Wednesday, December 23, 2015

When An Employee Discloses Confidential Information or Makes False Disparaging Remarks About An Employer

This article provides a brief summary as to the basis upon which an employer can terminate an employee’s service in the event the employee commits a breach of confidentiality or makes disparaging remarks about the employer.

In short, and perhaps unsurprisingly, an employer can fire an employee for disclosing confidential
information or for making disparaging remarks about the employer in public.

In a recent Omani Court case, an employer had been notified by a third party about one of its employees who was heard making disparaging remarks about the company in a public place. Moreover, the third party also stated that they had overheard the employee misuse confidential information.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Terminating An Employment Contract For Gross Misconduct: An Employer's Practical Guide

Whilst Omani Courts are generally inclined to be highly protective of employees, a recent Appeal Court decision has re-affirmed the long-recognized position that an employer can terminate the employment of an employee who has committed acts considered by the Omani Labor Law to be acts of gross misconduct without having to pay damages (indeed, the Omani Labor Law provides that in the specified cases the company need not provide notice or pay end-of-service gratuity either). An act of gross misconduct can include, for example, using a false identity, intoxication or assault at the workplace, or continued absenteeism.

Pursuant to Article 40(9) of Royal Decree 35/2003 (as amended) (the “Labour Law”), an Employer is authorized to dismiss an Employee without prior notice should that Employee “commit a major violation of his duty agreed upon in his employment contract.” The law does not define what constitutes a “major violation” and Omani Courts have interpreted the definition in a wide manner.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Importation Of Food Into Oman – What You Need To Know

In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, understanding Omani customs laws is very important. This article sets out the rules and regulations that are relevant for an importer of food products.

Importation of food products into Oman is governed by the Uniform Customs Law (“UCL”) of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (“AGCC”) issued by Sultani Decree No. 67 of 2003.

Oman has signed a free trade agreement with the United States and, therefore, imports of nearly all U.S. products are duty-free, provided the products are for consumption in Oman. The UCL imposes a five percent ad valorem duty on almost all products imported from non-GCC countries. However, live animals, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, grains, flours, tea, sugar, spices and seeds for planting are exempt from customs duty. Tobacco, pork, and alcohol products are assessed at 100% customs duty.

When a shipment reaches Oman, the importer on record (i.e., the owner, purchaser, or licensed customs broker designated by the owner, purchaser, or consignee) will file entry documents for the goods with the Directorate General of Customs (“Directorate”). Documents that are required to be submitted to the Directorate include:


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What Does The EU's Proposed "Investment Court System" Mean For The Rest Of The World?

On 12 November 2015, the European Commission transmitted its proposal for an Investment Court System (“ICS”) that would replace the investor-State dispute settlement (“ISDS”) mechanisms in its future trade and investment agreements, starting with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“TTIP”) agreement being negotiated with the United States. Although the ICS proposal may, for now, be a matter between the EU and US, it constitutes a major reform initiative that should be of interest to other States and their investors.

What is the European Commission Proposing?

The current ISDS system provides for foreign investors to submit disputes concerning the host States’ treatment of their investments for resolution by international arbitration tribunals. These tribunals are established on an ad hoc basis, typically with each side appointing one arbitrator and the presiding arbitrator appointed by agreement or by an independent institution, such as the International Court of Justice. The decisions of the tribunals are binding, and are generally subject to very limited and decentralized appellate review.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Welcome to Dominic Pilkington

We are pleased to announce that Dominic Pilkington has joined the Litigation Team as Counsel.

Mr. Pilkington has over 20 years’ experience in building and construction law, construction disputes, arbitration, mediation and adjudication. Further, prior to becoming a qualified lawyer, Mr. Pilkington was a qualified civil and structural engineer.

