Following a series of milestones amid the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Qatar is poised to become a leading arbitration hub, according to an official of Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA).
Sheikh Dr Thani bin Ali al-Thani, QICCA board member for International Relations, said that aside from an Arbitration Law, Qatar has world-class infrastructure and facilities, and legal entities and other institutions that are capable of providing the necessary legal services needed by different sectors.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Sheikh Thani noted that last year QICCA had actively participated in different programmes at the height of the pandemic, and maximised the use of technology in order to adapt to the changes, as well as with the challenges related to the pandemic.
In 2020, Sheikh Thani said, QICCA settled commercial disputes worth QR425mn, and received as many as 27 requests for arbitration, as well as two requests for conciliation cases, on contracts related to the construction, commercial agency, insurance, communications, engineering, real estate brokerage, sales and supply, and financing sectors.
Among other achievements, Sheikh Thani stressed that QICCA was also able to handle arbitration cases and training programmes, and was involved in or organised over 30 events held either in person or online. Several scientific researches by QICCA were also published in Qatar Chamber’s Al Moltaqa magazine.
The QICCA official also emphasised the role of technology in the conduct of remote hearings, which had benefited many companies involved in arbitration and in the resolution of other disputes.
This was reiterated by QICCA general counsel Dr Minas Khatchadourian, who pointed out that remote hearings are effective in resolving legal issues despite the restrictions imposed related to Covid-19.
Khatchadourian noted that the technology being used today to facilitate remote hearings, such as video conferencing, “is now well established, with significant improvements made in terms of functionality to better suit the needs of remote hearings.”
Sheikh Thani also pointed out the importance of cybersecurity in the conduct of remote arbitration hearings, considering that many of these hearings have been held online since the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Sheikh Thani, Qatar has put in place security measures to protect information being transmitted online, and lauded the creation of a national agency for cybersecurity.
He said the Amiri Decision No 1 of 2021 to establish the National Agency for Cybersecurity “is a vital line of defence to protect sensitive data and enhance privacy in all information communicated and exchanged between entities or individuals.”
“Cybersecurity in arbitration is very important because some documents are submitted through email, websites, or similar online portals, hence the need to protect the privacy of the content and information related to the company or party that had sent the information,” Sheikh Thani earlier stated.
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