A court petition is submitted when a party requires the court to issue an order and is – as a general matter – governed by Article 140 of the Civil Procedures Law requiring a party to submit a petition with a request directed to the authorized judge or the circuit director who examines the request/petition and must issue the order the next day.
Notwithstanding Article 140 of the Civil Procedures Law, Article 56(3) of the Arbitration Law provides the competent judge with a sixty-day limit to issue the order.
The UAE judiciary differentiates between what is loosely translated as a procedural time-bar (ãÏÉ ÊäÙíãíÉ) and an obligatory time-bar (ãÏÉ ÌÒÇÆíÉ). The former can be extended, the latter cannot, which in this case poses the risk that the sixty-day limit could be extended.
To submit the court petition request through the Dubai Court web portal, the applicant must append the requisites outlined in Article 55 of the UAE Arbitration Law which are:
- The original award or a certified copy thereof.
- A copy of the Arbitration Agreement.
- An Arabic translation of the arbitral award, attested by a competent authority, if the award is not issued in Arabic.
- A copy of the minutes of deposit of the award in Court.
With respect to Article 55(4), in a practical sense, if the arbitrator was appointed by the court the minutes of deposit are obtained from the court but, as we understand, if the arbitrator was appointed by another competent body (e.g. Dubai International Arbitration Center), that body issues the respective minutes of deposit.