Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in the Arab world have been growing hand in hand with the resurgence of various countries as members of the fast growing club of successful emerging markets. The flexibility of arbitration, mediation and other ADR methods, as well as their speed, efficiency and confidentiality, have made them more attractive to investors and parties in contracts of an international nature. Consequently, a significant number of Arab countries have been busy updating and enhancing their laws and regulations on arbitration and mediation in particular. There is momentum behind ADR in the region.
Furthermore, the global economic downturn has led to a significant increase in the number of disputes in various sectors, and this in turn has provided an impetus behind the need to enhance the procedures applied by the various arbitration centers in the Arab world.
This development is not solely linked to the realities of modern commerce. In fact, the conciliatory approach and the notion of deferring to a neutral and objective personality for a decision, that ultimately underline all forms of ADR, are well steeped in Arabic and Islamic traditions.
There are at least two verses in the Koran that sanction the notion of arbitration and mediation. Furthermore, one of the most famous stories of the Prophet Mohammad’s early life involved him being chosen by feuding tribes, who could not agree on a vital element of the reconstruction of the Ka’aba, to resolve the dispute. The Prophet bridged the gaps between the quarreling parties by suggesting an original solution that was essentially a win-win for all. Other examples of arbitration and mediation abound in Islamic history.
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