The Qatar International Court is a world-class civil and commercial court. It applies international best practices in dispute resolution and brings together renowned and experienced judges from around the world.
The state-of-the-art courtroom features highly sophisticated technologies. The courtroom utilises virtual technology to facilitate access to justice without the need for litigants to physically appear before the court at hearings and trials.
The Court is serviced by a Registry team, headed by the Registrar, which is responsible for the case management of the cases that come before the Court. The Registrar and his team of expert case managers and support staff are available to assist Court-users who have queries in relation to commencing a case, or those who are seeking assistance as to the practices and procedures to be adopted before the Court.
The jurisdiction of the First Instance Circuit of the Court is to be found primarily in Article 8(3)(c) of the QFC Law (as amended) which provides that the Court has jurisdiction to hear the following types of cases:
c/1- Civil and commercial disputes arising from transactions, contracts, arrangements or incidences taking place in or from the QFC between the entities established therein.
c/2- Civil and commercial disputes arising between The QFC authorities or institutions and the entities established therein.
c/3- Civil and commercial disputes arising between entities established in The QFC and contractors therewith and employees thereof, unless the parties agree otherwise.
c/4- Civil and commercial disputes arising from transactions, contracts or arrangements taking place between entities established within The QFC and residents of The State, or entities established in the State but outside The QFC, unless the parties agree otherwise.
c/5 Civil and commercial disputes related to other entities, which are assigned to it by a law.
In addition to the above, Article 44 of Law No 15 of 2021 (amending Law No 34 of 2005 relating to the Qatar Free Zones) gives the Court jurisdiction to determine disputes relating to the Qatar Free Zones in a fashion similar to the provisions of the QFC Law set out above.
Insofar as the Court’s jurisdiction over arbitration is concerned, Law No 2 of 2017 issuing the Arbitration Law in Civil and Commercial Matters provides parties with an option to agree on the “Competent Court” of the arbitration, which is defined in Article 1 as,
“The Civil and Commercial Arbitral Disputes Circuit in the Court of Appeals, or the First Instance Circuit of the Civil and Commercial Court of the Qatar Financial Centre pursuant to the agreement of the Parties.”
Accordingly, if parties wish to elect the Court as the Competent Court of an arbitration seated in Qatar, they must agree to do so.
The judges of the Qatar International Court come from a variety of civil and common law jurisdictions and are appointed to the Court based on their expertise in resolving civil and commercial disputes. The judges of the Court adhere to the principles of the Judicial Code of Conduct: propriety, independence, impartiality and integrity.
Lord Thomas has been President of the Qatar International Court since 2018.
Lord Thomas was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1969, becoming a Queen’s Counsel in 1984. In 1996 he was appointed a High Court Judge and was assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division, serving on the Commercial Court. In 2003 he became a Lord Justice of Appeal and was appointed to the Privy Council. He served as the Senior Presiding Judge from 2003 to 2006. In 2008, he was appointed Vice President of the Queen’s Bench Division and Deputy Head of Criminal Justice. In 2011 he became President of the Queen’s Bench Division. Thereafter, in 2013, he succeeded Lord Judge as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He retired from that post in 2017 prior to taking up the present position in Qatar where he succeeded Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers.
Lord Thomas holds a number of extra-judicial posts including being an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Universities of Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Swansea and Bangor and an Honorary Doctor of Law of the Universities of South Wales, the West of England, Wales and of Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.
In 2016, he formed the Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts.
He was appointed Chairman of the Financial Markets Law Committee in November 2017.
He has been Chancellor of Aberystwyth University since January 2018.
Ali Malek QC has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2019.
He is recognised as one of the leading silks at the Commercial Bar of England and Wales. He is ranked in six different practice areas in both the Chambers & Partners guide, and the Legal 500. He has a wide and substantial practice with many of his cases having a strong international element. He has particular expertise in the field of international arbitration and banking and finance.
He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996, an Assistant Recorder in 1998 and a Recorder in 2000. He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2008 and is authorised to sit as a Deputy Judge at the Commercial Court of England and Wales. He also sits as an arbitrator in institutional and ad hoc commercial arbitration cases including ICC, ICSID, LCIA and SIAC.