Mr. Pilkington has worked extensively in both Australia and Dubai, advising and assisting major developers, contractors, and energy and resources companies in relation to various major construction and infrastructure projects, particularly in relation to disputes that have arisen during the course of such projects.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Legal Updates - November 30, 2015

Royal Decree 35/2015: The Law on Regulating the Profession of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Establishments

RD 35/2015 promulgates the law regulating the profession of pharmacists and pharmacies (the “Pharmacy Law”). The Pharmacy Law introduces a number of measures designed to protect Omani pharmacists from foreign competition and to prevent the formation of monopolies in the pharmaceutical sector.

Such measures include limiting the number of pharmacies an individual may open to one, restricting the number of branches that any given pharmacy may open, and stipulating the minimum distance between pharmacies.

Article 11 provides that either the owner of any pharmaceutical establishment or one of his partners must be an Omani partner. The Minster of Health may waive the requirement for a pharmaceutical qualification in areas where pharmaceutical services are scarce.

It is hoped that the law will help Omani pharmacists find jobs in pharmacies, increase the availability and distribution of pharmaceutical services over a greater area, and encourage investment in the sector.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Law of Muscat Municipality

In line with new plans for a complete restructuring of the strategies and objectives of Muscat Municipality (the “Municipality”), 3812015 came into effect on the 13 October 2015, thereby replacing the RD 8/1992.

The new law aims to achieve greater efficiencies. It specifies that the Municipality shall achieve its objectives by utilizing the funds allocated to it by the State, the profits incurred from its investments and the general revenue that the Municipality collects from fees and charges.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Enforcement of Omani Court Judgments and Arbitration Awards in Commercial Disputes Process and Procedure

The Enforcement Department is a separate authority within the Omani Primary Courts which overlooks all aspects of enforcement.

Each Primary Court in the country is furnished with at least one enforcement judge who is also a member of the Primary Court judge panels.

Enforcement judges have jurisdiction to review all disputes, applications and requests in relation to enforcement of judgments / awards as well as any preliminary and emergency applications in ongoing commercial cases involving matters under their jurisdiction.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Director's Duties in Oman

The functions and powers of a director of a joint stock company and a manager of a limited liability company (“LLC”) are provided for in a company’s articles of association (“articles”) or constitutive contract and the Commercial Companies Law as promulgated by Oman Royal Decree (“RD”) 7/1974 (as amended) (the “CCL”). In addition, the board of directors (the “Board”) of a public joint stock company (SAOG) will be subject to the Code of Corporate Governance (the “Code”), which shall become effective on 22 July 2016. However, the Code shall come into effect for each SAOG upon the expiration of the validation period of the Board, even if the validation period is before 22 July 2016.

The Code provides a framework for the management and control of SAOGs listed on the Muscat Securities Market, and outlines the composition of the Board (Principle 2) in Omani companies, as well as the functions and powers attributed to them (Principle 3).


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Without Prejudice in Oman

In common law jurisdictions, the term ‘without prejudice’ is a reservation made on a statement suggesting that it cannot be used against the publishing party in future dealings or litigation or arbitration. – DUHAIME’S LAW DICTIONARY.

The policy behind the common law rule is to encourage settlements and to promote free and frank discussion toward that end. If parties in a dispute are encouraged to resolve their differences without taking up the time of a court or an arbitral tribunal, they must be able to communicate freely without the fear that what they say or write will be used against them in evidence as admissions. If the communication is a genuine attempt to settle a dispute, it will be protected from being produced in evidence.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Legal Update - New Regulation on the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates

Royal Decree 32 of 2015 (the “RD”) promulgates the new Public Establishment for Industrial Estates Regulation (the “New Regulation”) which repeals Royal Decree 4 of 1993 which promulgated the regulation that used to govern the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (“PEIE”).  The RD was issued on July 21, 2015 and came into effect on July 27, 2015.

