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Dubai announces plans to establish Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre: Do they hold water?

In an ambitious stride to become the leading maritime hub in the Middle East, the Emirate of Dubai is set to establish the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre, which in shorthand will be known as “EMAC”. Plans for the anticipated establishment of the Centre have recently been announced by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

The announcement, which was made on 15 September 2014, comes timely in light of Dubai’s commitment to create an integrated legal framework for the maritime sector following the launch of the Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy (DMSS) by the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) in 2007. The establishment of the EMAC is anticipated to contribut [...]

The DIFC and arbitration: Raising the stakes?

In a recent, worldwide yet unprecedented move, the DIFC Courts have circulated for public consultation a draft Practice Direction (see Practice Direction No. X of 2014 amending Practice Direction No. 2 of 2012 DIFC Courts’ Jurisdiction, electronically accessible on the official website of the DIFC Courts at, which essentially aims to provide for the conversion of a DIFC Court judgment into a DIFC-LCIA arbitration award in order to avoid potential difficulties of enforcement of a DIFC judgment in jurisdictions outside the UAE. This is achieved by creating a system of optional referral to DIFC-LCIA arbitration of “any dispute arising out of or in connection with the enforc [...]

Why Can’t Arbitration Go Faster? The ICDR Brings Expedited to International

Slow Lane
In a case my business had a few years ago, the parties’ contract specified expedited procedures under the AAA’s Commercial Arbitration Rules. Immediately after the request for arbitration had been filed, the case manager of the ICDR, the AAA’s international branch, sent the parties a letter to warn us about this.(1)

She pointed out that the AAA’s expedited procedures were designed for domestic cases of less than USD 75,000, and required the entire proceeding to be concluded within 60 days of the appointment of a sole arbitrator.

Plainly, there was a mismatch with the dispute that had arisen. Our case was international and involved significant issues of fact and law, was for several millio [...]

Damages for damages: If a state court imposes damages on a party in violation of an arbitration agreement, can an arbitral tribunal award damages negating those court-imposed damages?

Co-authored by Georg von Segesser, Benjamin Moss and Aileen Truttmann, Schellenberg Wittmer

An arbitral tribunal’s relationship to state courts remains a complex and often contested topic. A particularly interesting question in this regard is whether a party to arbitral proceedings should be able to seek recovery of damages it was ordered to pay in state court proceedings initiated in breach of the arbitration agreement. Many arbitrators would initially be wary of such a request. But on closer examination, awarding “damages for damages” can be fully appropriate in a number of cases.

Take a situation in which a party (Party A) initiates state court proceedings against another party (Party B) [...]

Damages for breach of the obligation to arbitrate: a step forward of national courts in favour of arbitration?

By Manuela Caccialanza and Alessandro Villani, Linklaters LLP

Another chapter of the never-ending West Tankers saga has recently concluded, seemingly scoring a success as to protection of a party’s right to arbitrate.

On 4 April 2012 the High Court of Justice determined the appeal brought by West Tankers against the arbitration award that had denied the right to claim damages against the party who has brought proceedings in ordinary courts in breach of an arbitration agreement.
More specifically, after being sued by its insurers in the Italian court of Siracusa in spite of the existence of an arbitration clause, West Tankers commenced arbitration proceedings against the same insurers to c [...]

Revision of the WIPO Arbitration Rules

By Philipp Groz and James Menz, Schellenberg Wittmer

In March 2014, the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) presented the revised WIPO Arbitration Rules (“WIPO Rules”) and WIPO Expedited Arbitration Rules. The revised rules will enter into force on 1 June 2014 and apply to all WIPO arbitrations commenced on or after that date. Overall, the revisions are modest. The principal changes introduce concepts adopted recently in revisions of other arbitral rules, such as the 2012 ICC Rules and the 2012 Swiss Rules, albeit in a somewhat conservative manner.

Preparatory Conference

Similarly to the ICC Rules, the new WIPO Rules [...]

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