Comments on the Draft Law Establishing the Investment & Commerce Court Part 1
There has been an urgent need to enact a law that keeps pace with the electronic and digital evolution and directly contributes to the advancement of the state and realizing its vision on development and growth. Therefore, the Qatari legislators issued on 18/10/2021 AD Law No. (21) of Year 2021 regarding the establishment of a new court called the Investment and Commerce Court which is considered a genuine breakthrough in modern legislations related to litigation and prompt adjudication of cases as a matter of urgency and in an unconventional way before courts.
Given that perspective, the legislators establish a separate headquarters for this court and prepare an independent budget related to the budget of the Supreme Judicial Council. The court shall be chaired by a judge who must hold a position not lower than a vice president of the Court of Appeal by a decision issued by the Supreme Judicial Council and upon the proposal of the President of the Supreme Judicial Council. A sufficient number of judges, employees, clerks and translators shall be appointed to work at this court.
The Composition of the Court and Its Circuits:
The Court shall consist of circuits of first instance and appeal circuits. Their judges shall be appointed and selected by the Supreme Judicial Council from the judges of the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal. Each circuit of first instance shall consist of three court judges and each circuit shall be headed by its senior members. The Council may delegate whomever it deems appropriate from the judges of the Court of Appeal to chair a circuit of first instance of the court for a term of one year which shall be renewable for a similar period or periods.
Each of the court’s appeal circuits shall be composed of three judges selected from the judges of the Court of Appeals and each circuit shall be headed by its senior members. The Council may select whomever it deems appropriate from the judges of the Court of Cassation to chair an appeal circuit.
Perhaps one of the new elements that was lacking in other laws is that the court has a general assembly. The same provisions set out for the general assemblies of the courts as stipulated in the judicial authority law shall apply to the composition of the court, the procedures to be followed before it, the powers and jurisdiction conferred on it and the decisions issued by the court.
Competencies of the Investment and Commerce Court:
First, First Instance Circuit consisting of three judges:
The first instance circuit is composed of three judges and has jurisdiction to issue first instance judgments in a set of commercial cases and disputes. It is not surprising that if it is said that most cases and disputes will be considered before this court due to its extensive jurisdiction as stipulated in the law on the establishment thereof. The jurisdiction of the Civil Court of First Instance provided for in the Procedures Law shall be limited to adjudication of cases that are not related to the disputes outlined in the Law on the establishment of the Investment and Commerce Court. The Procedures Law stipulates that the Civil Court of First Instance consisting of three judges shall be competent to consider all cases whose value is not less than 500000 Riyals. The court considers and adjudicates upon all commercial, civil and administrative cases and other cases as provided by the Procedures Law unless otherwise stipulated by a specific law. The court shall also consider some cases and disputes for other bodies of judicial competence other than the Civil Court of First Instance. Accordingly, the Investment Court shall have jurisdiction to consider cases and disputes, except for those which are related to leases and labor and the administrative disputes as well.
Cases and disputes to be considered by the Court of First Instance consisting of three judges at the Investment and Commerce Court:
- Disputes related to commercial contracts, including commercial representation contracts and commercial agencies.
- Cases arising between merchants in connection with their commercial activities.
- Disputes arising between partners or shareholders in corporations or between any of them and the company as the case may be, including public shareholding companies whose shares are listed for trade on the stock exchanges.
- Disputes over commercial assets.
- Disputes arising on the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activities.
- Disputes over maritime sales.
- The disputes related to banks’ operations, trade notes, insurance companies, financing, and investment companies.
8. Disputes related to bankruptcy and preventive composition from bankruptcy.
9. Disputes related to patents, trademarks, industrial templates, trade secrets, and other intellectual property rights.
10. Disputes related to competition protection and prevention of anti-competitive practices, and combating the harmful practices by the national products in international trade.
11. Disputes related to e-trading and its transactions.
12. Disputes related to partnership contracts between both governmental and private sectors.
Second: Court of First Instance which is composed of one judge:-
Law of Investment and trade enabled the court of the first instance or more, which is composed of one judge, to settle the lawsuits and disputes related to investment and trade issues, as determined by the Supreme Judicial Council, whose value is no more than ten million riyals. This court, which is composed of one judge, has the jurisdiction to issue performance orders, whatsoever its value, without any requirement to charge the debtor to pay thereof and settle the grievances provided in its respect.
Jurisdiction to settle the summary actions:-
The selection of the court judges who settle the summary commercial actions shall be by the president of the court. The president of the court may appoint one or more judges, provided that the selected judge shall be at least in the degree of the president of the court of the first instance, and the powers he has shall be as follows:
1. Temporarily judge in the summary actions, in which there is fear of the lapse of time without prejudice to the principal right.
2. Issue writs on the petition and temporary orders
Challenging judgment and grievance on orders shall be for the judge of summary actions before any court of the first instance, and its award shall be irrevocable.
It is worth noting that the jurisdiction related to the summary action judge does not prevent the jurisdiction of the court of the first instance of summary action and writs on the petition, and summary orders if submitted through affiliation. Contesting judgment, grievance on petitions issued before the court of appeal in this event, and its judgment shall be irrevocable.
First: Appeal the judgments and performance orders issued by the Court of First Instant in investment and trade courts:
The appeal circuits in the court have the jurisdiction to settle the appeals filed thereto in respect of judgments and performance orders issued by the Courts of First Instance. The appeal date is fifteen days from the date of notifying the concerned parties. Otherwise, the legal term provided for appealing the judgments issued by the Civil Court of First Instance, as stated in civil procedures law, and determined by thirty days from the date of judgment or wording thereof.
The date of appealing the rendered judgments in summary actions and grievance from the writs of the petition, summary orders (seven days) from the date of notifying the concerned persons, which contradict the aforementioned information provided in the Proceedings Law that the appeal against the rendered judgments issued in summary actions shall be within twenty days.
Author: Mohanad Babiker | Senior Legal Consultant.