By Mark Hoyle, King & Wood Mallesons’ Dubai Office
Public policy, as any student of English law knows, is “an unruly horse” which, depending on the rider, can either turn out to be one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or a shining knight. After the issue of an award, just as a tribunal or the successful party feels that it is safe to relax and exit the psychological bunker that often shadows arbitrations in the UAE, the ace in the pack, high of course, is played and the immortal words “public policy” send a shiver through the process.
Once upon a time the arbitrators could sign at the end of the Award and breathe a sigh of relief that their job was done. But gradually, and with creeping vigour, the drums beat and the Tribunal is told that additional requirements must be fulfilled, such as initialling each page of the award in order for it to be valid. Nobody is able to point to a real legal basis of course, but never mind. Then, as if there is enough unpaid work for a tribunal, the watch phrase is “sign on each page” of the Award. At last, some might say – surely that is the end of it! But no, the latest wheeze is that each page of the award and the appendices must also be signed. No Court decision of course, no legal ruling, no change of the law.
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