It is evident from the wording of the New Regulation that emphasis is given to social development and it is intended to go hand-in-hand with the planned economic development to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable economic and social development.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

IPOs from a Family Business Perspective - Pre-IPO Legal Due Diligence

The GCC region has a high number of family run businesses. Recently Oman has witnessed a growing interest amongst such businesses to opt for an IPO. To initiate an IPO, an internal decision must be made by the shareholders. Once the decision has been made to pursue the IPO, the legal advisor has an important role to carry out comprehensive legal due diligence with the cooperation of management and shareholders. Due diligence is critical to examine the business’s legal risks such as its corporate and tax position, major contractors with suppliers and customers, and debts and liabilities. 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Mining and Mineral Activities in Oman

Together the Mining Law and Executive Regulations govern mining activities in Oman. There are various types of mining licence which include: (1) exploration; (2) drilling; (3) mining of which there are six categories; (4) sustenance; and (5) mining concession. Any license holder has the right to carry out exploration, drilling, development or mining operation in accordance with the license issued, as outlined in the Client Bulletin. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is responsible for granting licenses and also suspension and cancellation of any right to mining.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Purchasing a Business in Oman: Asset Purchase or Share Purchase?

To acquire a business in Oman through an Asset Purchase the purchaser will need to have a legal presence and commercial registration in Oman, whereas a Share Purchaser does not. A Share Purchaser may also be administratively quicker and cheaper than an Asset Purchase. In addition, there are other concerns that may affect an Asset Purchaser such as assigning lease contracts and the transfer of employees and maintaining Omanisation requirements.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Legal Updates - September 27, 2015

RD  30/2015: Establishing  Oman  Governance  and  Sustainability  Centre  and  Promulgating its Regulation


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Penalties for Delay Under Omani Construction Contracts

Considering that construction projects are characteristically very complex, project delays are, at times, to be expected. However, contractors must be wary that a penalty may be levied if the contractor fails to complete its full scope of works by the agreed-upon project milestones / completion date if the contractor is responsible for the delay.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Oman’s Code of Corporate Governance

The Capital Markets Authority’s Code defines a binding model framework for the management and regulation of all public joint stock companies, to promote transparency, accountability, fairness, and responsibility.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Double Taxation Agreement: Switzerland and Oman

The DTA applies to taxes on income and on capital appreciation, and is likely to bring economic and trade relations benefits to Oman. Eligibility depends on meeting the definitions of “Resident” and “Permanent Establishment”, outlined below.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Procedural Requirements for Obtaining Income Tax Exemption Status

The Income Tax Law establishes requirements for income tax exemption. If eligible, a company has to follow the rules and procedures set down by Ministerial Decision No. 46 of 2005, and set forth below, to claim that exemption.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Curtis Insight Series Breakfast Seminar - Wednesday, September 2nd 2015

The most recent seminar in the highly successful Curtis Insight Series, hosted by Curtis Oman at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Muscat, attracted 52 attendees. The topic - IPOs from a Family Business Perspective - was covered from various angles by Taimur Malik (Curtis Oman), Khalid Ansari (Partner-in-charge, KPMG Oman) and Lo’ai Badie Bataineh (Head of Investment Management and Development, Oman Arab Bank).


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Welcome to Thomas Miers

We are pleased to announce that Thomas Miers has joined the Corporate Team as a Senior Associate. Mr. Miers brings with him extensive international corporate and transactional experience comprising negotiated acquisitions and disposals, strategic investments and divestments, complex joint venture arrangements, corporate reconstructions, property transactions, general commercial and regulatory advice, acquisition and divestment transactions and transactions covering multijurisdictional regimes.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Legal Updates - August 30, 2015

RD 28/2015: Promulgating the Law on Granting Concession to Develop, Manage and Operate Duqm Port

A new Royal Decree has been issued in July, Royal Decree No. 28/2015 promulgating the Law on granting concession to develop, manage and operate Duqm Port and endorsing its related agreements.

