The Power of Mediation King & Wood Mallesons is a new breed of law firm combining local depth with a global platform. Offering a different perspective to commercial thinking and the client experience, 2,700 lawyers across more than 30 international offices are working with our clients every day to understand local challenges and navigate through regional complexity. With access to a global platform, we provide commercial solutions and transforming the way legal services are delivered.
Company: King & Wood Mallesons (MENA) LLP Name: Tim Taylor QC Email: Tim.Taylor@me.kwm.com Web: www.kwm.com/en Address: 303, Ascott Park Place, Shiekh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE. PO Box 24482 Telephone: +971 (0)4 313 1700
Recognised as one of the strongest legal advisors in the UAE, our Dubai office is strategically placed to serve global, regional and local clients. Our clients throughout the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia have benefited from our UAE lawyers’ expertise in Corporate, Commercial, IP & TMT, Dispute Resolution, Real Estate, Construction, Energy, Infrastructure & Projects & Tax. I am a Dispute Resolution Partner, and Solicitor Advocate, at King & Wood Mallesons, based in Dubai. I specialise in international dispute resolution, regulatory investigations, fraud and asset tracing, and public international law. I also regularly sit as a mediator and arbitrator. As a Mediator in order to reach a solution common ground and a will to compromise is essential. Mediation is an important option for parties to at least consider. It facilitates real focus on the commercial aspects of the dispute, and can often result in final settlement, or a narrowing of the issues in dispute, saving very significant costs along the way. In the right circumstances, mediation offers a flexible, cost efficient and swift alternative to litigation and arbitration, and has the major advantage of having the best prospects of maintaining the commercial relationship between the parties. The mediation process is ultimately dependent on the parties’ will to compromise, but I have seen much mediation prove the old axiom “You never know about your bottom line until you see the money on the table”. Mediation is accepted as a process of dispute resolution under Sharia law, and is encouraged by the Courts. There is a long tradition in the region of conciliation, whereby senior well-respected figures are approached to act as intermediaries between parties in dispute. This practice leaves a landscape in which formal processes of conciliation and mediation are expected to continue to grow in the future. In the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, mediation guided by the Court is mandatory in Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) and approximately 90 per cent of applications before SCT are settled in the mediation phase. Otherwise, the DIFC Courts encourage the parties to “consider the use of reconciliation (such as, but not confined to mediation and conciliation) as an alternative means of resolving disputes or particular issues”.
88 Acquisition International - December 2015
In the Dubai Courts, certain claims are mandatorily referred first to the Dubai Centre for Settlement of Amicable Disputes (including claims: of AED 50,000 or less, concerning commonly owned property, and / or where any bank is a party). A notice of settlement is issued if the dispute is settled, otherwise, the matter will be referred to the relevant Court. Further Conciliation and Reconciliation Committees are established as part of the Federal Courts, which facilitate settlement of civil, commercial and labour disputes. There remain challenges to mediation however. Many parties prefer the formal and better established process of litigation and, given that penal costs are not typically awarded in litigation, there can be a reduced incentive upon parties to seek alternatives means of dispute resolution. Furthermore, the absence of the concept of “without prejudice” under UAE law, means parties can be less willing to speak freely in mediation, fearing information divulged will later be revealed to their detriment in Court or arbitral proceedings. KWM prides itself on combining local depth with a global platform, with more than 30 international offices. Our local understanding across the globe means we are well placed to assist clients in international mediation situations, including from a cultural and knowledge perspective. We have well experienced mediators across our network, from London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia and beyond. Our philosophy is: local depth on a global platform. We have real depth in each of the key markets in which we operate, which brings local market and cultural understanding to all of our clients. This insight is invaluable in providing exceptional client service. By offering a different perspective to commercial thinking and the client experience, our aim is to help clients to recognise where they are, where they want to be and where they could be. It’s a simple partnership approach built on a great experience and shared insights. In terms of dispute resolution, in addition to the above my focus is on listening, understanding, and finding solutions, whether those solutions be classic or innovative.