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Mon 10 Jan 2011 12:31 PM

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Qatar court braced for spike in World Cup contract rows

Commercial disputes expected to rise in flurry for World Cup work, says court CEO

Qatar court braced for spike in World Cup contract rows
QATAR COURT: Robert Musgrove is the CEO of the newly-opened Qatar Civil and Commercial Court (ITP Images)

Qatar is likely to see a spike in legal disputes as
contractors pitch for a slice of its $100bn infrastructure plan ahead of the
2022 World Cup, the CEO of the newly-opened Qatar Civil and Commercial Court
said.

The surge in construction deals will go hand-in-hand with an
increase in commercial disputes due to the volume of work on offer, said CEO
Robert Musgrove.

“Do not underestimate the importance of the success of the
2022 bid for the World Cup,” he said. “When there’s such incredible growth and
commercial activity, there’s going to be disputes, and I very much see the
court offering a service, if the companies write us into the contract.”

In the days after the bid announcement, some 900 contracts
were signed with Gulf contractors.

Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter,
is expected to spend $100bn on developing its infrastructure ahead of the
football tournament.

Projects in the pipeline include a $7bn deep water port, the
$10bn Doha International Airport and a $20bn upgrade to the emirate’s road
system.

For the World Cup alone, Qatar has pledged to build 12
state-of-the-art stadiums at a cost of $2bn each, and to add 90,000 new hotel
rooms.

Qatar has become a focus for Gulf contractors keen to
capitalise on the emirate’s state-backed plans, particularly as work in
traditional construction strongholds, such as Dubai, has dried up.

Local firms, that are traditionally litigation-shy, will be
more likely to turn to dispute resolution to solve contract disagreements,
Musgrove said.

“We would very much say that the court is available [for
dispute resolutions]. There are precedents for large scale projects and we
would welcome them writing us into their dispute resolution contracts,” he
said.

“If we’re looking at Gulf clients, a lot of bodies in the
Gulf are not litigious and are not naturally open about business dealings. We
offer mediation and arbitration… which we think has great appeal in Gulf
circles.”

 

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