LOST IN TRANS­LA­TION

Qatar Today - - BUSINESS > LISTENING POST -

tem he con­sid­ers near-ideal. “It's not about the laws; it's about the im­ple­men­ta­tion,” he says. When it comes to Qatari courts, un­like cer­tain ju­ris­dic­tions, the ju­di­ciary and the ex­ec­u­tive are sep­a­rated and if the laws may seem to ex­tend a higher level of pro­tec­tion to na­tion­als, “it is not to the detri­ment of for­eign­ers”. Trans­parency, how­ever, has some ways to go still. “And this is not due to any in­ten­tion to hide the le­gal process from the pub­lic,” he clar­i­fies, “but more be­cause of lack of re­sources.” If we wanted, we could en­ter any court and sit in all day long to lis­ten to the var­i­ous cases be­ing fought, he says (ex­cept in cer­tain cases where the par­ties can ask for the hear­ings to be pri­vate), how­ever the is­sue lies in the num­ber of judg­ments pub­lished. “The Court of Cas­sa­tion pub­lishes se­lect judg­ments – a land­mark rul­ing that sets a stan­dard in deal­ing with cer­tain cases, for ex­am­ple. Th­ese serve as an im­por­tant ref­er­ence for lawyers and the gen­eral pub­lic while re­search­ing prece­dents. The Min­istry of Jus­tice's le­gal por­tal, Al Meezan, even trans­lates some of th­ese into English. This is com­mend­able work and one that takes a lot of time and ef­fort. This must con­tinue to in­crease,” Kab­bani in­sists. This process is im­por­tant for the con­stant evo­lu­tion of laws, as lawyers can iden­tify “judg­ments is­sued in relation a grey area of the law or an ar­ti­cle that is not prop­erly drafted and ap­proach legislators about im­prov­ing the same”.

Some laws, more than oth­ers, cer­tainly need to be re­vis­ited. We are cu­ri­ous about the con­cerns of his clients, many of whom are un­doubt­edly mem­bers of the Qatar Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, about the long-an­tic­i­pated changes in the labour and im­mi­gra­tion law. The last we heard, the Min­istry of Labour and So­cial Af­fairs had sub­mit­ted the draft of the law to the cham­ber and was await­ing its rec­om­men­da­tions. Does he ex­pect any re­sis­tance from the business com­mu­nity? “There is a real in­ten­tion to im­prove ex­ist­ing laws to ad­dress some of the ex­pec­ta­tions of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” Kab­bani says diplo­mat­i­cally, “The ques­tion is just about when.” A new law doesn't man­i­fest it­self in a fort­night and re­quires dili­gent con­sid­er­a­tion of the im­pli­ca­tions, he con­tests, es­pe­cially when it con­cerns some­thing so sen­si­tive and per­va­sive. “It will take time to re­view, to iron out the loop­holes and ham­mer out some­thing that ev­ery­one is in agree­ment on. I can't say if it's tak­ing time be­cause there is a con­sul­ta­tion with the larger Qatari com­mu­nity. But the cham­ber rep­re­sents most of the busi­nesses in Qatar and this process is very im­por­tant as it is re­flec­tive of the real needs and con­cerns of the lo­cal business com­mu­nity,” he says.

They are prob­a­bly most wary about at­tract­ing and train­ing tal­ent only to lose them to com­peti­tors, he feels. But non-com­pete clauses, which are pretty boil­er­plate across com­pa­nies around the world, just seem more dras­tic here be­cause of the dis­pro­por­tion­ate ex­pat pop­u­la­tion and be­cause be­ing out of a job dur­ing the non-com­pete pe­riod most cer­tainly means hav­ing to leave the coun­try as ex­pats will need a work per­mit to re­main in the coun­try . Nonethe­less, the rec­om­men­da­tions, when they come, might most likely con­cern cat­e­gori­sa­tion ac­cord­ing to sec­tors, ac­cord­ing to Kab­bani. “Like ev­ery­one else, I too am wait­ing to see what hap­pens.”

CON­TRACTS DO NOT HAVE TO BE DRAFTED IN ARA­BIC AND THEY ARE OF­TEN DRAFTED IN ENGLISH IN QATAR. HOW­EVER IF DIS­PUTES ARISE AND ARE TO BE DE­CIDED BY THE QATARI COURTS, ALL CON­TRACTS, COR­RE­SPON­DENCE AND DOC­U­MENTS WILL NEED TO BE TRANS­LATED INTO ARA­BIC. ENGLISH LAW CON­TRACTS ARE OF­TEN COPIED AND USED IN QATAR WITH­OUT REAL CON­SID­ER­A­TION OF THE WAY QATARI LAW WOULD TREAT THE CON­CEPTS WHICH MEANS QATARI COURTS CAN TAKE A VERY DIF­FER­ENT VIEW FROM WHAT THE PAR­TIES IN­TENDED. THERE ARE NO OF­FI­CIAL TRANS­LA­TIONS OF QATARI LAWS INTO ENGLISH THERE­FORE HIGHLY QUAL­I­FIED BILIN­GUAL LAWYERS AT IN­TER­NA­TIONAL LAW FIRMS LIKE EVER­SHEDS HAVE AN IM­POR­TANT ROLE TO PLAY. WHILST OB­TAIN­ING LE­GAL AD­VICE IS OF­TEN SEEN AS A DE­LAY­ING FAC­TOR WHEN RUSH­ING TO CLOSE A TRANS­AC­TION, IT CAN BE CRU­CIAL TO EN­SURE THAT THE PAR­TIES ARE GET­TING THE DEAL AND PRO­TEC­TION THEY WANT.

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