Shearman & Sterling advised Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) on the establishment of the ADGM Arbitration Centre and on its agreement to host the first representative office of the ICC Court of Arbitration in the Middle East.
The ADGM Arbitration Centre will be located on Al Maryah island and will be a full-service dispute resolution centre offering the latest hearing facilities and other dispute resolution services. The Arbitration Centre will also host the first ICC Court representative office in the Middle East, with an ICC Court team on the ground who will be able to accept the registration of new cases.
In 2015, Shearman & Sterling advised ADGM on its establishment as an international financial centre, helping develop ADGM’s world-class legal and regulatory regime to be in line with international standards to provide the sophistication and certainty found in the world’s top financial centres. The firm also advised ADGM on the drafting of the Arbitration Regulations 2015, which are now widely regarded as the most modern, pro-arbitration laws in the MENA region.
Alex Bevan, partner in Shearman & Sterling’s International Arbitration Group and head of the firm’s Abu Dhabi office, said: “This has been a very exciting project for us. With the Regulations, the starting point was the UNCITRAL Model Law, but the ADGM Board wanted to implement a series of enhancements to suit regional users. We sought to maximise party autonomy and control, ensure finality and neutrality, and also tailor the Regulations to the needs of the regional business community. The result is one of the most progressive and fit-for-purpose arbitration laws around.”
With the establishment of the Arbitration Centre, ADGM is now without doubt a leading arbitral venue in the Middle East. “It was a natural choice for the ICC Court to establish an office here,” Bevan said. “The ICC Court is a leading global arbitration institution, and already has a very significant market share of regional arbitrations, and so it is the perfect fit for ADGM. That said, ADGM can of course be chosen as a seat for any type of arbitration, institutional or ad hoc.”