Monday, July 6, 2009

Focus on: Litigation in Oman

Summer time is when the Oman Courts almost go into hibernation; very few hearings take place between July 1 and September 30.

However, in many ways it is the most crucial time in Omani litigation, because the Court-appointed experts are often writing their reports to the Courts over these three months.

It is probably true to say that, about 90% of the time, the Omani Courts rubber-stamp and approve the report conclusions reached by the experts who have been appointed by those Courts.

The Courts in Oman choose to appoint experts in most cases, and they frequently turn to local private-sector accountants when monetary compensation is claimed.

In these cases, it is not the Oman Courts that must be persuaded - rather, one must convince the experts appointed by the Courts. Experts meet with the parties separately to hear arguments and receive documents. These meetings are central to determining who wins and loses in Oman Court cases.

Lawyers play an important part in assisting and guiding their clients in meetings with experts. Good preparation is a prerequisite, as is an ability to answer all the enquiries made by the experts in these face-to-face scenarios.

The general rule in Omani law is that an aggrieved party will be compensated for its direct losses, as opposed to indirect losses.

However, there is no clear-cut Omani judicial definition of “direct“ and “indirect“, and it should be borne in mind that most of the experts do not have qualifications in law in any event. Accordingly, it is the lawyers who need to convince the experts whether a specific head of claim should be perceived as direct or indirect.

It should also be remembered that Omani law includes a duty to mitigate one’s losses and, equally, Egyptian case law is highly persuasive to experts and the Courts in Oman.