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Arbitration procedures and practice in UAE

Arbitration has become an increasingly popular form of dispute resolution in the UAE. Recent trends have demonstrated a willingness of parties to the arbitration and to submit a broader range of general dispute matters. when disputes arise between parties from different sectors, a neutral forum is often preferred rather than litigation. UAE has an overview of key practical issues concerning arbitration and any mandatory provisions applicable under local law.

Applicable provisions:

Arbitration rules usually determined by the choice of arbitral institutions. Arbitration has an independent role in resolving disputes as per the jurisdiction and type of dispute. It is generally left to the arbitrators to determine the process to be followed and the merits of the dispute. Arbitrators are comprised of different nationalities, which adds to the neutrality of the process and the decision.

Advantages of an arbitration;

Some advantages of arbitration are:

  • The proceedings are confidential
  • Arbitrators with the requisite expertise can be appointed to deal with disputes involving technical matters.
  • Arbitrations can be conducted in English, or in any other language agreed to by the parties.
  • Oral evidence is permitted in arbitration.

 Validation of arbitration agreement:

Following provisions must be satisfied before enforcing an arbitration agreement:

  • The arbitration agreement must be in writing.
  • Subject matter to the dispute must be specified.
  • Legal capacity to resolve the dispute.

Breach of the arbitration agreement:

When either party deliberately ignores the arbitration or jurisdictional clause in agreement amounts to a breach by either party.

Removal of arbitrators

Arbitrators cannot be dismissed, except with the agreement of all parties to the dispute. A competent court can remove an arbitrator if it is proved that the arbitrator deliberately neglected to act in accordance with the arbitration agreement

An application to remove an arbitrator will not be accepted if the arbitral award has been handed down or if the pleadings are closed.

Procedural rules of arbitration;


To the start of arbitral proceedings, the arbitrator must, within the prescribed time after accepting an arbitration, inform the parties of the date and place of the first session fixed for hearing the dispute.

Applicable rules

The parties can decide on the applicable procedural rules in the arbitration agreement. If the arbitration agreement is silent, the parties decide on the applicable procedural rules in the terms of reference of the proceedings.

Default rules

If the parties cannot agree on the procedural rules, the arbitrator must decide on the applicable rules, provided that the selected rules meet the minimum requirements of the Civil Procedure Code.

Evidence and disclosure;

An arbitrator can order for a disclose or attendance of witnesses only with the approval of the court.

The arbitrator may request for:

  • Disclosure of documents and taking of evidence.
  • Attendance of experts.
  • Witness testimony and hearings.

Parties are not intended to disclose any evidence which is harmful to the case unless ordered by the court

Remedies available;

The arbitral tribunal can issue any orders, or take other interim measures only if the competent court grants the permission for such award.

The tribunal may award:

  • Damages
  • Injunctions
  • Costs
  • Interest

Challenging an arbitral award

The parties can apply for the invalidation on the following grounds:

  • Absences of an arbitration agreement between parties.
  • An arbitrator has not been appointed in accordance with the provisions of law;
  • The arbitrator was not authorized to deliver an award.
  • Arbitration proceedings did not satisfy the legal requirements.
  • Justice awarded was not fair and impartial.


HHS lawyers and legal consultants hold the best team of lawyers in the country that serves with a practical and personal approach towards clients. We have professional experience in handling the cases related to arbitration and have been result-oriented towards our clients by use of our winning strategies. Contact us for further consultation.

Hazim Darwish

Hazim Darwish, is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.