Investment Arbitration in the UAE: Safeguarding Foreign Investments

Exploring International Arbitration as the Recourse for Investment Protection in the UAE
September 18, 2023 by

Investment Arbitration in the UAE

In today's globalized economy, foreign investments play a pivotal role in a country's economic growth. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), with its strategic location, business-friendly policies, and robust infrastructure, has emerged as a hotspot for foreign investments. However, as with any international business venture, there are inherent risks involved. To address these concerns and promote investor confidence, the UAE offers a comprehensive framework for the protection of foreign investments, including the option of international arbitration. In this blog post, we, Al Safar & Partners, a leading law firm specializing in investment arbitration, will delve into the protection of foreign investments in the UAE and the recourse available through international arbitration.

The Focal Point: Protection of Foreign Investments

Understanding the Landscape of Foreign Investments in the UAE

Foreign investments in the UAE span various sectors, from real estate and infrastructure to technology and hospitality. The UAE's attractiveness to foreign investors is underpinned by its political stability, tax incentives, and a well-developed legal framework. The federal government and individual emirates have adopted policies to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI), making the country a magnet for investors seeking growth opportunities in the Middle East.

Legal Safeguards for Foreign Investments in the UAE

To ensure the protection of foreign investments, the UAE has taken several legal measures:

1. Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)

The UAE has entered into numerous BITs with other countries to provide mutual protection to foreign investments. These treaties typically cover aspects such as expropriation, fair and equitable treatment, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

2. Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs)

At the emirate level, individual emirates have established IPPAs with various countries. These agreements offer additional layers of protection to foreign investors and specify dispute resolution procedures.

3. Federal and Local Laws

The UAE has enacted laws and regulations that govern foreign investments, including the Commercial Companies Law and the Foreign Investment Law. These laws provide the legal framework for establishing businesses and outline the rights and obligations of foreign investors.

The Recourse: International Arbitration in the UAE

Why International Arbitration?

In the event of a dispute between a foreign investor and the UAE government or a local entity, international arbitration offers a neutral and efficient means of resolution. Unlike traditional court litigation, arbitration allows parties to select their arbitrators, conduct proceedings in a private setting, and enforce awards internationally.

Arbitration Centers in the UAE

The UAE hosts several arbitration centers that facilitate international arbitration proceedings, including the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) and the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC). These centers provide state-of-the-art facilities and a roster of experienced arbitrators, making the UAE a preferred destination for investment arbitration.

Enforcing Arbitral Awards

One of the significant advantages of international arbitration is the enforceability of arbitral awards. The UAE is a signatory to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which means that arbitral awards obtained in the UAE are generally recognized and enforceable in over 160 countries.


In an era of global investments, the UAE stands out as a destination that values and protects foreign investments. With a combination of bilateral investment treaties, local laws, and a robust international arbitration framework, the UAE offers foreign investors confidence and security. At Al Safar & Partners, we specialize in guiding investors through the intricacies of investment arbitration in the UAE, ensuring their interests are safeguarded. For all your investment protection needs in the UAE, trust us to provide expert legal counsel and representation.