According to an article by Michael Peel and Simeon Kerr in FINANCIAL TIMES (Thursday, November 3, 2011, page 11 with the title: ”Dubai courts legal riches”) Dubai is trying to create another international arbitration centre next to well-known locations and arbitration courts in Stockholm, Switzerland, Paris and other.
The unusual approach is that Dubai opens its existing international financial court even for conflicts, having no connection with Dubai itself. This way to attract international cases for litigation in the United Arab Emirates may look like an intriguing way to make money to cover the huge deficit of the Dubai International Financial Court (DIFC). Other see a new global legal dispute resolving center arising next to Qatar, which opened its first international arbitration case already in October 2011.
Evidently the geographic position between Europe and Asia and the wide-spread use of contracts written in English in the modern business world and the decision taking by experienced former English judges in Dubai and Qatar are decisive factors that may make a success story out of this experiment.
Offered is classic litigation next to arbitration and mediation, any kind of currently popular conflict resolution mechanism. Qatar provides a specialist forum for construction disputes, resembling the specialized court for construction cases in London.
However there is one other especially interesting fact I want to direct the attention of the interested public to.
A former UK civil servant Mr. Musgrove is quoted as saying: “The concept is very, very Arabic: the mediation of the majilis (meeting)- but bringing western skills in dispute resolution”.
The world “majilis” is here used in the meaning of „meeting“. Majilis” in Kazakhstan is the name for the lower chamber of Parliament in Kazakhstan, as another meeting place.
It seems to be a general term in Arabic and Turkish languages for an assembly, where problems are discussed resp. solved and where decisions are taken.
The point I am heading too is the following: There seems to be an old (Arabic, resp. Islamic) tradition of resolving disputes by sitting together and discussing the matter and trying in this way to find a for both sides satisfying solution, which is accepted mutually and therefore has a high chance to be followed and executed voluntarily. In this case the probability of need for execution by force, means by state organs or private bailiffs is low.
This virtue was lost in highly developed western legal societies relying and referring too much exclusively on resolving disputes by courts as a state service and a state monopoly, by this way incapacitate the citizen.
In contrast to the high virtues of economic independent and autonomous citizen, regulating their (property) affairs themselves without state interference (“Privatautonomie”), in the area of litigation, of legal conflict resolution, this virtue got lost totally, by everyone comfortably and lazy relying just on the judge, on the state judicial system, to find the resolution for one’s own conflict.
Certainly is a judiciary system provided by the state a high cultural gain compared to archaic systems, where opponents had to find a solution for their conflicts on their own. However a lot of virtues and skills to manage one’s own conflicts got lost in highly developed western legal systems.
It needed mediation to rediscover personal liability for solving one’s own conflicts in a flexible, intelligent way, understanding the conflict in his full complexity and not just as a claim according to a certain paragraph of the law.
By this way the combination with traditional Arabic or Islamic dispute resolution mechanisms , by calling the parties together and talking about the problem, eventually with the help of an wise old person, who might be a judge as well, with modern mediation and arbitration techniques, may become a success story and Dubai might emerge indeed as new “global legal center”, as the authors of the quoted article formulate it.
Layer and Mediator Fritz W. Digmayer, Berlin-Moscow, who worked as Deputy Team Leader in the EU Project “Support to Judicial and Legal Reform in the Republic of Kazakhstan “ 2010- 2011 in Astana.