During the inaugural session of the first Kuwait Arbitration Forum, attended by local, Gulf, and international legal experts, Al- Muqatalat emphasized the significance of arbitration as a swift dispute resolution mechanism for businesses. They also highlighted its vital role in attracting both domestic and foreign investors. Al-Yaqout, founder of Al- Yaqout and Al-Fawzan Legal Group, emphasized the urgent need for Kuwait to enact legislation specifically tailored for commercial arbitration. He argued that the current arbitration law, housed within the Code of Procedures, is outdated and must be revamped to attract increased local and foreign investments to Kuwait.

Furthermore, Al-Yaqout stressed that prospective major investors in Kuwait typically inquire about arbitration mechanisms and procedures before entering the local business landscape, viewing arbitration as a protective measure in case disputes arise. The Kuwait Arbitration Forum, a pioneering initiative in Kuwait, aims to cultivate awareness of arbitration’s importance and facilitate discussions on the latest global developments in arbitration legislation. It is expected to serve as a platform for promoting legal awareness and arbitration culture in Kuwait. Arbitration is characterized by its expediency, confidentiality, and cost-effectiveness.

Annually, around 2,000 cases are resolved through judicial arbitration, with an additional 400 cases being resolved through institutional arbitration. Al-Yaqout is committed to advocating for the passage of an independent arbitration law during the upcoming legislative term in the National Assembly, citing its substantial role in enhancing and advancing the local business environment. Dr. Muhammad Al-Muqata’a, President of the Kuwait International College of Law, emphasized that arbitration offers a swift resolution for corporate disputes and serves as an appealing option for both local and foreign investors, assuaging concerns regarding dispute resolution. He disclosed the launch of a new arbitration center and the establishment of an institutional arbitration association in Kuwait, focusing on developing arbitration rules for institutional practices alongside legislative efforts.

Dr. Mahmoud Hussein, leader of the International Chamber of Arbitration team, emphasized the forum’s role in bolstering arbitration culture in Kuwait. He highlighted that investors often prefer arbitration over public court hearings, attributing this preference to arbitration’s speed in dispute resolution. Dr. Hussein also stressed the necessity of legislation to foster foreign investment, citing the UAE’s success in this regard after issuing arbitration legislation in 2018, which contributed to increased foreign investments. Khaled Al-Suwaifan, Secretary of the Kuwaiti Lawyers Association, underscored the association’s commitment to participating in such forums, recognizing their vital role in promoting arbitration culture in Kuwait. He highlighted that arbitration is a crucial avenue for resolving commercial disputes between investors and other stakeholders.

Deputy General Registrar at the International Arbitration Center in Dubai, Christopher Hedrig, discussed the Middle East’s global significance in promoting arbitration culture. He noted that a significant portion of international trade passes through the Middle East region and emphasized the importance of transparent and equitable arbitration platforms to effectively resolve disputes in commercial and investment sectors. Dr. Ahmed Al-Shorbaji, head of the International Projects and Disputes Department at Al-Yaqout and Al-Fawzan Legal Group, emphasized the need for updated arbitration legislation in Kuwait, as the existing law, located within the Code of Procedures, lags behind global arbitration developments. He stressed that independent legislation is crucial to achieving the required speed in dispute resolution. By Ahmad Fathi

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