Additionally, the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority has issued two decisions:

Decision No. 326/2015 issuing the regulations of the environmental permits in Duqm Special Economic Zone; and
Decision No. 327/2015 issuing the regulation of the utilization of state-owned lands in Duqm Special Economic Zone.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Free Trade Agreement Between European Free Trade Association and GCC Countries

The Free Trade Agreement (“FTA”) between European Free Trade Association (“EFTA”) States of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) was signed on 22 June 2009 in Norway. The FTA established EFTA-GCC Joint Committee as the body responsible for supervising the implementation of the FTA.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Conducting Promotional Offers in Oman

Promotional offers in Oman are governed by regulations set out in Ministerial Decision No. 239/2013 (“Regulations”).  It is important for a commercial establishment to comply with the Regulations in order to conduct a promotional offer in Oman.  As such, this article sets out the main provisions as set out in the Regulations.


Monday, August 17, 2015

The Changing Approach of the Omani Judiciary

It is common knowledge that the Omani civil system, much like the rest of the GCC member states, is heavily based on the Egyptian civil system.  This is evident when comparing the principles underpinning Omani law contracts and the Omani Civil Transactions Law with the Egyptian civil code.  Similarly, Omani jurisprudence has traditionally observed and followed the Egyptian system, notably by the outcome of Omani Supreme Court judgments.  Over the years, however, there has been a shift in Oman in the way judges conduct their respective hearings and the way in which cases are adjudicated.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Effective Management of Arbitration: Lessons From the Revised 2012 International Chamber of Commerce Rules

It is often said that resolving disputes through arbitration can permit flexibility, innovation and cost/time saving. This is more likely when a client and legal counsel give thought and effort to develop early and effective case management. Efficiency in time and cost is best achieved when both a client and their legal advisors have a clear strategy, and work towards it together.

The 2012 International Chamber of Commerce (the “2012 ICC”) rules were held out as a gold standard in assisting parties to more effectively manage their arbitral proceedings. This article looks at options that parties and their legal advisors should consider at the preliminary stages, and revisit during the arbitration process.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Curtis Selected as Top Global 20 Firm by Law360

We are very happy to announce that Law360 has ranked Curtis as one of its Global 20 law firms.  Curtis ranked 13th overall in the prestigious annual Global 20 list, which recognizes the 20 law firms “which had the biggest global presence and handled the largest, most significant and groundbreaking international and cross-border matters over the past year.”

The Global 20, writes Law360, “is a mix of multinational powerhouses, vereins and U.S. firms with a small but significant presence in key global markets." 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Law on Anti-Dumping

Royal Decree 20 of 2015 (“RD”), published in the Official Gazette on 24 May 2015, promulgates the GCC Common Law on Anti-Dumping, Countervailing Measures and Safeguards. The RD came into force the day after its publication and it is expected to ensure a “level playing field” between domestic companies and imports into Oman by providing for “anti-dumping” (“AD”) and “countervailing duties” (“CVD”) where dumped or unfairly subsidized imports have injured the domestic industry in Oman.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Work Hours Sensitivity during Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of Hijri/Islamic calendar which is considered to be the holiest month in the year when Muslims worldwide do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours. Ramadan begins on sighting of the moon as per the lunar calendar and ends with the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr. Fasting is considered to be one of the five pillars of Islam. During the holy month, Muslims give extra emphasis on prayers, spirituality, inner strength and patience.

During this period it is important for colleagues, managers, supervisors and other stakeholders to be sensitive to the requirements of their Muslim colleagues.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Register a Trademark in Oman

A trademark under Omani law is defined as “A mark that may be subjected to topography in a specific manner that allows the distinguishing of goods (trademark) or services (service marks) produced by a particular establishment from those produced by other establishments. The mark may, in particular, be words (including personal names), drawings, letters, colours, group of colours, numbers, shape of goods, their canning, three-dimensional pictures, geographical indicators, voices, fragrance or taste.”

The Law of Industrial Property Rights promulgated pursuant to Royal Decree 67 of 2008 (the “IP Law”) is the legislation that governs trademarks in Oman and Ministerial Decision 105/2008 sets out the Executive Regulations for the IP Law (the “Executive Regulations”).


