The ‘4th World Conference on International Arbitration’ kicked off on Tuesday under the patronage of Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani.
Being held under the theme ‘Impact of Arbitration on Achieving a Suitable Environment for Investment’, the two-day conference is organised by the Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) at Qatar Chamber (QC) and coincides with the five-year anniversary of issuing the Qatari arbitration law and the issuance of QICCA’s new rules for conciliation and arbitration.
The conference was opened by Minister of Justice HE Masoud bin Mohamed Al Ameri in the presence of QC and QICCA Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani, QC First Vice Chairman Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Tawar Al Kuwari and QICCA Board Member for International Relations Dr Sheikh Thani bin Ali Al Thani, as well as a crowd of senior experts, international arbitrators and lawyers from Qatar and other countries.
Addressing the opening session, the minister of justice said that the conference is of great importance for countries that seek to offer a convenient environment for foreign investments, stressing Qatar’s endeavour to achieve the objectives of sustainable inclusive development.
The minister said that the economic development of countries is a path to a brighter and more productive future, indicating that alternative means of settlement, in particular arbitration, had become one of the most prominent pillars of that process, and one of the most important means of attracting foreign investment.
Underscoring Qatar’s interest in international commercial arbitration, the minister said that it has issued law based on the UNCITRAL Model Law (UNCITRAL) and the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958, noting that Qatar issued Decree No 29 of 2003 ratifying the accession of Qatar to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
The minister said that this conference is in the context of the continuous development and update of the recent international practices in the field of international arbitration, assuring that it emphasised Qatar’s keenness to have an effective national arbitration system that adopts the best international standards in cooperation with all national partners, such as QICCA at Qatar Chamber, whose new rules will be issued soon to join our legislative and judicial systems in the field of international commercial arbitration.
The minister indicated that the administrative unit specialised in arbitration affairs received about 41 arbitral rulings in 2020 and about 43 last year between institutional arbitration and free arbitration with a total value of QR9 billion, noting that QICCA had the largest share of these awards.
He said that Qatar is on foot to develop its legislative, legal, and judicial structure in accordance with the best international standards to achieve the rule of law and sustainable development and to uphold the principles of justice and human rights by promoting community awareness of international commercial arbitration and disseminating its culture.
QC and QICCA Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani, who also spoke on the occasion, confirmed that close relationship between arbitration and investment, stressing the importance of arbitration in achieving the swift settlement of disputes, preventing damage to investments, and disrupting the interests of investors.
He said that arbitration represents an ideal means for settling disputes arising from international contracts, especially in light of the economic openness and the economic diversification strategy adopted by Qatar, assuring that arbitration is considered a speedy, confidential and flexible mechanism that ensures the highest levels of justice.
Sheikh Khalifa said, “The arbitration process mainly contributes to encouraging foreign investments, as it removes the fears of foreign investors about the slow pace of local litigation procedures and offers them a quick settlement of their disputes without causing any damage to their investments.”
Arbitration has become a means of reassurance that protects and guarantees the rights of the investors and preserves its capitals, he said, stressing that the more transparent and clear the arbitration law in the host country for investments, the more attractive the country will be for foreign investments.
The QC chairman also indicated that the Qatar Arbitration Law, which was issued five years ago, instills the principle of arbitration in solving disputes, especially in light of the economic boom witnessed by Qatar, the increasing demand of major international companies to invest in the state, and the existence of major infrastructure projects or those that are related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other promising sectors for investment in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Thani underscoring the role played by QICCA. He pointed out that QICCA’s arbitration rules are included in a lot of contracts that are concluded in the state as a means of disputes settlement in full efficiency and quality.
QICCA has become the first destination for arbitration in Qatar, he said, adding that it issued more than 40 arbitration cases with value of nearly QR2 billion in 2021.