By Shane McGinley
EXCLUSIVE: Chairman says he expects cases to be wrapped up by first half of next year
The special tribunal set up to manage disputes relating to Dubai World and its subsidiaries is likely to wind up the bulk of its cases by the middle of 2013, the chairman of the tribunal told Arabian Business.
“We should probably have very few active cases in the second part of next year… We are hoping to decide in the first half of next year all the cases we have so far, but more cases may or may not come in,” Sir Anthony Evans, chairman of Dubai World Tribunal and a former chief justice of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, told Arabian Business in an interview.
Dubai World Tribunal was set up in September 2009 at the height of the emirate’s debt crisis and was designed to hear disputes relating to government-backed investment vehicle Dubai World and its subsidiaries.
“It was a time when the outside world was looking rather anxiously towards Dubai to see how it would handle the financial crisis,” Evans recalled.
Master developer Nakheel, which masterminded a series of palm-shaped manmade islands off the coast of Dubai, was one of the major subsidiaries of Dubai World and a large bulk of the cases before the tribunal were related to disputed surrounding some of its stalled developments, such as The World and Dubai Waterfront.
As part of Nakheel’s restructuring of more around US$16bn in debt, it was carved out of Dubai World and are now solely owned by the Dubai government since August 23, 2011.
As a result, cases lodged against Nakheel after this date are no longer eligible to be heard by the tribunal and are referred to the Dubai Courts. While this is the main reason behind the decline in caseload for the tribunal, Evans said it was unlikely the tribunal would be wound up and was likely to remain dormant until it was needed on a more regular basis.
“Whether the tribunal will remain in existence I don’t know. It may remain alive but wouldn’t necessarily be very active,” he said.
According to the Dubai World Tribunal website, there are currently no cases scheduled on its calendar after March 3, 2013.
The full interview with Sir Anthony Evans will be printed in Arabian Business on Sunday.