Enforcement of Arbitral Awards During the Gulf Crisis

Enforcement is one of the major challenges that parties of arbitration might face due to the blockade. In Qatar, the enforcement differs based on the nationally of the award.

As for domestic awards, Article 35 of Qatar’s Arbitration Law sets out the reasons for refusal of recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards which are almost identical to the grounds of annulment of the award.

Concerning the enforcement of arbitral awards in between Qatar and the blockading countries, two scenarios are distinguishable:

  1. An arbitral award issued in a blockading country and enforcement is sought in Qatar:

In principle, an award issued in a blockading country will be enforceable in line with the rules for enforcing any foreign arbitral awards (i.e. awards issued in a blockading country and the parties did not agree to make it subject to the application of Qatari arbitration law), so it will be governed by the New York Convention (especially articles IV and V) as well as the provisions of the Civil and Commercial Procedures (article 379-381). Thus, the new arbitration law shall not apply to this category of awards.

  1. Arbitral award issued in Qatar and sought enforcement in a blockading country

All of the GCC countries have joined the New York Convention for enforcement and recognition of foreign arbitral awards. This should serve as the umbrella for the enforcement of Qatari arbitral awards in those countries.

Moreover, the implementation of arbitral awards rendered in Qatar in courts of a blockading country will be subject to Riyadh Convention of 1983 for Judicial Cooperation. Article 25 of the said convention affords equal treatment for decisions issued by state courts as well as any competent authority of any party. Consequently, the award may also fall within the scope of Riyadh convention.

To learn more, contact the authors:

Sultan M. Al-Abdulla