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Banishing the Ghost of Lord Asquith’s Award: A Resurgence of Arbitration in the Middle East
Reza Mohtashami

ABSTRACT

More than sixty years have passed since Lord Asquith’s infamous award in Petroleum Development Ltd v.The Ruler of Abu Dhabi, whose sweeping value judgment about the inadequacies of Abu Dhabi law, closely followed by awards rendered against The Ruler of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, had a profound and detrimental impact on the development of arbitration in the Middle East over many decades. There are signs however that the ghost of Lord Asquith’s award may finally have been banished, as we experience a tangible shift in perception and practice in favor of arbitration across the Middle East. This article first describes the historical context of arbitration in the Middle East, before briefly examining the regional resurgence currently underway by means of three tangible metrics: the profusion of domestic and regional arbitration centers, the enactment of supportive statutory regimes and the increasing incidences of Arab parties initiating arbitral claims.