Guide to Regional Arbitration (volume 11 - 2023)

Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)

Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)

Professional notice


Jehad Kazim
Executive Director

Robert Stephen

The Dubai International Arbitration Centre has over three decades of experience in providing dispute resolution services to parties doing business in or through the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region. As an institution, we are independent and committed to excellence, efficiency, and diversity.

In the past year, we have launched new Arbitration Rules, which came into effect on 21 March 2022. The 2022 Rules are a modern set of rules for a new era and are aligned with international best practices. They seek to increase the efficiency of proceedings by facilitating the use of technology and modern means of communication, introducing an expedited procedure for emergency arbitrator provisions, and providing for the joinder of third parties and consolidation of multiple proceedings. They also introduce a new DIFC default seat of arbitration. The Rules demonstrate that we are a new-fashioned arbitration institution that is designed to face tomorrow’s challenges.

To meet the expectations of our users, party-counsel and arbitrators, we have recently reformed our Arbitration Court. The new DIAC Court now comprises 13 leading arbitration experts, with diversity at its core. The Court is headed by Dr Michael Pryles AO PBM (as President), and Erin Miller Rankin (as Vice-President). The other Court members include Abdulwahid Alulama, Professor Albert Jan van den Berg, Professor Emilia Onyema, Dr Hasan Arab, Hiroo Advani, Ilya Nikiforov, Mohammed Rashed Alsuwaidi, Ning Fei, Dr Rouven Bodenheimer, Rupert Reed KC and Wendy Miles KC. Their collective expertise enhances our procedures and helps to ensure the highest standards of oversight of proceedings conducted under the Rules.

In May 2023, we announced the appointment of Jehad Abdulrazzaq Kazim as our new Executive Director. Jehad is an experienced leader and ADR professional, having spent over 20+ years at the Dubai Chambers, most recently as Vice-President of Legal Affairs. She is the first Emirati woman to lead DIAC, and she is committed to driving innovation and excellence at the Centre. Jehad’s appointment demonstrates our commitment to diversity and a fresh perspective on how we operate.

As an institution, we recognise that our users, party-counsel and arbitrators are at the core of everything that we do. To better serve them, we have invested significantly in our casework team. In April 2023, Christoffer Coello Hedberg joined the Centre from the SCC Arbitration Institute as the first Deputy Registrar of DIAC. Christoffer was legal counsel at the SCC for over two years and, prior to that, practiced at Linklaters in Stockholm and clerked at the Attunda District Court. The team now comprises one senior legal counsel and six experienced legal counsels, supported by a team of casework administrators and paralegals.

We have also recruited a new Registrar with a proven track record of putting users, party-counsel and arbitrators first. Described variously as a “highly respected figurehead and operator” and a “very composed practitioner”, Robert Stephen joins the Centre as Registrar in June 2023. Robert is an internationally recognised arbitration expert. He is the former Registrar of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre and Dubai Financial Services Authority’s Financial Markets Tribunal, and until recently, he was a partner of UAE based specialist arbitration boutique Ghaffari Partners and practiced with Herbert Smith Freehills in London, Paris, Moscow, and Dubai for more than a decade. He has been based in the United Arab Emirates for 12+ years and sits on the Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors of DIAC.

In 2022, we registered a record number of cases (340), with a total amount in dispute in excess of AED11.2 billion (equivalent to USD3.1 billion)–making DIAC the largest arbitral institution in the region. The caseload of the Centre is increasingly diverse, with a broad spectrum of industries and sectors and disputes involving parties from 48 countries. International disputes comprised 44% of the Centre’s caseload in 2022.

We are dedicated to being a leading, independent arbitral institution for the MEASA region and to supporting the arbitration community.

For further information about DIAC and the work that we do, please visit

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