International Court of Arbitration opens case management office in Abu Dhabi

Out-Law News | 11 Jan 2021 | 3:46 pm | 1 min. read

The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Court) is opening a case management office for the ICC Court Secretariat located in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

The existing activities of the ICC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) representative office, established in ADGM in 2017, will be integrated into the ICC Court’s new case management structure.

The collaboration between the ICC and ADGM will see the two organisations collaborate on promotional activities. Planned initiatives include hosting meetings and conferences in the ADGM.

The centre will also host training and educational programmes aimed at strengthening arbitration and dispute resolution standards in the MENA region, and an internship for United Arab Emirate (UAE) nationals to develop a career path as deputy counsel.

Additionally, the ADGM Arbitration Centre will be made available for ICC arbitrations.

Arbitration expert Mark Raymont of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “This latest move by the ICC to consolidate its presence in the Middle East serves as a timely reminder of the central role that the UAE plays as a dispute resolution hub in the region, and reinforces its position as a leading centre both for practitioners and parties involved in arbitration proceedings.”

The case management centre is scheduled to begin operating in April 2021 and follows the launch of other overseas offices for the ICC Court in Hong Kong, New York, São Paolo and Singapore since 2008.

The ICC said UAE nationals were among the top 10 nationalities involved in ICC-administered arbitrations in both 2018 and 2019. In 2019, over 310 parties engaged in arbitral proceedings under ICC arbitration rules in the MENA region.

ADGM Courts chief executive and registrar Linda Fitz-Alan said the opening of the case management office built on the launch of the ICC’s MENA representative office in 2017.

“The expansion of the ICC Court’s footprint is testament to the increasing attraction of Abu Dhabi as a global destination for international dispute resolution. We are delighted that the ADGM Arbitration Centre will be the home of the ICC Court Secretariat. Its state-of-the-art hearing facilities perfectly complement the growing need for physical, virtual and hybrid hearings, with parties able to utilise technology to connect from all over the world,” Fitz-Alan said.

The launch of the office follows changes to the ADGM dispute resolution framework in the middle of 2020, making it easier for businesses to resolve disputes before courts in the free zone.