The International Arbitration review – The Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center

Introduction

In this article we are going to review the commercial arbitration court the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center (ADCCAC), located in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi.

The UAE is one of the most comfortable country for doing business in the region. A liberal trade regime and a well-functioning regulatory system attract many foreign companies to do business there.  

Companies from the UAE are actively involved in international trade with traders from Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, in 2017, the trade turnover of agricultural and food products between Ukraine and the UAE amounted to $180 million.

That’s why we can see a gradual increase in the use of the UAE arbitration courts in resolving international commercial disputes.

Clearly, that it is more comfortable for the companies from the UAE to resolve commercial disputes in local arbitration courts, by using the local law. Thus, if you enter into a contract with a company from the UAE, and the contract is prepared by the opposing party, you should carefully review the arbitration clause.

General Information about the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center

ADCCAC is a popular tribune for resolving commercial disputes in the UAE. Our international arbitration firm wants to share of experience we obtained dealing with this arbitration court. We are going to focus on the most significant points you should take into account if you have a case in ADCCAC.

ADCCAC is located in the city of Abu Dhabi. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties in the arbitration clause or other agreement, by default, the place of the hearing the case is the city of Abu Dhabi.

The official website of the arbitration you can find here. You can find the arbitration rules, fees and other information on the website. The arbitration procedure of ADCCAC is quite simple. The rules are written in English.

Arbitration agreement

To be valid, the arbitration agreement shall clearly identify the arbitration court in which the dispute is to be resolved. ADCCAC offer a model international arbitration clause that can be considered as the standard of an arbitration agreement.

Pursuant to the Rules, it is presumed that the arbitration clause is valid. Only if the respondent argues that clause is not valid, the tribunal, in accordance with the article 7 of the Rules, should decide whether the case will be considered in this court or not.

Thus, if you are a defendant, pay attention to the arbitration clause and present your objection in response to the arbitration request. If you want that disputes to be resolved in ADCCAC, use the model clause that can be found on the court’s website.

Arbitration language

By default, the arbitration language of ADCCAC is Arabic. To have another language, it is necessary to agree on this in the international arbitration clause or in a separate agreement.

Representatives

It’s not required to have a license or permit to represent parties in this arbitration. The parties must inform the court and the opposing party about their representatives in writing, indicating the contact details of the representatives.

Confidentiality of the process

The parties shall ensure the confidentiality of the decision, all materials and documents, expert opinions presented in the arbitration process. Evidences, records, etc., have not to be disclosed unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

Stages of the process

Filing an arbitration request

The person initiating the arbitration (claimant) must file a written arbitration request with the court. The request must be accompanied by necessary documents. It is also required to enclose copies of the request with attachments for the respondents.

The arbitration request must contain the following information:

  • names and contact details of each party;
  • reference to the arbitration agreement, which is the basis for the arbitration request;
  • legal relations between the parties related to this dispute;
  • the factual circumstances of the case;
  • the award claimed;
  • the information on the appointment of the arbitrators;
  • the information on the place of the arbitration, language of the arbitration and the governing law.

More detailed information on requirements for the request can be found in Article 5 of the Rules.

Arbitration fees

To submit the claim, it is required to pay a registration fee in the amount of $280. 

Other fees shall be paid by the parties equally. If one of the parties abstains from paying its share of the fees, the party that has an interest in the arbitration shall deposit the defaulting party’s share with the court by way of a loan to that party.

The list of fees you can find in the article 43 of the Rules. For example, if the case is heard by three arbitrators and the amount of the dispute is up to $272,245.00, the fee will be $ 34,030. When the similar dispute is heard by a single arbitrator, the amount of the fee will be $ 13,612.

The answer to the arbitration request

Within 21 days after the receipt of the claim, the respondent should file a response to the claim, with objections and provide evidence confirming these objections.

Requirements for a response to a claim are contained in article 6 of the Rules. The defendant is also entitled to file a counterclaim.

Appointment of Arbitrators

The arbitrators’ appointment is determined by the agreement. The case can be handled either by a sole arbitrator or several. Take into account, the more arbitrators in the case, the more expensive the process for parties.

If the parties cannot agree on the appointment of the arbitrators, the arbitration tribunal independently forms the panel of arbitrators, or appoints a sole arbitrator. In more detail this issue is disclosed in article 9 of the Rules.

A person who is nominated as an arbitrator must, in writing or in other form, report on the acceptance of his nomination, as well as report on facts that may affect his objectivity in the dispute.

If the party believes that the arbitrator cannot objectively resolve the dispute, or the arbitrator is not competent, the party may file a request to change the arbitrator. Evidence must be enclosed to this requirement.

Memorandums

This stage of the process takes place if initially the memorandum was not included in the claim. The memorandum must contain the actual circumstances of the case, as well as evidence. The respondent’s defense memorandum shall include objections and evidence. Again, the memorandum shall be filed if the required information was not included in the arbitration request/response to request.

Case review

The tribunal shall consider the case to the extent stated by the parties in the arbitration request/response, and in parties’ memorandums. After the submission of the memorandum by the claimant and the respondent, the parties cannot amend the claim or make counterclaims, except in the case of obtaining a consent from the court.

Each party bears the burden of proof in relation to the circumstances that are alleged by the party. The arbitration panel has the right to determine what evidence is admissible for the case, as well as to establish other rules regarding evidence.

The arbitration panel may ask the party to provide the necessary documents or other evidence.

If the court decided to schedule an oral hearing, the arbitration panel should inform the parties on this, providing information on the place and time of such hearing.

The Panel may, on its own motion or upon a request made by one of the parties, either order any of the parties, as it deems appropriate, to take a provisional or precautionary measure related to the subject-matter in dispute, such as ordering goods to be entrusted for safekeeping by a third party, or that perishable items be sold and to deposit the price with the court pending the settlement of the dispute. The Panel may request that an adequate guarantee be given.

The above measures can be issued in the form of provisional arbitration awards.

Arbitration award

The panel shall issue the final award within six months from the date the arbitrator/panel received the case. This period may be extended for up to three months on the basis of the court’s own motion, or at the party’s request.

The panel may resolve the part of claims before making the final decision.

The decision shall be made in writing. Separate opinions of the arbitrators shall be attached to the award. If one or more arbitrators refuse to sign the award, the refusal must be mentioned in the award, which is sufficient for the majority of the arbitrators to sign.

The award must contain information such as the place and date of its issuance, the names and addresses of the parties, the names of the arbitrators, the text or summary of the arbitration agreement, a summary of the claims, the objections of the respondent and supporting documents, the court’s conclusions, the decision as to which party bears the arbitration expenses, and signature of arbitrators.

The ward has not to be published, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

After issues the award, the amendments to the award are only allowed in the case of calculation/writing errors. The parties are also entitled within 14 days after receiving the decision to ask the arbitration for an interpretation of any ambiguities occurring in the findings and conclusion of the award.

Appeal

The arbitration award in the UAE cannot be appealed. However, the losing party may sue to invalidate the award.

Enforcement of the arbitration award

The enforcement of the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center’s award is carried out in accordance with the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention).

Key points

Arbitration agreement. If you are a defendant, pay attention to the wording of the international arbitration clause. If the clause is not clear, file objections with the court.

The language of arbitration. By default, the language of the arbitration is Arabic. To choose another language, it is required to have an agreement with an opposing party. It can be an appropriate wording in the arbitration clause or in a separate agreement.

The high cost of the arbitration fee. The fees at the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center is quite high. Think about it before agreeing to this arbitration.

Appeal cannot be filed. According to the UAE legislation, the arbitration award cannot be appealed. However, the arbitration award may be annulled in the court.

If you still have questions regarding the procedure of ADCCAC, fill out the form on our website. The experienced attorney from our international arbitration firm will help you to resolve the dispute in the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center.

Found out more about our international arbitration services here

Read the article “International Commercial Arbitration Guide.”

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