Doha, Qatar— The CEO of Qatar International Court & Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) announced yesterday a new partnership agreement between the Court and the Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) that is set to expand the jurisdiction of the Court to cover entities operating under the QFZA. Mr. Al-Sahouti made the announcement during a media roundtable event held yesterday at the Court.
Speaking to journalists during the media roundtable, Mr. Al-Sahouti presented insights about the Court’s journey since establishment in 2009 and discussed the Court’s future development plans in light of the Court’s 10-year anniversary.
The new agreement, which will be signed later this year, exemplifies an unprecedented expansion of the Court’s jurisdiction since its establishment, and further advances its position locally and regionally as a specialised judicial authority.
Al-Sahouti explained that the signing of the new agreement will be indicative of an active market and comes as a testament to the rapid growth witnessed in the local economy in the past several years, both in the private and public sectors.
“The announcement of the new agreement exemplifies the rapid growth of QICDRC in the past ten years and comes as a reflection of the significant increase in the economic activities in Qatar as part of the economic development plans of the Qatar National Vision 2030,” said Mr. Al-Sahouti.
“Amid the evident growth of the Qatari economy, QICDRC’s main mission continues to focus on ensuring an effective and fast delivery of justice and establishing an authoritative legal framework that helps advance Qatar’s reputation as a trustworthy business environment,” added Al-Sahouti.
Al-Sahouti also noted that with the number of the companies registered under the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) reaching an all-time high of 669 companies, with a total assets value exceeding QAR 70 billion, the need for a specialised and authoritative legal environment has become more evident than ever.
Established by QFC Law No. 2 of 2009 to be part QFC’s strategy to attract international business and financial services to Qatar, QICDRC is the State of Qatar's initiative to build a world-class international financial centre in efforts to diversify the local economy in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The Court was designed to have international standards in dispute resolution and provide QFC registered entities with access to an authoritative judicial system that specialises in resolving civil and commercial disputes.
Speaking about the Court’s journey, Mr. Al-Sahouti emphasized that the 10-year milestone is a reminder of the Court’s commitment to developing a unique judicial model.
“QICDRC’s 10-year anniversary is a chance to reiterate our commitment to support QFC’s mission to attract foreign business to the country and Qatar’s economic diversification efforts by providing a specialised judicial system,” he said.
He also added that the founding of QICDRC--and the entity’s continuing growth-- reflects the State of Qatar’s firm commitment to the rule of law and establishing an independent judicial system that adopts international dispute resolution standards in the process of resolving disputes.
“The legal system adopted at QICDRC is a key attraction to international companies and investments that look to expand their work to Qatar and want the assurance of a specialised, foreseeable and efficient legal system that they can resort to in the case of legal disputes,” said Al-Sahouti.
Al-Sahouti added that the Court’s ability to enforce its judgements against entities that are not registered under the QFC gives the model an advantage over similar legal models in the region and ensures an effective delivery of justice.
“As oppose to similar judicial models in the region, QICDRC’s jurisdiction extends to enforcing a judgement against a non-QFC registered entity litigating against a QFC-registered entity beyond the geographical boundaries of the QFC, making QICDRC a distinguished legal model for the entire region.”
QICDRC realised the importance of leveraging technology in enabling a faster and convenient dispute resolution process since the inception of the Court, further distinguishing it from local courts and similar models in the region.
“Our achievements in the past few years show us that QICDRC has mastered the utilisation of the technology and innovation in courtrooms and case management system, and the introduction of the eCourt is a clear testament of that.”
eCourt is the first comprehensive online case management system in the region that allows litigants to initiate, manage, attend hearings and receive cases decisions without the need to physically appear before a jury or attend the court. As an online case management service, eCourt offers its users a convenient, user-centric and secure digital platform to resolve legal disputes free of charge and without time and location limitations.
By utilising the virtual hearing technology employed at QICDRC’s courtroom facilities, the Court was able to hear cases that involve litigants from the blockading countries, overcoming the travel restriction challenge since the start of illegal blockade imposed against the State of Qatar.
The introduction of eCourt, as well as the Court’s participation in several international legal gatherings, embody QICDRC’s efforts to become a global model for justice and position the State of Qatar as a key contributor to promoting the rule of law and independent judiciary.
Commenting on QICDRC’s role in the international realm, Mr. Al-Sahouti said that “QICDRC’s role internationally has further enshrined Qatar’s reputation as an active player in the international legal community and contributed to the enrichment of Qatar’s global image as an advocate for independent judiciary that adopts international standards.”
When asked about how the blockade has impacted the Court judgement, Al-Sahouti ensured that “QICDRC and the judges have been able to look beyond the geopolitical conflict to ensure fairness and impartiality in the judgements.”
Talking about the Court’s new building, Al-Sahouti said that QICDRC’s planned move to its new building at Msherib exemplifies QICDRC’s evolution as a judicial entity, reflects an active economic environment and a prosperous market, and embodies the economic outlooks of Qatar National Vision 2030.
“The planned move to our new home in Msherib in early 2020 signifies the matureness of the Court’s juridical model and paves the way for the vital role that QICDRC will play in supporting Qatar’s economic development from the heart of Qatar’s new economic city.”