Lord Hamilton has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2015. Lord Hamilton was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1968 and appointed Queens Counsel (QC) in 1982. He was an Advocate Depute, a Scottish prosecutor, from 1982 until 1985, Chairman of the Medical Appeals Tribunals from 1988 to 1992 and President of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal in Scotland from 1992 to 1995. Over several months in 1992 to 1993, he acted as a temporary Sheriff Principal in the sheriffdom of Tayside, Central and Fife, due to the indisposition of the incumbent Sheriff Principal. From 1988 to 1995, he was a Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey.
In 1995, Lord Hamilton was appointed a Senator of the College of Justice. Between 1997 and 2000, he was a full-time commercial judge dedicated to commercial business and responsible for oversight of that aspect of Court of Session business. In January 2002, he was appointed as a Judge of the Inner House of the Court of Session where he sat principally on appellate business. On 24 November 2005, the Scottish Executive announced that he would succeed Lord Cullen as Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session, upon the latter's appointment to the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. Lord Hamilton took office on 2 December. As Lord President and Lord Justice General, he was responsible for the supervision of these Courts and for the determination of policy and rules of court procedure. He also made appointments to some tribunals and made recommendations to The Queen for the appointment of Queen’s Counsel.
Sir Bruce Robertson has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2013. Sir Bruce Robertson was appointed a Judge of the High Court in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1987, and was Executive Judge and a Judge of the Commercial List. He was a divisional member of the Court of Appeal from 1996 and was appointed a full-time member from 2005. He was President of the Law Commission from 2001-2005. He was formerly Acting Chief High Court Judge and Acting Chief Justice as the senior puisne Judge. He took early retirement in 2010 and continues to sit in various Pacific jurisdictions, holding a number of statutory and advisory roles.
He was Chairman to the Search and Search Warrants Committee which published its final report in 1988. From 2001-2005 he was President of the New Zealand Law Commission. He has been involved in professional training and advocacy and was President of the Legal Research Foundation. He has held various community posts within New Zealand and has written extensively, particularly in criminal law and law reform. He is one of a few New Zealand members of the American Law Institute; in 1995 he was an Inns of Court Fellow in London and in 1998 he was a Visitor at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge.
Chelva Rajah has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2011. He was President of the Law Society of Singapore from 1990-1992 and held the position of Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Singapore from 1995-1997. He was appointed a Senior Counsel in 1998.
He is on the panel of Accredited Arbitrators at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and was appointed Chairman of Maxwell Chambers in 2008, a position he held until his appointment to the Board of SIAC in 2010. In 2011 he became the first Singapore appointed member of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Arbitral Tribunal.
He is Senior Partner of the dispute resolution team at the law firm Tan Rajah and Cheah, based in Singapore, where he has developed a distinguished practice in both litigation and arbitration, particularly in substantial commercial disputes, property-related matters and insolvency. He was admitted to the Singapore Bar in 1972, and was called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
Frances Kirkham has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2013. Frances Kirkham was a senior circuit judge, the designated Technology & Construction Court (TCC) judge in Birmingham, England. The majority of work undertaken was in the High Court, and was responsible for all TCC work that both initiated and transferred to Birmingham. Prior to this, she was partner at three national solicitors' practices in Birmingham. Between 2006 and 2011 she acted as Commissioner at the Judicial Appointments Commission, during which time she spoke at several meetings of the Irish, Franco-British Judicial Co-operation Committee. Frances spent a period at the Palais de Justice in Paris, where she observed the work of the French courts, specifically with regard to construction and engineering disputes.
Frances regularly acts as an arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator, and completed her TCC judicial mediation training in 2010. She has worked as a deputy High Court judge in the Mercantile, Chancery and Administrative Courts, and has also undertaken general Queen’s Bench Division work. Frances has received numerous awards, including the Birmingham Law Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Clare Edwards Memorial Award, recognising her extensive contribution to the practice of construction law. Notably, Frances was founder committee member and first secretary of the United Kingdom Association of Women Judges.
Fritz Brand has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2019.
Immediately after receiving his LL.B degree at the end of 1972, he was appointed as senior lecturer at the law faculty of the University of Stellenbosch where he taught until the end of 1976. In 1977 he joined the Cape Bar where he practiced as an advocate until September 1992. During that period he served on the Cape Bar Council for about ten years. In November 1989 he received his letters patent as a senior counsel (SC). In September 1992 he was appointed as a judge of the High Court in Cape Town. After serving as an acting judge of appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in November 2000, he was appointed permanently to that court with effect from 1 December 2001. In 2010 he was appointed as an acting judge to the Constitutional Court for two terms, retaining his permanent position on the Supreme Court of Appeal bench. Since his retirement from that Court in 2015, he has been appointed to the Appeal Court of Botswana and to the Supreme Court of Fiji, positions which he still holds.
