Posted on February 26, 2015

A seminar on “Energy Dispute Resolution” organized by the Center for Energy and Sustainability Law (CESL) at Qatar University’s College of Law (QU-LAWC) addressed recent developments and challenges in energy dispute resolution at national and international levels. It was the first in a series of CESL forums and aimed to provide practical tips to oil and gas professionals in making an informed choice on dispute resolution, and the importance of a multi-tier approach to resolving disputes.

The seminar drew notable officials from leading legal and commercial organizations and companies in Qatar such as Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani, Qatar Chamber of Commerce; Sheikh Hamad bin Saoud Al-Thani, Qatar WOQOD Fuel; and Sheikh Thani Al-Thani, Qatari Lawyers Association, as well as LAWC Dean Dr Mohammed Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, CESL Director Dr Mohammed Alramhi, and faculty and students from LAWC and other QU colleges and departments.  It was endorsed by the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN).

Dr Alramhi opened the event which featured presentations by expert panelists including LAWC Associate Dean for Research Dr Francis Botchway,  Dubai-based chartered arbitrator and certified arbitraries mediator Mr Victor P Leginsky, and partner at Doha-based law firm Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners Mr Salman Mahmood.

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He said: “The topic under discussion today is a critical one for the oil and gas industry.  The Center is well-placed to present these and other timely issues and to bring together experts from industry and academia to advance dialogue on them and put forward recommendations that can be successfully implemented.   This underlines CESL’s commitment to being a key partner in contributing to the goals of Qatar National Vision and the development strategies”.

Dr Botchway used case law to illustrate the jurisdictional and enforcement tensions and conflicts between national courts and international arbitral tribunals. He also noted specific areas where such tensions can be manifested under Qatari law. He concluded that the first step to dispute resolution is dispute avoidance which will involve incorporating dispute management units or boards into the contracts for natural resource investment, construction and long gestation projects.

Mr Mahmood outlined the contractual areas and avenues open for energy disputes, saying that in order for the arbitration clause in a contract to be effective under Qatari law, it is necessary that the parties must authorise their respective signatories specifically to agree to arbitrate disputes. In particular actions, the law prescribes a special power of attorney which has significant impact”.