Ratification and Execution Process of Arbitration Award in UAE

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Arbitral Awards in UAE sets out two stages: Ratification and Execution. This means that Arbitral Award must first be ratified so that it will subsequently enforce in the same way as court judgements issued by UAE courts. However, recent changes have been introduced to pave way of simplifying the process of ratification and enforcement of the Awards govern by UAE laws.

Federal Law No. 6 of 2018 (the “New Arbitration Law”) governs the conduct of arbitration proceeding and the enforcement of arbitration awards in UAE. Under this law, it differentiates domestic and international arbitrations and the distinction between these has an impact on the process and procedure for the execution of the arbitral award.

The provisions of the Arbitration Law shall apply to:

  • Arbitration conducted inside UAE unless parties agreed in writing to abide to the provisions of another arbitration law and provided further that it will not be contrary to public policy and morals.
  • International Commercial Arbitration conducted abroad wherein the parties agreed in writing that UAE Arbitration Law will govern.
  • Arbitration cases and disputes governed by the UAE law, except otherwise expressly excluded by special provisions

Under this new law, the enforcing party may now apply for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in UAE. Summary of the process involved are as follows:

  • Enforcing party shall submit application to the Chief of the Court of Appeals in the Emirate wherein the award is sought to be recognized and enforced. The application must be accompanied by the following documents: original Arbitral Award or certified true copy; copy of the Arbitration Agreement signed by the parties; Certified Arabic translation of the award and copy of the transcript of filing the award with the Court of Appeals.
  • The Court of Appeal is mandated to order recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award within 60 days from the receipt of the application, unless otherwise reasons to nullify the award exist based on the provisions of Article 53.1 of the Arbitration Law. Petition to review the court’s decision on the enforcement of the Award can be filed with the Court of appeal within 30 days.

It is important to note that the new law, however, is not intended to apply to foreign arbitral award therefore it does not affect the enforcement of foreign awards in the UAE. Under Civil Procedure Code, enforcing party to a foreign award in UAE must file a substantive case in the local courts of first instance and the decision of the court of First Instance will be subject to two level: Court of Appeal and Court of Cassation.