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The Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration opens ‘SCCA Dubai’

November 2022
Claire Miller, Jeremy Russell and Ilham Adan

In line with its goals to establish KSA as a global arbitration hub, and more broadly, to further the efforts of KSA to appeal to international parties conducting business in the Kingdom in line with the Vision 2030 initiative, the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (“SCCA”) has opened an office offering integrated arbitration facilities, including a hall that can be used by parties for arbitration and mediation proceedings, in the DIFC, Dubai, it was announced today.

The SCCA looks to have stepped into the void created by the unexpected abolishment of the DIFC-LCIA Centre last year in order to position itself as a regional leader offering ADR services in the Middle East. In the last two years the SCCA has been very active in the region and made significant efforts to re-assure the business and legal communities of KSA’s commitment to arbitration and the SCCA’s commitment to utilise industry best practice. Today’s announcement, which coincides with the beginning of Dubai Arbitration Week, follows on from its 2021 symposium in Dubai in which it provided an in-depth analysis of Saudi Arabia’s recent legislative, judicial and ADR reforms and developments. It also launched the SCCA Arbitration Caselaw Report 2021 in which it highlighted the low nullification percentage of awards in the Kingdom, with the hope of giving greater confidence to parties on the enforceability of arbitral awards in KSA.

The SCCA’s expansion into Dubai is attributable to its growing caseload, which is testament to the trust and confidence regional and international businesses are beginning to place in the arbitration landscape in the Kingdom. This step will no doubt further enhance the SCCA’s international reputation.

In terms of more practical aspects associated with the opening of the new SCCA Dubai, the SCCA has appointed Ms Fatima Balfaqeeh, an Emirati citizen with a 20-year career in arbitration in the region, as Director. It has also assigned qualified technical SCCA staff to the UAE to facilitate management of the case load.

We see this as the SCCA continuing to make good on its commitment to arbitration in the region and its expansion into Dubai further signals Saudi Arabia’s efforts to legitimise itself as a reputable ADR offering in the Middle East.

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