Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ADR in the Arab Gulf

The Future is so Bright, We Will have to Wear Shades

One panel speaker, Assistant Professor Andrew Dahdal, had this to say about last week's ADR conference sponsored by Qatar University College of Law:   
The conference was insightful in many respects. Given that some of my recent research has been looking at the relationship between financial centres and broader national jurisdictions, the discussion concerning the enforcement or arbitral awards in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was especially interesting.

The conference -- entitled, The Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution -- A Qatari Perspective -- brought together lawyers, scholars, and ADR neutrals to discuss ADR in the Arab Gulf and MENA regions.  Most of the presentations focused on arbitration, which remains the dominant (and nearly exclusive) form of ADR in the region.

The agenda included opening and keynote speeches by:

  • Dr. Mohammed Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, Dean of Qatar University College of Law.
  • Lord Nicholas Phillips, President of Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Center (QICDRC).
  • Sultan Al-Abdulla, Managing Partner of Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners, a sponsor of the event.
  • Prof. Bridgette Stern, Emeritus Professor of International Law at the University of Paris,I, Pantheon-Sorbonne.
  • Dr. Talal Al-Emadi, Chair of the Advisory Board of the QU College of Law Center of Law and Development (CLD).
  • Prof. Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab, Chair of Private International Law and Professor of Dispute Resolution at Cairo University.

The conference also consisted of four panel presentations.  Topics included:
  • Alternative Means for Resolving Economic Disputes.
  • Arbitrating Natural Resources Disputes: Current and Future Trends.
  • Arbitration in Intellectual Property Disputes.
  • Conciliation versus Court Ruling -- Management of Chances and Risks.
  • The Role of Civil and Commercial Court of Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Consumer Dispute Resolution Scheme.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution in Contemporary Times.
  • Future Challenges and Paradigmatic Changes in International Arbitration: A View from Behind the Curtain.
  • Effect of Minority Not Signing Arbitration Award on the Validity of Arbitral Award.
  • New [Qatar] Arbitration Law no. 2 of 2017: Pros and Cons.
  • Arbitration and Criminal Law: The View from Qatar and UAE.
  • Alternative Methods for Resolving Administrative Contract Disputes in Qatar.
  • The Rise and Fall of International Administrative Arbitration: A Revision on the Commerciality of International Arbitration under Egyptian Law.
  • Enforcement of Arbitral Awards.
Several of my QU College of Law colleagues covered these topics, along with representatives of QICDRC and regional lawyers.

I hope that my colleagues create more opportunities to discuss ADR in the region.  As my own research is beginning to reveal, ADR is still in the early stages of institutional development in the Arab Gulf region.  I also hope that the papers presented at the conference get published in a symposium issue of a law journal. 

I have encouraged the conference organizers to create a webpage where people can access conference slides.  I'd hate to see this material go unrecognized in the future. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week 13: Pansies Versus Crocodiles

The Semester Comes to a Close

I had hoped to post a blog every week of the semester about my experience teaching Legal Research & Writing 1 to my Arab students.  But, the semester gets so intense about Week 10 that I feel happy just to keep up with class prep and grading.  

Over the past two weeks, I have conducted individual conferences with students. We look at their attendance record, the point scores on their assessments, their current ranking in the course, and the chance they have for a higher letter grade.  I then review their written work. 

My female students met with me first.  All of them have been working hard this semester. They are dedicated to their studies and show it by good attendance, preparation for class, and a level of engagement that still surprises me.  After all, we meet from 3 to 4:45 p.m. at the end of a very long day.  

I told them that coming to class is like looking out on the sunny, eager, upturned faces of pansies in a flower garden.  I just love them to pieces.  Now that we know each other better, I see their humor, their struggles in balancing home, careers, and children, and their desire to get a good education with a good GPA. 

Then I met with my male students.  That experience is much different.  After a two-hour class, I feel like I have been "wrestling crocodiles."  Their needs are greater, because they are less prepared for the course.

Most of my male students have several children, jobs or businesses, parents who need help, and then a full course schedule. Their attendance for a 9:30 a.m. course is more inconsistent. I need to set more boundaries with them.  I am strict about enforcing course rules. I police more cheating. And, I find myself in more futile negotiations over assessment scores (futile for them). 

Despite being strict with them, I am impressed by their open hearts, good humor, and strong desire to complete the course.

I have about eight male students who show me every class just how smart they are.  One student has perfect attendance and almost perfect scores on the assessments.  They consistently use my office hours to work on their memos. They ask good questions. They help me communicate with my weaker students who struggle because they have poor English language skills.   I am very thankful to them.

We are all exhausted.  My patience runs thin. I need more sleep.  But, all that is true for my students, too. 

I keep telling them:  "I will get you through the semester!"  I keep telling them, as I did the first week of class, that my job is to get them ready for Legal Writing 2.  Most of them are ready.  For the struggling students, their outcome will depend on how they do on the final exam.  I hope they surprise me.