Leading Omani law firm, Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal (AMJ), recently organised an international conference on arbitration law and practice in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce Young Arbitrators forum (ICC YAF). The event, which was hosted by AMJ at the Sheraton Hotel, Muscat, was attended by an audience of over 130, including arbitration experts, academics and practitioners, from Oman, London, Paris and the UAE, as well as in-house counsel and young Omani lawyers and law students from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).
Arbitration as an effective means of resolving commercial disputes has gained in popularity in the GCC and MENA region in recent years. The recent growth in demand has been matched by a surge in the number of arbitration institutions, laws and initiatives set up to promote arbitration in the region. Under the conference theme ‘Revitalising Arbitration in the Middle East’, three panels of international arbitrators and Oman-based practitioners debated the key obstacles to the further development of arbitration in the region. These include the slow pace and often high cost of arbitration, and the lack of professional training to encourage the development of a professional cadre of young lawyers with the necessary skills and qualities to conduct and advise on arbitrations.
Mansoor Jamal Malik, AMJ’s managing partner, in the conference keynote address, identified the absence of a dedicated arbitration centre or training and education opportunities for would-be arbitrators in Oman, and lack of a regulatory framework governing ethics, best practices and standards applicable to arbitrators, as the main challenges for the sector. Solutions proposed by Malik include establishing a centre to promote arbitration, build capacity among practitioners, and to enforce standards. He also proposed that SQU’s law degree syllabus be amended to incorporate arbitration law and practice as a compulsory module.
Senior partner, Dr Said Al Busaidy, in a press interview on the sidelines of the conference, emphasised the historical recognition and usage of arbitration as a well-known and widely used method of settling disputes under Shariah law and the importance of effective arbitration forums in the present day for attracting direct foreign investors and supporting the economic diversification drive in Oman and the wider GCC region.
The conference afforded an excellent opportunity for experts, practitioners, and young Omani lawyers to exchange thoughts and ideas on arbitration as well as to better understand the need for institutional and capacity building and regulation on ethics and standards.
AMJ is a top-tier, globally-rated, commercial law firm and the largest in Oman. In 2016, the firm celebrates 30 years of existence, and involvement in most, ‘first of a kind’ deals and landmark projects that have taken place in Oman and the region. Its resident team of 44 lawyers includes many of Oman’s most senior and experienced practitioners who are recognised as leaders in their fields. They are able to draw on expertise gained in multiple innovative deals over the past 30 years to respond to changing market conditions and evolving commercial and legal needs of corporate and financial institutions as well as government. For more information, visit amjoman.com.
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