Blockade on Qatar: Firms to approach international courts
28 Nov 2017 – 0:29
Mathew Heaton (left), Head of Office at Al Tamimi & Co; and Roy Georgiades, Senior Associate at Al Tamimi & Co.
With the Saudi-led quartet countries’ unjust blockade on Qatar completing six months in a week’s time, local and international law firms are reviewing large number of cases for damage claims filed by scores of companies and hundreds of individuals, legal experts familiar with such cases, told The Peninsula.
The affected parties have filed cases in a number of courts including in Qatar, UAE, Saud Arabia, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
Damage compensation claims made by businesses, companies and individuals for all kinds of losses they suffered (or have been suffering) due to the illegal economic and diplomatic siege, are very strong cases, both as per Qatari civil laws as well as international laws, say law experts handling scores of these cases.
They say that Qatari civil laws have provisions to resolve all sorts of disputes and cases, including those arising due to illegal siege.
Qatar formed a Compensation Claims Committee (CCC) on July 9, under the Chairmanship of the Attorney-General, H E Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri and membership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a member from the Ministry of Justice to consider the compensation issues or bring cases to the competent domestic and international courts.
Thousands of companies, businesses, traders, including scores of private individuals, have suffered damages due to the ongoing economic and diplomatic siege imposed by Saudi-led four Arab countries on June 5. Since then the committee has transferred over 6,300 complaints to international law firms, according to available data. “Qatari laws cover all the possibilities and scenarios with regard to disputes and damages, including losses suffered due to unexpected incidents. The Qatari civil laws talk about this very clearly, which include “force measures”, said Roy Georgiades, Senior Associate at Al Tamimi & Co, one of the leading legal services providers in the country.
Georgiades added: “As a law firm we have also received many requests from clients seeking legal advice on wide range of issues which include legal position of contracts with companies. We have also received requests from businesses and other organisations regarding procedures to file complaints with the CCC.”
He said in addition to local legal services providers, many international law firms are also looking into these claims, which are being submitted to competent courts and appropriate tribunals. Asked about the nature of damage claims and the merits of the cases, Georgiades said that there cannot be “one black and white answer” for all the cases. It depends on many things, which vary case by case, and also the nature of each contract. “But in any scenarios there is strong ground and condition to claim compensation under Qatari laws,” Georgiades said.
Yet another legal expert, Mathew Heaton, Head of Office at Al Tamimi & Co, speaking to this newspaper, added: “A lot of work is being undertaken at the moment by companies, organisations, and individuals who are facing losses (due to the blockade). We are also engaged with a lot of entities, both government and private firms, seeking advice for compensation claims against damages. They are not only limited to Qatar, but a lot of orgnisations are also based in other members of the GCC countries.”
The compensation committee was divided into three sections. One section is fully dedicated to examining cases of businesses and traders affected by the abrupt closure of land, sea and air routes by the blockading countries.
The second section examine cases related to human rights violations, while the third one deals with cases involving government organizations, such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. This also deals with cases of damage claims suffered by civil aviation service providers, marine transport companies, insurance and banking services providers.