The Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre could be described irreverently as a one stop justice shop. Located in purpose build premises in the Qatar Financial Centre in Doha it houses the Qatar International Court (as the Qatar Financial Centre Civil and Commercial Court is now known) and provides facilities for early neutral evaluation, mediation and arbitration as well as litigation.
The Centre's vision is:
"To develop a world class International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre and provide national and international civil and commercial dispute resolution services within Qatar and the Middle East region that are accessible, modern, expeditious, economical and responsive to the needs of global business markets."
Its facilities include multi-channel video and audio-conferencing equipment that enable parties and their counsel to conduct proceedings from anywhere in the world. Its court room in Doha is equipped with computers fitted with touch screen panels for the parties and proceedings are displayed on large TV monitors. Facilities for negotiation, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") are provided in the same building.
I described the court's jurisdiction and organization in my article "Qatar Financial Centre: Civil and Commercial Court Regulations" which appeared on this blog on 28 June 2011, Since that article the court has published an introduction to the court and its procedure ("Additional Procedural Information"), Procedural Rules and an Official Practice Guide.
Art 29.1 of the Regulations provides that "any qualified lawyer who is entitled to appear before the superior courts ......of any ... jurisdiction shall have rights of audience. Since the proceedings are in English and most of the judges cone from the United Kingdom barristers from England and Wales would be well placed to represent parties before that court.
Just I wrote this article I watched the Qatar team proudly march through the Olympic stadium. I was delighted to see women among their number and I extend a particularly warm welcome to them. I hope they enjoy their stay in my country and wish them the best of luck in their competitions. My best wishes to the representatives of the other countries in the region too.
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