Global menu

Our global pages


The expanding jurisdiction of the QFC Court in Qatar

  • Middle East
  • Financial services disputes and investigations
  • Litigation and dispute management


As the Qatar Financial Centre ("QFC") Court’s importance grows in Qatar’s legal and financial market, so does its jurisdiction. On 1 September 2021, the Qatari Government enacted amendments to Law No. 34 of 2005 on Free Zones (the “Free Zones Law”) and Law No. 7 of 2005 (the “QFC Law”), expanding the jurisdiction of the Civil and Commercial Court of the QFC Court (the “QICDRC”).

By virtue of the new amendments, the QICDRC’s jurisdiction has been expanded to cover the Qatar Free Zones, the Qatar Free Zones Authority and companies registered at the Free Zones. The new amendments to the Free Zones Law were published in the Official Gazette on 14 September 2021 and they will become effective a month after publication.

The jurisdiction of the QICDRC is stipulated in Article 8.3(c) of the QFC Law, which gives the first instance circuit jurisdiction to hear civil and commercial disputes arising from:

a) transactions, contracts, arrangements or incidences taking place in or from the QFC between the entities established therein;

b) matters between QFC institutions and other entities established therein;

c) matters between entities established in the QFC and contractors therewith and employees thereof, unless the parties agree otherwise; or

d) transactions, contracts or arrangements taking place between entities established within the QFC and residents of Qatar, or entities established in Qatar but outside the QFC, unless the parties agree otherwise.

The new amendments to the Free Zones Law (pursuant to Article 2 of Qatar Law No. 15 of 2021 amending Article 44 of the Free Zones Law) provide that the QICDRC will now have jurisdiction to decide all civil and commercial disputes and lawsuits filed between:

a) companies registered at the Free Zones;

b) the Free Zones Authority and the individuals and companies registered at the Free Zones; or

c) companies registered at the Free Zones and the individuals residing in the State or the companies or entities established outside the Free Zones, regardless of the nature of the legal relationship or subject of the dispute, unless the parties agree on settling the dispute by alternative means.

Similarly, the new amendments to the QFC Law (pursuant to Article 2 of Qatar Law No. 14 of 2021 amending Article 8.2(c) of the QFC Law) extend the jurisdiction of the Regulatory Tribunal to hear appeals filed by “entities over whose disputes jurisdiction is given to [the QICDRC] by law.

This expansion of the QICDRC’s jurisdiction follows its recognition as a “Competent Court”, for the purposes of the Qatar Arbitration Law (Law No. 2 of 2017). This provides parties arbitrating pursuant to the Qatar Arbitration Law the opportunity to select the QICDRC as the body to provide various supportive and supervisory functions, including the appointment and removal of arbitrators, assistance with the taking of evidence, determining challenges to jurisdiction as well as hearing nullification applications.

Together, these amendments signal the expanding jurisdiction of the QICDRC in Qatar and its success over the past decade to build a specialised judicial authority and a world-class international court.

For more information, please contact: