Skip to main content

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
International Arbitration Insights<br />

International Arbitration Insights

New arbitration institution, arbitrateAD, launches in Abu Dhabi

Following an announcement by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in December 2023 that the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC) would be shut down in early 2024 and replaced with the Abu Dhabi International Arbitration Centre (styled as arbitrateAD), arbitrateAD has now been officially launched.

The arbitration rules of arbitrateAD confirm how arbitrateAD will fit into the existing arbitration landscape of the Emirate. Notably:

(a) arbitrateAD will supersede the previous arbitration institution, the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC), as the main arbitration institution in 'onshore' Abu Dhabi. Parties that previously chose to apply the ADCCAC rules to their arbitration, will now be taken as having chosen to apply the new arbitrateAD rules (provided that proceedings have not already been commenced under the ADCCAC rules).

(b) arbitrateAD will sit alongside the ICC case management office in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) (the 'offshore' common law jurisdiction within Abu Dhabi). The ADGM itself also offers a framework and facilities for an ADGM-seated arbitration in conjunction with an arbitration institution and rules of the parties' choosing.

Interestingly, the arbitrateAD rules provide for a default seat of the ADGM. The ADGM has implemented modern, pro-arbitration regulations supporting ADGM-seated arbitrations and an ADGM-seated award should be enforceable outside of the UAE (pursuant to the various international reciprocal enforcement treaties to which the UAE is a party, including the New York Convention, Riyadh Convention and GCC Convention).

Some notable features of the arbitrateAD rules – which are likely to be more familiar to international parties than the previous ADCCAC Rules - include:

(a) the power to dismiss a case early where a case is manifestly without legal merit, inadmissible or outside of the tribunal's jurisdiction;

(b) provisions requiring issuance of an award within nine months from the initial CMC, unless otherwise ordered by the arbitrateAD Court upon agreement of the parties or when requested by the tribunal;

(c) joinder and consolidation provisions;

(d) an emergency arbitrator provision;

(e) expedited arbitration provisions for disputes of less than AED 9 million in value; and

(f) provisions requiring disclosure of third party funding.

Members of the arbitrateAD Court have also been recently appointed, including Maria Chedid of law firm Arnold and Porter as President and other notable practitioners including Hassan Arab (Al Tamimi & Co.), Lord Peter Goldsmith (Debevoise & Plimpton and former Attorney General of England and Wales), Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Doughty Street Chambers and former judge and vice president of the International Court of Justice) and Michael Schneider (Lalive). Overall, nearly half (seven out of 15) of the Court's members are women.

The addition of arbitrateAD to the UAE's arbitration landscape is the latest of many recent developments for arbitration in the region. The UAE has taken various other steps towards increasing recognition and modernisation of arbitration within recent years including the introduction in 2018 of a new UAE Federal Arbitration Law and, in 2022, the consolidation of the DIFC-LCIA and the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre into Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) and updated rules for DIAC.

arbitrateAD will naturally appeal to contracting parties that would otherwise have chosen the ADCCAC rules of arbitration but the rejuvenation of the centre and modernisation of the Rules is also likely to encourage parties that would otherwise have opted to apply more internationally-recognised arbitration rules, such as LCIA or ICC, to opt for arbitration subject to the arbitrateAD rules.

We look forward to monitoring the progression of arbitrateAD as it starts to grow its caseload.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Share via email
Back to top