|Gulf Times - Civil and Commercial
Court set to hear cases
|By Peter Townson
The Qatar Financial Centre’s Civil and Commercial Court
members were officially introduced to participants and guests at the Qatar Law Forum yesterday, where the
highly distinguished collection of justices from around the world gave an idea of what they felt the court
Lord Woolf said that there had been “considerable questioning about the role of the court,”
and explained the various ways in which the court might be used and described the different types of cases that
the court will hear.
The court, which had its first hearing in May and is set to make its first
judgment today, will be hearing cases arising from disputes about commercial transactions in or from the Qatar
Financial Centre, disputes between QFC entities and companies outside the QFC, between the QFC and contractors
or employers and also between QFC entities and residents or entities of the state.
“Critical to the
importance - perhaps the most important thing - are the judges who will preside over the court,” explained
Woolf before those in attendance were introduced to the justices of the court, the registrar of the court and
the chairman and members of the QFC regulatory tribunal.
Chairman of the tribunal, Sir William Blair
explained the role of the tribunal, before Justice Ronald Sackville QC OA explained that he had agreed to
become part of the court as it represents “an opportunity to participate in the development of an aspect of the
legal system in an important part of the world.”
Justice Aziz Ahmadi was next to speak, and the former
Indian Chief Justice explained that he was both “delighted and honoured to have the chance to spread the
culture of common law and work in a court starting from scratch.”
Ahmadi confirmed the independence of
the court before Justice Barbera Dohmann QC and Justice Peter Gibson both described their support and
excitement about being invited to be a part of the court.
As a member of the Scottish judiciary,
Justice Lord Cullen of Whitekirk KT explained that judges from his country had never been scared to adopt legal
traditions from other countries, nor serve in foreign jurisdictions, and said he was looking forward to
developing something “helpful” for Qatar.
Justice Sir Philip Otton was the last judge to speak, and he
said he was “convinced that Qatar had taken an enlightened and exciting step into the future” and said he hoped
he could help create a “clear and coherent picture that conforms to the rule of law.”
Registrar of the
court Michael McKenzie outlined the role he would play in the operation of the court, as did one of the members
of the regulatory tribunal, Francois Gianviti.
The audience had a number of questions for the group of
judges, and the interest in this body of justice – which heard its first case less than a month ago – was
obvious and enthusiastic judging by the crowd’s reaction.