May 07
1:00 pm - 1:00 pm
CCL Talk: Dispute Resolution in UAE – Common Law Freezones as Centres for International Dispute Resolution

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Dispute Resolution in UAE  – Common Law Freezones as Centres for International Dispute Resolution


Date & Time: May 7, 2024 (Tuesday) 12:00 – 13:00 (HKT)

Revised Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, The University of Hong Kong

(In-person only)


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The UAE is rapidly developing as “hub” for regional and international dispute resolution. An important factor (and one of the innovative features of the UAE legal system) is the presence of “common law” freezones, the DIFC in Dubai and the ADGM in Abu Dhabi. These freezones have their own commercial laws, drawn from a variety of international and common law  sources. The freezones have their own arbitration regimes. They also importantly have their own courts, which operate largely according to the English common model. The DIFC and ADGM Courts have developed into successful examples of New International Commercial Courts, currently handling billions of dollars worth of disputes annually. The presentation will look at the legal structure of the freezones (their laws and their courts). It will look at some key cases and some recent debates in the field of litigation and arbitration in the UAE, the MENA region and beyond. 


David Holloway is a partner in the international disputes team at Al Tamimi and Co, the largest law firm in the MENA region and head of its advocacy unit. He regularly appears as counsel in significant  DIFC and ADGM cases and in international arbitrations and sits as an arbitrator. Before moving to Dubai David spent many years in practice at the English Bar from London chambers and also as an academic in the UK and Hong Kong.


Yun Zhao, Henry Cheng Professor in International Law, is the Associate Dean (Mainland Affairs) at The University of Hong Kong.

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