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Dubai Maritime City Authority to Establish Maritime Arbitration Center

Following the specifications of a law it passed in 2007, the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) will soon complete the regulatory development of the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC), the first center for maritime arbitration in the Middle East. Under the DMCA’s Law No. 11 of 2007, the government agency will establish a maritime arbitration center that meets international arbitration standards, seeking to fill the need for specialized alternative dispute resolution services in the shipping industries of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Maritime shipping makes up a significant portion of the UAE commercial sector, currently comprising between 12 and 15 commercial ports. Dubai’s status as a hub for regional operations and distribution for several international firms has contributed to further growth in the UAE shipping sector, with more than 15 million containers passing through the city’s Jebel Ali port in 2014.
A supporter of arbitration as an effective dispute resolution strategy, the UAE government specifically promotes the practice for solving commercial conflicts in the shipping sector. However, the government will not play a role in the administration of the fully independent Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre, assisting only with support and training as needed.
Based on the 2010 update to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules, the DMCA’s EMAC regulations aim to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of maritime arbitration. While they grant disputing parties the utmost independence in setting up their arbitration proceedings, the new laws set the Dubai International Financial Centre as the default seat for arbitration without a request
for a specific venue. The EMAC regulations also outline rules for multiparty and emergency arbitration, while setting additional guidelines for joinder, electronic arbitration, and fast-track options.
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