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Copyright © International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). All rights reserved.
( Source of the document: ICC Digital Library )
A. The Contracting State and the New York Convention
1. Name of Contracting State (also specify jurisdiction(s), if relevant)
State of Qatar.
2. Date of entry into force of the New York Convention
The Convention was transposed into domestic law on 15 Mar. 2003. According to UNCITRAL, it came into force on 30 Mar. 2003.
(Sources: Decree No. 29 of 2003, 15 Mar. 2003; www.uncitral.org.)
3. Has any reservation been made under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention regarding:
(b) commercial relationships?
4. In addition to arbitral awards made in the territory of another State, the New York Convention (Art. I(1)) also applies to arbitral awards not considered as domestic awards in the State where recognition and enforcement is sought. Are there any awards rendered in your country that are not considered as domestic awards such that the New York Convention and the answers to this Questionnaire are applicable to them?
B. National sources of law
5. What specific sources of law are applicable to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. statutes, regulations, codes, directives, other legal instruments)?
In Qatar, the recognition of foreign awards and the requirements for their enforcement are regulated by specific provisions in Law No. 13 of 1990 (Civil Procedure Code). Enforcement proceedings are regulated by the general provisions on the execution of judgments in the same Code.
C. Limitation periods (time limits)
(a) Is there a limitation period (time limit) applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?
(b) If yes, what is the applicable limitation period (time limit) and when does it start running?
For commercial awards, the limitation period would appear to be 10 years pursuant to Art. 87 of Law No. 27 of 2006 (Commercial Code). For all other awards, the limitation period would appear to be 15 years pursuant to Art. 415/2 of Law No. 22 of 2004 (Civil Code). In both cases, the limitation period runs from the date of issuance of the award.
D. National courts and court proceedings
7. What authority or court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?
According to Art. 379 of the Civil Procedure Code, the Plenary Execution Court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards.
8. What requirements, if any, must be met for the authority or court to accept jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. domicile or assets of the respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.)?
The Civil Procedure Code does not lay down any jurisdictional requirements; however, it is common practice for the award creditor to demonstrate, for enforcement purposes, that the debtor is domiciled in Qatar or its assets are located in Qatar.
9. Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement obtained through ex parte or inter partes proceedings?
Under Art. 379 of the Civil Procedure Code, enforcement proceedings are initiated by the service of a summons on the award debtor as when filing a legal action. Accordingly, the court fixes hearings for both parties to attend and exchange submissions.
(a) Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement subject to any form of appeal or recourse?
Yes, pursuant to Art. 365 of the Civil Procedure Code, the decisions of the Execution Court are reviewable.
(b) How many levels of appeal or recourse are available against this decision?
The decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement of a foreign award can be reviewed by the Qatari Court of Appeal. Further, under Art. 1 of Law No. 12 of 2005 on appeals before the Court of Cassation in non-criminal matters, decisions of the Court of Appeal can be challenged before the Court of Cassation (Qatar's supreme court), subject to the conditions set out in Art. 1 of the aforementioned law.
11. What is the earliest stage in legal proceedings for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards at which a party can obtain execution against assets?
Art. 363 of the Civil Procedure Code provides that the execution of judgments/awards must be carried out under the control and supervision of the execution judge.
After the award has been granted exequatur, execution proceedings take place under the control and supervision of the Execution Court and include execution against assets, whether voluntarily (i.e. with the debtor's consent) or mandatorily pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code (e.g. attaching assets and selling them through a public auction).
E. Evidence required
(a) What evidence must be supplied for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. arbitral award, contract containing the arbitration clause, affidavits, witness statements, etc.)?
The following documents must be produced for recognition and enforcement of foreign award: (i) the arbitral award; (ii) a certificate issued by the relevant authority in the foreign country where the award was issued, stating that the award is final and irrevocable; (iii) the arbitration agreement.
Further, the award and the certificate stating the finality of the award must be notarized by the Qatari embassy in the foreign country and attested by the ministry of foreign affairs in Qatar.
(b) Is it necessary to provide the entire document or only certain parts (e.g. the entire contract or only the arbitration clause)?
The complete award must be submitted. As for the arbitration agreement, if it is a compromis the entire agreement must be produced; if an arbitration clause, normal practice is to produce the entire contract containing the clause.
(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?
There is no specific provision in the Civil Procedure Code. In practice, either the original or a duly certified copy of the award and the certificate stating the finality of the award will be accepted, subject to fulfilment of the notarization requirements mentioned in Q.12(a) above. A copy of the arbitration agreement suffices.
(d) How many originals or duly certified copies are required?
Only one original or certified copy is required.
(e) Does the authority or court keep the originals that are filed?