George Arestis has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2015. George Arestis studied law at the Law School of Athens University, graduating in 1968. He subsequently went to England and read political science at the University of Kent at Canterbury, graduating in 1970 with a M.A. in Comparative Politics and Government.
After practising as a lawyer for ten years, he was appointed as a judge in 1982 and in 2003 he attained the office of Judge of the Supreme Court of Cyprus. He has been Cyprus’ first judge at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, a position from which he served for a period of ten years. In July 2013 he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Law by the University of Kent.
He has given lectures on European Union law, mainly at universities, in Cyprus, Greece, the UK, Germany, Belgium and Bulgaria.
With an interest in poetry, he has published the collection of poems “To Taxidi mou” (“My Journey”) (2009).
Dr Hassan Al Sayed has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2010. Dr. Al Sayed is an Associate Professor of Law at Qatar University’s College of Law. He was Dean of the College of Law from 2007-2010, having received his doctorate in Law in 2003 from the University of East Anglia in the UK. As Dean of the College of Law, he played an important role in the separation of the College of Law from the College of Sharia (Islamic Studies) and developed a new independent legal curriculum which incorporated English language at the College.
Dr. Al Sayed previously practiced as a lawyer in Qatar specialising in constitutional law, administrative disputes and state contracts, and was formerly the Vice President of the Qatari Bar Association. He has been appointed to numerous committees, including the International Centre for Dialogue between Religions and the Bar Admission Committee. He has contributed to a weekly column in the renowned Qatar Al-Sharq newspaper and has published articles and opinions in several peer reviewed journals.
Helen Mountfield QC has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2019.
She was Called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1991 and appointed Silk in 2010. She has a wide ranging and successful practice, particularly in the fields of Administrative and Public Law, Human Rights and Civil Liberties and Employment Law. She is particularly well-known for cases concerning discrimination and equality questions as they arise in public law, employment, commercial and other contexts. She is on the Equality & Human Rights Commission’s panel and also sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Administrative Court, a civil and criminal Recorder, and on the Courts of Appeal of Jersey & Guernsey. She is Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford.
Dr. Rashid Hamad Al-Anezi is a Kuwaiti legal academic, International Arbitrator and a private lawyer with a vast experience in the legal fields. Dr. Al Anezi holds PHD in International Law from Cambridge University, 1990. Moreover, he is a partner in the Kuwait law firm International Legal Group Law in strategic alliance with an international law firm: Baker Botts LLP.
Dr. Al Anezi started practicing in the Academic field when he joined as Faculty member in the College of Law in Kuwait University. He was the head of International Law Department & Assistant Dean in the College of Law. Currently, he is a professor of International Law in the College of Law at Kuwait University. Dr. Al Anezi has published six books and more than twenty articles in both Arabic & English
Dr. Alanezi is a registered arbitrator in Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Laussane, Kuwait Sports Arbitration Authority, GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre and Saudi Arabian Sports Arbitration Centre.
An active international participant, Dr. Al Anezi is a member of various international organizations and associations that some are part of the legal field and some are not. He is a member of the Kuwait Bar Association, Kuwait Environment Protection Society and the American Society of International Law. He is also a member of the Ethics Panel of Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer in the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Rashid Al Badr has held the position of Enforcement Judge of the Qatar International Court since 2012. Rashid was appointed Junior Magistrate of the Criminal Courts of First Instance in 1992 before becoming Senior Magistrate of the High Civil and Criminal Courts in 1996. From 2001-2003, he was Magistrate of the Court of Appeals before becoming Deputy Chairman of the Court of Appeals in 2003. In 2008, Rashid became the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, a position he still holds. He holds an LLB from the United Arab Emirates University, a post graduate Diploma from the University of Essex in England and an LLM in American Legal Studies from Case Western University in Ohio, USA.
Sir William Blair has been a judge of the Qatar International Court since 2017.
He graduated from the University of Oxford and practiced at the English Bar where he specialised in the law of banking and finance.
