(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has settled commercial disputes amounting to Dh17 million this year and this trend has been fuelled by the rising demand for settling commercial disputes through mediation by the business community due to its low cost, speed, confidentiality and control over the outcome, the Dubai Chamber's director for Legal Services Department Jehad Kazim told Khaleej Times during an interview.
Talking about the first-of its-kind fully-online mediation application service in the region launched by the Dubai Chamber, Kazim added that this unique online facility offers added value service to the Dubai Chamber's customers through a simple, fast and user-friendly method which saves them considerable efforts as regards to travel time and cost in settling commercial disputes.
She further stated that 20-25 per cent of the total mediation cases were received online and looking into its popularity there are plans to transform this service into smart services to complement Dubai's Smart Government initiative offering smart services to everyone while keeping pace with the economic growth and development of the emirate. Excerpts from the interview:
How would you sum up the importance of mediation for the settlement of trade disputes?
The exorbitant rise in commercial transactions spread across various economic sectors in the emirate has given way to an increase in commercial disputes. The search for an alternative means of settling commercial disputes ended in mediation which has become a favourite and an effective means to resolving these cases amicably outside the court as compared to adversarial methods such as litigation and arbitration. The advantages associated with mediation is manifold as this is not only simple, fast and cost-saving but also offers a win-win situation for all parties involved and helps maintain cordial business relationship in the long run.
How many mediation cases has the Dubai Chamber received this year? What is their value and the success rate of settlement?
From January to October this year, the Dubai Chamber received 330 mediation cases and 180 cases were settled during the same period. The value of mediation cases settled by the Dubai Chamber in the current year amounted to Dh17 million, which clearly shows the importance of mediation in settling commercial disputes quickly and efficiently.
Which sectors witness more trade disputes and opt for mediation to settle them?
The Dubai Chamber's Legal Services Department receives applications from various economic sectors but more so from the trade sector involving building material supplier firms mainly due to the non-payment of dues.
Can you shed some light on your contract drafting service and its importance for today's companies?
Contracts memorialise many types of relationships, from the most informal to the most complex and competitive. While good contracts can increase profitability and strengthen relationships, poorly-drafted contracts can destroy a business deal and diminish valuable goodwill. The Dubai Chamber launched this service after a thorough study of the market which comprises of a high proportion of foreign investors. This initiative is available to all members and non-members of the Dubai Chamber and aims to help investors establish new companies by offering standard contracts, drafted by experienced legal professionals, for a reasonable price. Contracts can be drafted in English and Arabic depending on the client's need.
Do you expect an increase in the number of mediation cases in the coming year?
Actually, the rising awareness of the business community to the importance of alternative means of settling trade disputes has led to a slight decrease in the number of mediation cases that we receive. This in no way indicates a decline in economic or commercial activities but points at the various options available for businesses to settle their disputes through amicable methods due to the easy availability of such services.
Would you give some details on the online mediation service?
This unique bilingual online service which is the first of its kind in the region is available in English and Arabic and allows applicants to submit their mediation requests and relevant documents followed by payment. They also have the option to track new and previous applications electronically as this valuable feature greatly facilitates the procedures for the settlement of trade disputes through mediation.
What services do you provide to the business community?
The Dubai Chamber offers a range of legal services as part of its efforts to serve the business community while ultimately boosting their trade and contributing to the economic growth of Dubai. In addition to mediation, we provide information regarding local and federal laws, business regulations and rights as well as the new service of drafting commercial contracts. We also regularly organise seminars, workshops and training courses on various legal topics of interest to companies and the business community including consumer and trademark protection, Incoterms, family businesses and other topics to apprise the business community with the various trade legislations, laws and rights prevalent in the country.