UAE Introduces Changes to the UAE Arbitration Law

On 16 September 2023, UAE Federal Decree–Law No. 15 of 2023 Amending Certain Provisions of Federal Law No. 6 of 2018 on Arbitration (the “Amendment”) came into force.

The amendments are technical and are aimed at further improvement and modernisation of the UAE Arbitration Law, for example:

  1. Article 10(1)(c) now explicitly requires an arbitrator not to have a direct connection with any of the parties that would prejudice their impartiality, integrity, or independence.
  2. Article 28(1) allows parties to agree to conduct arbitration and determine its location either to be physically or virtually through modern means of technology or in technical environments, which appears to reflect that remote hearings have now become just as normal as in-person hearings.
  3. Article 28(3) requires arbitral institutions the provide the necessary technical support for remote hearings in accordance with the “necessary technical standards and regulations applicable” in the United Arab Emirates.
  4. Article 33 provides arbitrators with more flexibility with respect to procedure, evidence, and hearings.

Yet, possibly, the most important amendments introduced in the Amendment pertain to the creation of an exception to the prohibition for appointment of arbitrators, who hold positions at the arbitral institutions in question.

Article 10 bis now allows the parties to appoint to a three-member tribunal an arbitrator who holds a position in the arbitral institution administering the case as long as multiple specific requirements are met. These requirements, acting as safeguards, are aimed at avoiding the ostensible conflict of interest where such an arbitrator would be able to influence the issues of arbitrator appointment, dismissal, or removal or secure any other advantage because of their “administrative leverage”.

Crucially, Article 10 bis (2) cautions that if these specific requirements are breached, the award shall become invalid, and the parties may also claim compensation from the arbitral institution and the concerned arbitrator.

For ease of reference, we have created the following comparative table allowing the reader to identify the amendments. The table can be found here – UAE Introduces Changes to the UAE Arbitration Law.

Sergejs is Senior Counsel at the Dispute Resolution department of the Galadari’s Dubai office. Sergejs is a dual-qualified lawyer and admitted as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales and also to practice as an Attorney and Counsellor of Law in the Courts of the State of New York. Sergejs has over 15 years of experience in advising and representing multinational companies and high-net-worth individuals in a wide range of complex institutional (ICC, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA, LMAA, SCC, SCIA, DIAC, GCC CAC) and ad hoc international and domestic arbitration proceedings, and litigation proceedings at DIFC Courts. Sergejs is a registered practitioner with DIFC Courts and ADGM Courts.

Dimitriy is an Associate at the Dispute Resolution department of Galadari’s Dubai office. His practice focuses on complex commercial arbitration, particularly in the IT, engineering and construction, and M&A sectors. Dimitriy has substantial experience in advising and acting for high-net-worth individuals in cross-border disputes, criminal proceedings involving allegations of money laundering, and the European Court of Human Rights.

For more information on UAE Arbitration, please contact Sergejs Dilevka or Dimitriy Mednikov.

Sergejs Dilevka
Senior Counsel
Dimitriy Mednikov