Monday, June 29, 2015

Legal Updates - June 29, 2015

Ministerial Decision 107 of 2015 issued on 6/5/2015 to continue temporarily ceasing recruitment of non-Omanis in some professions

The Ministry of Manpower has issued Ministerial Decision 107 of 2015 (“MD 107/2015”) which temporarily ceases recruitment of non-Omanis in the private sector. This decision which was effective from 1 May 2015 will last for the period of six months within which period non-Omanis will not be issued visas to work in the following professions: sales person/sales promoter and purchasing agents. The decision, however, is not applicable to certain establishments which include those:


Monday, June 22, 2015

Law in Practice: Seven Core Principles for a Healthy Attorney/Client Relationship

It is often said that resolving disputes through arbitration can permit flexibility, innovation and cost/time saving. This is more likely when a client and legal counsel give thought and effort to develop early and effective case management. Efficiency in time and cost is best achieved when both a client and their legal advisors have a clear strategy, and work towards it together.

The 2012 International Chamber of Commerce (the “2012 ICC”) rules were held out as a gold standard in assisting parties to more effectively manage their arbitral proceedings. This article looks at options that parties and their legal advisors should consider at the preliminary stages, and revisit during the arbitration process.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

MOCI's New Procedure on Company Formation

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) signed an Agreement on 7 December 2013 with Nortal Gulf Company from Estonia to develop the One Stop Shop (OSS). The venture known as the “Business and Technology Transformation Project” is implemented by the MOCI to take a further step in the development of the e-Government and to support the e-Transformation plan.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Omanisation Compliance for Small and Medium Enterprises

The Government of Sultanate of Oman has recently showcased an increasing interest in the development and support of Small and Medium Enterprises (“SME”). The Ministry of Manpower has issued Ministerial Decision 103 of 2015 which clearly exempts SME from the set Omanisation percentage (“MD 103/2015”).


Monday, June 8, 2015

Employment of Part Time Workers

Ministerial Decision 102 of 2015 Regulating Part Time Work (the “Regulation”) governs the employment of part time workers in Oman and has repealed Ministerial Decision 520 of 2013 governing part time work (the “Old Regulation”). A “part time” worker by definition is a “worker whose regular working hours or days are less than the working hours and days” as stipulated by the Labour Law in accordance with Royal Decree 35 of 2003 (as amended). This article briefly sets out the provisions provided for under the Regulation and highlights the changes from the Old Regulation.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Legal Updates - June 2, 2015

Ratifying the Arab Convention on Combating Information Technology Offences

Royal Decree 5 of 2015, published in the Official Gazette on 8 March 2015 (the “Ratification”), ratifies the Arab Convention on Combating Information Technology Offences signed by the Sultanate of Oman on 15 February 2012 (the “Convention”). Such Convention shall be effective thirty days from the date of ratification, approval or adoption documents by seven Arab states who have signed up to the Convention, (hereinafter referred to as “States” or as “State” in the singular). Currently, of the 22 countries to have signed the Convention, only the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman have ratified.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mediation in International Commercial Disputes


A unique mechanism available for parties to amicably resolve disputes is often underutilized in international commercial disputes.

There are several advantages that mediation offers over other forms of dispute resolution (such as court proceedings/arbitration) which we will explore below.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Overseas Dividends: Supreme Court Perspective

The Supreme Court is the highest Court within the hierarchy of Courts in Oman. A judgment/decision issued by the Supreme Court is supposed to act as a precedent for all the lower Courts and Government authorities as the judgments issued by the Supreme Court are final and non-appealable. Thus, an issue which has been adjudged upon by the Supreme Court should become a binding precedent to be applied in all future cases pertaining to a similar issue.

