New Mediation Law, eMediation Platform: UAE Consolidates ADR Framework for Civil and Commercial Disputes

April 25, 2024by Jose Joseph0

With an aim to expedite the resolution of disputes and reduce the burden on the court systems in the country, the United Arab Emirates has made a significant update to its legal framework concerning dispute resolution with the enactment of the Federal Decree Law No. 40 of 2023. This law which came into effect on December 29, 2023, consolidates the existing legislation on mediation and conciliation in civil and commercial disputes into a unified legal framework. The government was encouraged to this legislation because of the increased utilization of ADR methods such as mediation and conciliation at a substantial settlement rate of 61.3 percent in 2022, demonstrating the growing preference for these methods over traditional litigation.  

Streamlines the establishment and operation of mediation and conciliation centers

Permits the creation of private mediation centers, including branches of foreign centers

Outlines the criteria and procedures for the accreditation of mediators and conciliators

Wasata eMediation platform offers a virtual venue for disputes resolution, connects parties with mediators proficient in Arabic and English

Wasata supports both judicial and non-judicial mediation processes including the payment of mediation fees and compiling the final mediation reports

The Federal Decree Law No. 40 of 2023 streamlines the establishment and operation of mediation and conciliation centers which are within the jurisdiction of the courts of first instance. These centers, whether operating online or offline, are tailored to foster amicable settlements by involving neutral third parties. The law also permits the creation of private mediation centers, including branches of foreign centers, thereby broadening the scope for dispute resolution within the UAE. 

One of the critical aspects of the new law is the distinction it makes between mediation and conciliation. In mediation, the mediator acts merely as a facilitator, using mediation techniques to help parties reach an agreement. In contrast, in conciliation, the conciliator plays a more interventionist role, proposing solutions for dispute settlement. 

Moreover, the law outlines specific criteria and procedures for the accreditation and qualifications of mediators and conciliators, who can now be selected from a list of experts registered with the Ministry of Justice or local judicial authorities, as well as professional mediators including retired judges and lawyers. 

Wasata eMediation Platform  

In conjunction with the new Federal Decree Law on Mediation and Conciliation in Civil and Commercial Disputes, the UAE Ministry of Justice has introduced the Wasata eMediation platform. This innovative online platform provides an alternative to traditional litigation processes, offering a virtual venue where civil and commercial disputes can be resolved. Wasata connects parties with expert mediators proficient in both Arabic and English, streamlining the entire mediation process. 

The platform handles a variety of procedural necessities such as the registration, renewal, and delisting of mediators. It supports both judicial and non-judicial mediation processes, overseeing mediator-related activities, handling requests, and scheduling sessions. Furthermore, Wasata facilitates the financial aspects of mediation, including the payment of mediation expenses and mediator fees. It also assists in compiling the final mediation reports, ensuring a comprehensive and user-friendly mediation experience. This digital initiative aligns with the broader legal framework enhancements aimed at improving efficiency and access to dispute resolution services in the UAE. 

This legislative move is part of the UAE’s broader efforts to adopt and adapt international best practices in legal processes, aiming to promote alternative dispute resolution methods. It represents a forward-thinking approach to dispute resolution, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to creating a dynamic, efficient, and internationally competitive legal framework. This approach expedites the resolution of disputes, reduces the burden on the judiciary system, and fosters a more efficient legal environment for all stakeholders. 

For more detailed information on the Federal Decree Law No. 40 of 2023 and its implications for civil and commercial dispute resolution, legal professionals and interested parties can refer to the official documentation and resources provided by the UAE government and legal consultancies such as ATB Legal. 

About ATB Legal

ATB Legal is a full-service legal consultancy in the UAE providing services in dispute resolution (DIFC Courts, ADGM Courts, mainland litigation management and Arbitrations), corporate and commercial matters, IP, business set up and UAE taxation. We also have a personal law department providing advice on marriage, divorce and wills & estate planning for expats. Please feel free to reach out to us at office@atblegal.com for a non-obligatory initial consultation.

by Jose Joseph

Jose is a Senior Associate at ATB Legal. As a legal consultant he handles and extensively writes about Arbitrations in DIAC & ICC, DIFC and ADGM matters, corporate and commercial litigations, and trademark.

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