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Move over London & Paris, Doha new seat of biz row resolution.

In something of a paradigm change, commercial disputes, including those with an international element, can now be resolved locally in Qatar instead of in the traditional venues of London, Paris or New York.

According to the president of the Civil and Commercial Court of Qatar Financial Centre, Lord Woolf, dispute resolution at the QFC court will help businesses in the region save money as well as time and benefit from the services of world-class judges and facilities.

Lord Woolf said this while addressing a roundtable discussion on the nature of dispute resolution in Qatar at the Commercial Bank Plaza on Monday.

Others who participated in the discussion included Qatar Businessmen Association (QBA) Deputy Chairman Hussein al Fardan, QBA Secretary-General, Issa Abu Issa, QBA members, Ibrahim al Jaidah and Abdulhameed al Mustafawi.

The court, which was established in 2007, passed the first judgment in June 2009.

The court will also encourage mediation at its purpose-built Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre, which is designed to handle complex arbitrations and mediations, including those with an international element.

This may act as catalyst for business development in Qatar and attract foreign business.

''The Civil and Commercial Court is a Qatari court and its services are not restricted only to QFC tenants,'' said Lord Woolf.

He emphasised that the court has systems and procedures in place to make it match the most cost and time-efficient venues for dispute resolution in the world.

Answering a question about the role of the court in the presence of Qatar Arbitration Court at the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lord Woolf said, ''I am sure there are many local disputes that can be handled better by national courts but the court I am presiding over is a specialised one with experts and competent judges able to provide specialised services of international standard.'' QBA Secretary General Issa Abu Issa said that with this court around, more foreign investment could be drawn to Qatar.

''Major foreign investors study first the political stability and legal system in a country before establishing businesses.

If those investors are certain there is a system to protect them and resolve any future disputes, they will be encouraged to invest in the country,'' said Abu Issa.

Hussein Ibrahim al Fardan said: "We hope that the QFC Civil and Commercial Court will act as a catalyst for business development in Qatar with its time and cost-efficient procedures and a range of high-quality legal services that would comply with the local and international legal standards.

In this respect, the court and the QBA share very similar objectives, as the goal of the QBA is to create a diversified, sustainable and resilient economy.

In his concluding remarks, Lord Woolf said: "Meeting with the business leaders of Qatar and hearing their views on dispute resolution today is a worthwhile experience.

The feedback I have received will be valuable in terms of how the QFC Civil and Commercial Court can serve the business needs of Qatar to the best of its ability."

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Nov 2, 2010
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