Despite two judgments of the Supreme Court in 2012 on the issue of non-taxability of overseas dividends under the Omani Income Tax Law promulgated by Royal Decree 47 of 1981 as amended (the “Income Tax Law”), the Omani Tax Department continues to currently try to impose tax on overseas dividends received by companies from its investments out of Oman, referable to the tax years up to and including 2009.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Desalination Facilities of a Special Nature: Expansion of the Electricity Sector Law's Regulator Regime

The Law for the Regulation and Privatisation of the Electricity and Related Water Sector promulgated by Sultani Decree 78 of 2004 as amended (the “Sector Law”) originally provided the statutory and regulatory framework for the electricity and “related water” sector in Oman. “Related water” referred only to water desalination projects which were combined with, or co-located on the same site as, power generation. This meant that “unrelated” water desalination projects (i.e. desalination projects which were not combined with, or located on the same site as, electricity generation) were not subject to the Sector Law.

However, on 1 October 2013, an amendment to the Sector Law promulgated by Sultani Decree 47 of 2013 (the “Amendment”) was published which provided that unrelated water desalination projects which were designated “desalination facilities of a special nature” would be subject to the Sector Law.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Curtis Oman is delighted to announce the promotion of Simon Ward to Partner

Simon Ward is a highly experienced litigator in the Oman and Middle Eastern markets. He joined the firm as Counsel in 2011 and has swiftly become an integral part of the team, advising clients across a wide range of sectors, including construction, commercial, environment, employment and regulatory.

Simon's promotion is both well-deserved and a reflection of Curtis' robust positioning in the Middle Eastern legal market. Please join me in wishing him warm congratulations.

- Bruce B. Palmer, Managing Partner, Curtis Middle East


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Takaful in Oman


‘Takaful’ is an Arabic word which means ‘mutual or joint responsibility’. Accordingly, takaful insurance works as mutual or co-operative insurance, whereby participants contribute – by way of ‘tabarru’ (donation) - a certain sum of money to a common pool.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hotel Development in Oman

With its beaches, mountains, wadis and deserts, Oman is a popular tourism location. Given Oman’s charm and huge tourism potential, Oman is experiencing an uptick in the number of hotel developments.

Oman is perceived mainly as a high-end, luxury tourist destination. As a result, most hotel developments tend to be in the four star or five star categories.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Managing Contract Risk - Preparing for the Worst

In this fifth and final part of our ‘managing contract risk’ series we consider contractually minimizing risks for when things go wrong or, making sure to be in the best position in case the contract cannot be performed.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Management of a Joint Stock Company

As a director, you will gain status and have a direct impact on the policy and strategy of a business. It is important to understand and comprehend the role and responsibility this position demands. This article sets out the scope of authority and duties of the board of directors (the “Board”) as well as outlines some procedural requirements that are required by Omani law such as appointment of directors and their liabilities in joint stock companies.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Annual General Meetings: Procedure and Compliance

Every joint stock company or limited liability company registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“MOCI”) in Oman is required to hold Annual General Meetings (“AGMs”) in compliance with the requirements provided under the Commercial Companies Law of Oman (“CCL”).


Monday, March 30, 2015

Legal Updates - March 30, 2015

Introduction of the Unified Driving Licence

The unified driving licence was recently introduced across the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The Royal Oman Police confirmed Oman will implement the unified driving licence in the Sultanate of Oman from 1 January 2015.

There has been no change to the process and procedures of obtaining a driving licence in Oman. The only change has been to the actual licence itself which now includes the GCC logo.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Developing and Implementing Risk Mitigation Strategies

In this penultimate installment of our managing contract risk series we explore how best to develop and implement risk mitigation strategies when entering into and performing procurement contracts.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Mergers & Acquisitions and the Importance of Due Diligence

Companies contemplating Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) understand the need to avoid acquiring potential legal and financial liabilities. While there may be significant financial and strategic benefits in an acquisition it also brings risks that need to be identified and analysed. Due diligence is used to identify deal breakers, set negotiation parameters and assess risks. Undisclosed risks and hidden liabilities are buried in most acquisitions and may be difficult to detect if a comprehensive due diligence has not been carried out.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Overview of the Special Economic Zone Authority Duqm

