Qatar – Update: The Qatar Court of cassation applies the New York Convention

We recently reported on a judgment of the Qatar Court of Cassation, wherein the Court applied the 1958 New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards to reinstate an ICC award rendered in Doha, which has not been issued in the name of this Highness the Emir of Qatar (see our previous post here).

At the time, as mentioned, we had not had access to the decision. We have been able to obtain an extract of this decision, rendered on 25 March 2014.

The Court of appeal’s decision was challenged before the Court of Cassation on the following grounds:

  • The judgment of the Qatar Court of First Instance, upheld by the Court of appeal, is in breach of the Qatari law and its application;
  • The sole arbitrator appointed by the ICC in Paris, has applied its laws and has issued the award in its valid form according to these laws;
  • The New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, which was ratified by the Qatar, should be applied;
  • The New York Convention does not provide that “the award should take the form of the state judgments on which territory arbitration is conducted but it is a condition required only when the enforcement is ordered”;
  • National procedural law may be applicable only at the enforcement phase of the foreign award.

The Qatari Court of Cassation agreed with these arguments and held that:

  • The award was rendered in accordance with the ICC arbitration rules;
  • Qatar adhered to the New York Convention by virtue of the Decree 29/2003 and entered into effect in Qatar on 15 March 2003;
  • According to Articles I and III  of the New York Convention, “each signatory state should recognize and enforce the foreign arbitral awards according to its national or internal rules of procedure”;
  • The Convention does not provide any requirements regarding the form of the award or its elements;
  • Any foreign award is subject to the Qatari procedural law at its enforcement phase only.

This judgment is welcomed as it puts an end to the debate created by the last decisions: the Qatar Court of Cassation has now recognized, without ambiguity, that the New York Convention is part of Qatari Law, abiding therefore by the usage in international arbitration.

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