Abu Dhabi’s Global Market has announced it is establishing an Arbitration Centre. It is expected to start operations in early 2018. The decision coincides with the decision of the International Commerce Chamber to open the first representative office in the Middle East in the Global Market by January 2018. The Centre will also offer training in settling disputes.
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Oman, where the Manpower Ministry and Central Bank have announced plans to introduce a Wages Protection System (WPS) for all private sector companies, with a trial phase to begin on 18 November 2017. The WPS aims at controlling the payment of wages by employers to ensure timely receipt of salaries by employees per the amounts agreed in their employment contracts. The programme comes as a result of implementation of Article 53 of the Labour Law imposing the obligation of depositing the employee’s salary through one of the locally approved banks. It is expected further details of the programme will be released closer to the start date. Employers in the private sector will soon be required to subscribe to the Wages Protection System for submission of their employees’ salaries through the Central Bank of Oman.
Elsewhere, Oman’s Sultan has approved a number of Sultani Decrees including Oman Sultani Decree No. 33/2017 approving the GCC Commercial Transactions Law. It will be published in the Official Gazette along with Oman Sultani Decree No. 34/2017 promulgating the Veterinarian Products Law which will apply to veterinarian products.
In September several AOL/DIFC trainings sessions are planned, but the "AOL Conference on DIFC Law" is a crucial one as it is the last opportunity to get your DIFC Mandatory Points for 2017.
AOL Conference on DIFC Law – September 11, 2017
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6 Exciting topics to choose from: Arbitration Law, Damages Law, Employment Law, Companies Law, Law of Obligations and Court Law.
Register here: https://www.lexis.ae/events/aol-conference-difc-law/
UAE: Abu Dhabi’s Economic Development Department has announced the enforcement of amendments to its penalties regime
Abu Dhabi’s Economic Development Department has announced the enforcement of amendments to its penalties regime in line with Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decision No. 47/2017 on violations regarding businesses or establishments licenced for economic activities in line with Article 6 of Abu Dhabi Law No. 2/2009. The amendments follow repeated violations by establishments licenced for economic activities in the Emirate. The Department has called on all establishments to go through the amendments and comply with the relevant regulations to avoid penalties ranging from formal warnings and fines depending on the nature of the violation.
Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has issued a Decree-Law amending the 2004 Law on combating terrorism. It includes definitions of terrorists, crimes and terrorist acts and entities. It also contains provisions on the freezing of funds and terrorist financing. Two national lists of individuals and terrorist entities will be created. The procedures for who gets listed have also been laid out. In addition, relevant parties will be able to challenge a decision to list at the Court of Cassation.
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Bahrain, where the Kingdom’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Bahrain has issued a new Resolution aimed at enhancing telecommunication security in the country. The Regulation on Critical Telecommunications Infrastructure Risk Management, Bahrain Decision No. 5/2017 has been published in the Official Gazette. The Authority intends to work with licensees to ensure certain telecom infrastructure is safeguarded and business continuity and disaster recovery plans are put in place. The Authority is also aiming to maintain essential telecommunication services in the light of threats, by imposing a minimum set of obligations on key telecommunications infrastructure owners and service providers. These obligations will introduce the necessary resilience and emergency planning measures required to mitigate the risks posed by the rising cyber threats critical telecommunications networks face on a daily basis. Finally the Authority will establish procedures for the reporting of data breaches to it.
Elsewhere Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa has ratified and issued four laws including the Family Law (Bahrain Law No 19/2017). King Hamad also issued Bahrain Law No. 18/2017 on Penalties and Alternatives Measures and Bahrain Law No. 20/2017 approving the state general budget for the fiscal year 2017-2018. Finally he issued Bahrain Law No. 21/2017 amending Bahrain Decree-Law No. 15/1977 issuing development bonds.
Dubai’s Crown Prince and Executive Council Chairman, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a Decision to regulate the rental of buses, trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles in the Emirate. It also aims to regulate the transporting of passengers, goods, valuables, packages, food and furniture by specialist companies. It applies to all relevant entities in Dubai, including those based in special development zones, free zones and the Dubai International Financial Centre. The Decision will be published in the Official Gazette and will come into effect 60 days after it has been published.
The UAE’s Finance Ministry has confirmed certain financial services, residential properties, bare land and local passenger transport will be exempt from VAT. The UAE is set to implement 5% VAT on 1 January 2018. Supplies, including sales or leases, of commercial properties will be taxable at the standard VAT rate of 5% percent but supplies of residential properties will generally be exempt from VAT. In addition, the first supply of newly-constructed residential properties within 3 years of their completion will be zero-rated for VAT purposes. VAT will also be charged at 0% for exports of goods and services outside the GCC and international transportation and related supplies. Supplies of certain sea, air and land transportation (like aircrafts and ships), certain investment grade precious metals (like gold or silver which reach 99% purity), supply of certain education services and supply of relevant goods and services and supply of certain healthcare services and supply of relevant goods and services will be taxed at 0%.
LexisNexis and the DIFC Academy of Law are pleased to announce the launch of a new series of courses that bridge the gap between the civil law and common law systems that co-exist in the UAE.
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This week the spotlight is on the continuing fallout between Qatar and its GCC neighbours, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Egypt. Qatar’s Attorney General, HE Dr Ali bin Fetais al Marri has announced a committee to pursue compensation for damages resulting from Qatar’s isolation by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been established. The Compensation Claims Committee will handle claims by private companies, including major firms like Qatar Airways, public institutions and individuals. The committee will use domestic and international tools to obtain compensation and will hire overseas law firms to handle claims. It will receive all types of complaints, grievances and requests relating to the country’s isolation which started on 5 June 2017. It will be the sole committee following up cases brought by individuals, private and public companies, state institutions, banks, national carrier company and other parties affected. The Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministers will be committee members.
In a separate development, Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani has written to the GCC’s Secretary General setting out the country's conditions to stay in the bloc. Qatar gave three days for its isolation to end otherwise it would leave. There has been speculation Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Bahrain will expel Qatar from the GCC or even the Arab League.