Doha: Dr Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khulaifi (pictured), Qatari Lawyer and Assistant Professor of Commercial Law at Qatar University (QU), was a guest speaker at a public lecture at Georgetown University (GU-Q) where he spoke about ‘Insights into the Qatari Legal System’, including a brief history of Qatari law, a review of legal departments, and steps required in enacting laws today.
Dr Khulaifi spoke about the history of legal dispute resolutions in Qatar stretching back to the seventh century, noting that pearl divers used to go to Al Salfa judiciary, a group of well-known people specialised in a particular method of dispute resolution based on customs.
Qatar passed through the period of the British mandate, after which “the British courts were eliminated when Qatar declared its independence in 1971, and replaced by the Qatari Justice Courts,” he said.
He said these new courts had full authority to rule in cases related to civil, commercial, and criminal law, while the Shariah Court specialised in family disputes, inheritance, and other Islamic law.
In 2003, there was yet another shift in the legal system when both judicial entities merged into a single entity called The Qatari Courts. In 2005, the Court of Cassation was established, the apex court.
Dr Al Khulaifi also discussed challenges of ensuring that commercial laws keep pace with Qatar’s economic development, saying: “Qatar is engaged in projects worth about $250bn, according to projectqatar.com. To provide full legal protection to them from any misinterpretation of law, regulations of the country must be solid in illustrating the rights and obligations of each business, especially regulations concerning the insurance and construction sectors.”
Dr Al Khulaifi is also Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, QU, and is frequently consulted by governmental institutions for to opinions on matters related to commercial legislation in Qatar.