The Middle East's legal framework 

With onshore and offshore jurisdictions, common law and civil law systems and processes, and proceedings in both English and Arabic, the Middle East's legal framework is both unique and challenging. For parties looking to resolve disputes in the region, it can also be overwhelming, presenting an array of possibilities and options. 

The onshore courts, where proceedings are conducted in Arabic, operate a civil law based system. In contrast, the offshore jurisdictions, which include the Dubai International Financial Centre in Dubai, the Abu Dhabi Global Market in Abu Dhabi and the Qatar Financial Centre in Qatar, are free to adopt their own civil and commercial laws and procedures, and to establish their own courts. Proceedings in the offshore courts are conducted in English and a common law based system is operated. 

Arbitrations can be seated in either the onshore or offshore jurisdictions, and can import elements from one or both legal traditions, depending on the circumstances. With arbitration continuing to develop as a dispute resolution mechanism, there are now a number of arbitral institutions established and operating in the region. 

'Dispute resolution in the Middle East' is an interactive tool designed to equip you with a better understanding of the legal framework as it applies to the various stages of onshore and offshore litigation and arbitration – from establishing a Power of Attorney to understanding the costs associated with your dispute. 

Whilst the tool primarily focuses on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), DLA Piper has offices in all six GCC countries and an experienced team of Litigation, Arbitration and Investigations lawyers who are equipped to advise on disputes both in the UAE and more broadly across the Middle East region. 

Return to the Dispute resolution in the Middle East tool


About DLA Piper

DLA Piper is the only international law firm with a presence in all six GCC countries, providing the geographic spread required by leading organisations doing business in the Middle East, be they local, national, regional or international. 

Our award winning Middle East Litigation, Arbitration, Investigations practice is one of the largest in the region and is closely supported by the strength of our broader global offering. With lawyers in over 30 countries throughout the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas, we work closely with our colleagues to manage multi-jurisdictional disputes. Our international offering provides our clients with a “one-stop shop” for their disputes and enables us to access the relevant local expertise rapidly to oversee disputes seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions. 

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