The Civil and Commercial Court of the Qatar Financial Centre (‘The Qatar International Court’)
The Civil and Commercial Court of the Qatar Financial Centre (“the Court”) is one of two judicial bodies that make up the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre. The other is the QFC Regulatory Tribunal. The Court was established pursuant to the provisions of QFC Law No 7 of 2005 (as amended).
The Court currently comprises 10 judges from a range of common and civil law jurisdictions, including Qatar, Kuwait, England, Scotland, Singapore, New Zealand and Cyprus.
The Court is headed by a President, currently The Rt. Hon. The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers- a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the first President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Broadly speaking, the Court has jurisdiction over matters relating to the Qatar Financial Centre- a specialist, on-shore, business platform for local and international businesses that seek to establish themselves in Qatar. Areas of work covered by the Court include matters relating to: companies, contracts, data protection, employment, regulation of financial services, immigration, insolvency, securities and trusts.
Appeals lie (with permission) to the Appellate Division of the Court which also hears appeals (again with permission) from the QFC Regulatory Tribunal.
The QFC Regulatory Tribunal is responsible for hearing grievances raised by individuals and corporate bodies against decisions of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, Regulatory Authority and other institutions of the QFC.
The Court has a Registrar who is responsible for the management of cases before the Court. Amongst other things, the Registrar conducts case management hearings, gives procedural directions and determines applications relating to costs following the conclusion of a trial or other hearing.
In April 2017, the jurisdiction of the Court increased following the enactment of Law No 2 of 2017 issuing the Civil and Commercial Arbitration Law. A particular feature of this law is the introduction of the “Competent Court”. In short, parties can select which of two courts they wish to exercise supervisory jurisdiction in relation to arbitrations governed by Qatari law. If parties elect the Court to fulfil this role, it may exercise functions relating to (i) the appointment and removal of arbitrators, (ii) challenges to jurisdiction, (iii) assisting with the taking of evidence, (iv) correcting awards, (v) hearing appeals against awards and (vi) determining challenges in relation to enforcement decisions.
A specialist Enforcement Judge at the Court is responsible for enforcing interim measures, awards and judgments.
The Court promotes the use of information and communications technology through encouraging parties to take advantage of ‘eCourt’, the Court’s new e-Case Management System. Hearings, including trials, may be conducted on the papers or with oral testimony from witnesses and oral submissions from advocates. The Court can operate entirely virtually in appropriate cases with all parties, including the judges, appearing remotely via eCourt.
Judgments of the Court- in English and in Arabic- are published on the Court’s website: www.qicdrc.com.qa