The Department of Economic Development (DED) of Dubai has recently instituted Business Protection Department (BPD) solely for reconciling commercial disputes between businesses and will act as a local commercial dispute-resolution authority.

As opposed to the present scenario, the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Department (CCCPD) was responsible for settling consumer disputes. However, the business to business disputes remained unsettled and undetermined. As an outcome, even trifle matters became controversial and adversarial thus, the need for a convenient and amicable means to resolve the dispute raised, hence the establishment of BPD.

The BPD is responsible for providing a "National Dispute Settlement Service" in the Emirate which accommodates complaints raised by the parties Licensed in Dubai. Apart from being an exclusive settlement committee, the BPD act as an educational authority ensuring the traders in Dubai understand the rules and regulations to facilitate a healthy business environment. Organizing workshops, conventions and distributing books to entities licensed within Dubai to escalate awareness among the business enterprises. Lawyers in UAE will assist you in understanding the roles and responsibilities of BPD and their jurisdiction in corporate matters.

BPD's Jurisdiction

BPD is an Informal Dispute Resolution Body with limited jurisdiction and sole objective of assisting the Dubai Courts. As a sub-department of CCCPD, BPD only undertakes Business to Business disputes which extend only to businesses licenses in Dubai with a minimum capital of AED 200,000. However, it is not mandatory for the parties to present in Dubai at the time of the Mediation Conference. On the Contrary, BPD is not authorized to act as a mediator for International traders not having a license from DED essentially because BPD will not be considered as a resourceful authority to coerce the other party to resolve the matter prior to reaching courts. Likewise, the dispute between the individuals not licensed with DED is beyond the jurisdiction of BPD.

BPD is strictly restricted to act as a mediator or to hold mediation conference in disputes commercial, whereas, dispute about insurance, banking, real estate, labour does not fall under the jurisdiction of BPD. It is considered as an alternative to resolve the dispute amicably and does not act as a tribunal.

Procedure for Filing Complaint

Companies or individuals representing the entities registered with DED can register their complaint either via email or through telephonic call or manually at DED branch of CCCPD along with the relevant documents evidencing the claim with a non-refundable fee of AED 2,020.

Upon receiving the complaint, BPD arbitrators review the case file and comprehend if the matter falls within their jurisdiction and determine if they are apt for acting as a mediator or should the matter be referred to another competent authority. In the event the matter is accepted by the BPD arbitrators, they contact the respondents for the initial conference either by phone calls or personal meeting in accordance with the convenience of the parties. BPD has ensured to resolve the dispute with ten business working days. However, it may extend depending upon the merits of the case.

Judgments and Appeals

The dispute resolution mechanism undertaken by BPD is discretionary and is not binding. The basis of BPD's determination is their expertise and familiarity with the dispute. Thus, an ad hoc approach rather than having formal procedures. The decisions passed by BPD does not involve precedents although they have successfully resolved numerous case from the time of establishments.

The decision passed by BPD is a final decision, and there is no scope to file an appeal against the same decision. Yet, the parties are not bound by the judgment and will also have an opportunity to refer the matters before relevant courts. Thus, neither the process nor the decision of BPD restricts either party to file the case before an appropriate judicial authority.

Department of Economic Development is the principal licensing authority in the Emirate of Dubai for companies undertaking commercial activities wherein BPD is a sub-department possessing the authority to block or provisionally suspend the license of the companies registered with DED. Subsequently, the authority can impose penalties including fines for instances where either party fails to attend the hearing when summoned, not adhering to BPD's decisions post accepting the mediation process.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.