The Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre’s (the “QICDRC”) website describes the Qatar International Court (the “QIC”) as “a specialist civil and commercial court, comprising some of the most talented members of the judiciary in the world from a range of common law and civil jurisdictions”.
Ever since its inception in 2009, there has been ambiguity in regards to the physical boundaries of, and how the issue of enforcement applies to, the QIC. The QIC’s Regulations and Procedural Rules address enforcement in Article 34, whereby Article 34.1 states the following:
“Any judgement or order of the Court is a judgement or order of the courts of Qatar and capable of enforcement and execution by the courts of Qatar as would be a judgement or order of any other Qatari court.”
In Case No 6 of 2016, a Qatar Financial Center registered company was a claimant in a QR 2,752,000 dishonoured cheque case. On 4 August 2016, the QFC First Instance Court, composed of the following panel; Justices Al Sayed, Kirkham and Robertson, issued a summary judgement in favour of the claimant.
Historically, judgements of the QIC were observed and there had not been a circumstance that rendered the need to seek enforcement. In this case, however, the Claimant filed an application to enforce the judgement in September of 2016.
Enforcement Judge Rashid Al Badr accepted the application and ordered to freeze (up to the judgement debt value) the bank accounts of the Defendant and direct the frozen sums, for the benefit of the Claimant, to the Court’s Trust Account.
Moreover, an order was addressed to the Qatar Central Bank, directing that all banks operating in the State of Qatar freeze and transfer available funds of the Defendant to the Court’s Trust Account accordingly.
This has had a momentous impact on the ambiguity of enforcement of the QIC. The provisions of Article 34 of the QIC’s Regulations and Procedural Rules have been put into practice and realized. Parties looking to resolve their disputes via the QIC can be assured that a QIC judgement is enforceable.