Yes. However, either party may apply to the court to retrieve the original documents after the case has been finally decided and the time limit for bringing an appeal has expired.
(a) Is it necessary to provide a translation of the documents supplied?
Yes, if the documents are in a language other than Arabic.
(Source: Civil Procedure Code, Art. 68; Law No. 10 of 2003 on the judicial authority, Art. 16.)
(b) If yes, into what language?
(c) Is it necessary for the translations to be certified and, if yes, by whom (by an official or sworn translator or by a diplomatic or consular agent (of which country) or by some other person)?
Yes, by any of the translation offices located in Qatar and accredited by the Qatar courts.
(d) Is it necessary to provide a full translation of the documents or only a translation of certain parts (e.g. the entire award or only the part setting forth the decisions; the entire contract or only the arbitration clause)?
It is necessary to submit a translation of the complete award and the relevant arbitration clause/agreement. It is standard practice to submit a translation of the entire contract containing the arbitration clause.
F. Stay of enforcement
(a) Can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement pending the outcome of an application to set aside or suspend the foreign award before the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?
Under Art. 380/3 of the Civil Procedure Code, the court will refuse to enforce the foreign award if it is not established that the award has become final and res judicata in accordance with the laws of the country where it was rendered.
(b) On what other grounds, if any, can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement (e.g. forum non conveniens)?
In case the judgment debtor files an annulment action seeking to set aside the arbitral award due to, e.g., violating a public policy rule in Qatar, the Execution Court will stay the execution proceedings pending a decision in the annulment action. Nevertheless, the court hearing the annulment action may order continuation of the execution proceedings
(Source: Civil Procedure Code, Art. 208.)
(c) Is the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of security?
(a) Do the documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record? If yes, can any steps be taken to preserve the confidentiality of such documents?
Documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards are not part of the public record. Only the parties to these proceedings have access to the documents. However, it should be noted that Art. 121 of the Civil Procedure Code requires judgments issued in Qatar to be pronounced publicly; otherwise, they will be void.
(b) If there are hearings on recognition and enforcement, are such hearings confidential? If not, can steps be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the legal proceedings?
Art. 59 of the Civil Procedure Code provides that hearings are generally public. However, the court has discretion to order that hearings held in camera where the public interest or moral considerations so dictate. It is, therefore, unlikely that a court decides to hold a hearing in camera to protect the confidentiality of an arbitral, albeit foreign, award.
(c) Are judgments on recognition and enforcement published? If yes, can steps be taken to remove the names of the parties or avoid publication of confidential information (such as business secrets or State secrets)?
Generally speaking, court judgments are not published. However, the principles established by the Court of Cassation are published without mentioning the names of the parties. Accordingly, if a judgment on recognition and enforcement is referred to the Court of Cassation and a judgment is issued, it is possible that it will be published by the Technical Office of the Court without the names of the parties.
H. Other issues
16. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards?
As noted above, Art. 380 of the Civil Procedure Code requires the foreign award whose enforcement is sought to be final and irrevocable under the law where it was made. Therefore, it is our view that interim and partial foreign awards are enforceable in Qatar when they are proved to be final and irrevocable under the law of the seat of the arbitration.
17. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of non-monetary relief in foreign arbitral awards (e.g. an order requiring a party to deliver up share certificates or other property)?
As a general rule, Qatari courts enforce monetary and non-monetary foreign awards provided that, as stated above, the award holder submits a certificate demonstrating the finality of the award whose enforcement is sought.
18. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign awards?
There is nothing to prevent the court from enforcing only part of a foreign award, if that part, taken independently, satisfies the requirements of enforcement as mentioned above.
19. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which have been set aside by the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?
As noted above, one of the key conditions to enforce a foreign award is that the award is final and irrevocable under the laws of its country of origin. Therefore, the competent court in Qatar will refuse to enforce foreign awards which have been set aside by the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention.
20. Are there any other procedural or practical requirements relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which are worth mentioning (e.g. unusually high court costs, filing fees, stamp duties, obligation to post security as a condition for seeking recognition and enforcement, obligation to identify the assets that will be the object of enforcement, etc.)?
It is worth mentioning that the enforcement of monetary judgments/awards is subject to enforcement fees calculated on ad valorem basis, with a maximum of one thousand (1,000) Qatari rials. The enforcement fees are recoverable from the defendant upon enforcement of the award.
Further, during the execution proceedings, the Execution Court enquires about the debtor's assets located in Qatar with the relevant entities (e.g. banks, stock exchange, traffic department, etc.). The award creditor should assist the court in identifying the debtor's assets, particularly where these are not registered with any entity.
Hasan El Shafiey