Oman's new Mediation Rules

Oman Commercial Arbitration Centre was established, pursuant to Royal Decree No. 36/2018, with the objective of providing arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. To achieve these objectives, the Center have recently published Decision No. 8/2021 issuing Oman Commercial Arbitration Centre Mediation Rules. We briefly outline below some of the main provisions set out in Decision No. 8/2021:

1. Scope of Application

Article 2 provides that the rules would only apply if the parties agree in writing to refer their disputes to mediation in accordance with the provisions of Decision No. 8/2021, subject to any amendments to the rules agreed by the parties.

2. Commencement of Mediation Process

i. Mediation Request

Article 3 provides that the party or parties requesting mediation shall submit a written application to Oman Arbitration Center (the “Registrar”) either through email, mail, fax or through the Registrar website. Once the application has been submitted, the Registrar will notify all concerned parties about the application and the date it was submitted.

The application should include, among other things: (i) contact details of the parties and their representatives (i.e. names, emails, addresses, and phone numbers), (ii) brief summary of the nature of the dispute and the parties claims (iii) any agreement or suggestions on the language, place and duration of mediation. Furthermore, the application should also be accompanied by proof of payment of the registration fees

ii. Representation and Assistance

Article 4 provides that each party may be represented or assisted by one or more representatives and/or assistants provided that they have a valid and specific legal authorization.

iii. Place and Language of Mediation

Article 5 provides that the place of mediation is selected by Oman Arbitration Center executive committee provided that the parties did not agree otherwise. The committee may decide to conduct mediation either by attending physically or through electronic means of communication. The committee may also decide to invite the mediator to select the place of mediation once he is appointed.

The mediation is to be conducted by the language agreed by the parties where the parties disagree, the executive committee would select a language until the appointment of the mediator.

3. Mediators’ Duties and Obligations

i. Appointment the Mediator

Article 6 provides that the parties may agree to nominate one or more mediators or agree on the form of appointing a mediator. In the event that the parties fail to appoint a mediator, the procedure for appointing a mediator is set out in Article 6.

ii. Requirements of the Mediator to be Impartial and Independent

Article 7 imposes a duty on mediators to provide a written undertaking confirming their impartiality and independence. Furthermore, the mediator would have to promptly disclose any circumstances which are likely to give rise to any justifiable doubts as to his impartiality or independence.

iii. Mediators’ Duties

Article 8 provides that the mediator has  a duty to encourage parties to settle their disputes in any manner he deems appropriate provided that such settlement is not imposed on the parties. The mediator may also suggest alternative procedures or dispute resolutions methods that is considered to be more effective and cost less.

4. Duration of Mediation

Article 10 provides that the mediator shall aim to reach a settlement within the period agreed by the parties, in the event the parties have not agreed on a such period, the mediator would have to conclude the mediation process within 3 months from the commencement of mediation.

Originally published in the MENA Business Law Review, issue 03/2021