QATAR: The Court of Cassation applies the New York Convention to reinstate ICC award

We recently reported on the annulment by the Qatari Court of First Instance on 7 December 2013, of an award not rendered in the name of his Highness the Emir of Qatar, even though the tribunal had been seated in Paris.  This decision applied and extended a previous ruling of the Court of Cassation of 12 June 2012 declaring that Qatari procedural law applied not only to judgments but also to arbitral awards and had thus found null and void an award – rendered in Qatar under Qatari law – which had not been issued in the name of his Highness the Emir of Qatar (see our previous post here).

On 13 April 2014, the Qatari Court of Cassation is said to have hopefully reinstated an ICC award, this time rendered in Doha, that was not issued in the name of his Highness the Emir of Qatar, thus coming back on its previous position.

We have not had access to the decision.

However, the Court apparently followed one of the parties’ positions and found that the 1958 New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, to which Qatar acceded in 2002 and which entered into force in 2003, applies to foreign awards.  The Court held that the Convention did not require a foreign award be rendered with the same pre-requisites as a court judgment, i.e., in the name of his Highness the Emir of Qatar and consequently, reinstated the award.

This decision, which proves the Qatari Court of Cassation’s will to abide by the usages in international arbitration, can only be welcomed.

Nevertheless, questions remain unanswered, including the criteria to distinguish between domestic and foreign awards, which are to be clarified.  Hopefully, the Qatari Courts’ next decisions, including concerning the award rendered in Paris annulled by the Qatari Court of First Instance on 7 December 2013, object of our previous post, will provide some answers.

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