He became a Queen’s Counsel in 1994 and was Chairman of the Commercial Bar Association between 2003 and 2005. He was appointed a High Court Judge in England and Wales in 2008, and became President of the Board of Appeal of the European Supervisory Authorities in 2012. He served as Chairman of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Tribunal until March 2011 and was a judge in London’s Commercial Court between 2008 and 2017, becoming Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court in 2016.
Sir William is a member of London’s Financial Markets Law Committee, and chairs the Monetary Law Committee of the International Law Association (MOCOMILA). He is a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics (LSE), Peking University (PKU) and East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL).
In 2016, The College of Law at Qatar University (QU-LAWC) established the Sir William Blair Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In 2017, Sir William was appointed Professor of Financial Law and Ethics at Queen Mary University of London, based at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies.
In August 2018, he was appointed Chair of the Bank of England’s new Enforcement Decision Making Committee.
Christopher has been the Registrar of the QICDRC since 2012. As Registrar of both the Qatar International Court and the QFC Regulatory Tribunal, Christopher is in charge of the Registry which is responsible for the case management of cases before the two bodies. As Registrar, he gives procedural guidance to parties to proceedings as well as gives directions in relation to the progression and management of active cases. He will also, where required by the judges, make costs assessments following the conclusion of a case. In addition, Christopher is a member of the QICDRC’s senior management team and of the Judicial Advisory Board.
He was Called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple in 2007 and holds an LL.B from Newcastle University and an LL.M in Canon Law from Cardiff University.
From 2007 to 2009 he worked for the Ministry of Justice at the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in the Royal Courts of Justice, London. In 2009, he joined 15 New Bridge Street where he specialised as a criminal defence barrister appearing in the Magistrates Courts, Youth Courts, Crown Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.
Christopher has a keen interest in law and religion. He has authored and co-authored various articles and books on law and religion including, most recently, "Religion and Law in the United Kingdom", published by Wolters Kluwer. Since 2020, Christopher has been the convener of the Law and Religion Scholars Network which is run by the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University, where he is also a Fellow of the Centre. In 2021, he was appointed Vice Chair of the Bar Standards Board's Religion and Belief Taskforce.
Christopher is a member of numerous associations, including the International Bar Association, Criminal Bar Association and the Ecclesiastical Law Society, having written for the Ecclesiastical Law Journal. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
He has a keen interest in the development of legal education and has lectured widely whilst in the United Kingdom and Qatar.
In 2019, Christopher was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in England and Wales where he exercises a broad civil and family law jurisdiction.
Sir Cresswell has been a supplementary judge of the Qatar International Court since 2011. Sir Cresswell was a Judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, and the Commercial and Admiralty Courts in England and Wales from 1991-2007. He was responsible, as judge in charge of the Commercial Court from 1993-1994, for the first Practice Direction which encouraged litigants to consider mediation as an alternative to expensive and time consuming litigation. He was Judge in charge of the Lloyd’s Litigation from 1993-1996, the largest piece of civil litigation in the UK. He retired in 2008 at a relatively young age to pursue his interests in mediation and arbitration.
Since retiring he has sat as a Deputy High Court Judge in London and as an additional Judge of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. He has extensive experience in dealing with commercial claims including, in particular, claims relating to: insurance and re-insurance; banking and financial services; shipping and the construction of ships; the exploitation of oil and gas reserves and other natural resources; the carriage of goods; export and import of goods; arbitration; international disputes between states; business contracts; the operation of markets and exchanges; the purchase and sale of commodities; major construction projects/domestic and international; business agency; and disputes concerning information technology.
Sir Baker has been a supplementary judge of the Qatar International Court since 2011. Sir Baker was appointed a High Court Judge in the Family Division in England and Wales in 1988, having previously held judicial office as a Recorder and practised as a barrister specialising in a number of legal areas including family finance and professional negligence. He became a High Court Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division in 1993. He was Presiding Judge of the Wales and Chester Court Circuit from 1991-1995 and a member of the Parole Board from 1999-2002. He was the Lead Judge of the Administrative Court from 2000-2002 and was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2002.
He was a member of the Committee that inquired into human fertilisation from 1982-1984, chaired by Mary Warnock, which led to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. From 2007-2008 he was coroner for the inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, and more recently conducted an official review of the US-UK Extradition Treaty.