Duqm is currently subject to one of the most ambitious infrastructure developments to have taken place in the Sultanate of Oman. The focus on this article is to provide an overview of the investment opportunities and incentives to investing in the Duqm Free Zone.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Myths and Facts Regarding the Registered Capital of a Company in Oman

Lawyers are often asked to advise client entities about their registered capital requirements. In Oman, most companies without foreign shareholding can be established with a registered capital of just RO 20,000. The minimum capital requirement varies depending on the type of the company, the shareholding pattern, name and activities. For example, Omani companies, regardless of whether these are limited liability or joint stock companies, require a minimum capital of RO 500,000 if they have ‘Oman’ in their name and RO 2 Million if they are established as a ‘holding’ company. Similarly, limited liability companies with up to 70% foreign shareholding generally need a minimum capital of RO 150,000.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Curtis Announces Latest Round of Promotions

Raya Al Harthy

Curtis is pleased to announce that Raya Al Harthy has been promoted to an associate in the Litigation Department after completing two years of training with the firm’s Oman office. Raya is a qualified lawyer in the Sultanate of Oman, and obtained her LLB at the American University of Cyprus, before earning her LLM at the University of Leeds.

Zuhaira Al Sulaimani

Curtis is pleased to announce that Zuhaira Al Sulaimani has joined the Corporate Department of the firm’s Oman office as an associate, having completed two years of training. A qualified lawyer in the Sultanate of Oman, Zuhaira obtained her LLB at the La Trobe University and earned both her MA and BA Business Law degrees at Monash University, Australia.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Introducing Malcolm Abaza

Curtis is pleased to announce that Malcolm Abaza has joined the International Corporate Department in the firm’s Oman office as a Senior Associate. Malcolm’s practice area extends to advising clients on a range of corporate, banking and Islamic finance matters.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Amendments to Capital Market Law

The Capital Market Law (“Capital Market Law”) was amended on 10 November 2014 by way of Royal Decree 59 of 2014 (“Amending Law”). The Amending Law came into effect on the date of issue.

The Amending Law amends Articles 7(b), 12, 13, 17 (second paragraph), 52(2), 60, 63 A(3), 64, 65, 66, 67 and 68. The Amending Law has also added two new Articles – 68(bis) and 72. This article aims to highlight the significant amendments brought to the Capital Market Law.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Managing Contract Risk in Procurement (Part 3)

Identifying and Assessing Risk

In part one of our “Managing Contract Risk in Procurement” series, we provided a general introduction regarding the importance of analysing the risks associated with the product or service to be provided prior to entering into the contract. In this installment we deal with the actual identification and assessment of those risks.


Monday, February 9, 2015

The Law Regulating Fish Markets

Issued on 14 December 2014 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (“MOAF”), Ministerial Decision No. 312 of 2014 (“MD 312 of 2014”) was introduced to regulate the trade and control of fish markets in the Sultanate of Oman and is the focus of this article.


Monday, February 2, 2015

The Residency Requirement of Authorised Managers and Signatories in Oman

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry (“MOCI”) has recently been requiring that all authorised managers and signatories (“AMS”) of newly formed limited liability companies become full-time residents in Oman (the “Residency Requirement”). As part of the registration process, the Ministry now requires that the resident cards of AMS be submitted. This is a significant change of policy which will have far-reaching implications for foreign investors in Omani companies.

The Residency Requirement has raised many questions, some of which we have provided answers to in this post.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Legal Updates - January 29, 2015

New Royal Decrees – Consumer Protection Law and Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law

Two very significant legislations have been issued in the month of December. These Royal Decrees are (i) the Royal Decree 66/2014 promulgating the Consumer Protection Law (the new Consumer Protection Law replaces the old Consumer Protection Law); and (ii) the Royal Decree 67/2014 promulgating the Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law. We have discussed the above legislation in detail in this month’s newsletter.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Compliance in Oman

Compliance with the laws of Oman has always been a priority for business leaders in the Sultanate of Oman. Every member of the senior management of a company (including the CEO) is aware of their influence on the culture and values of the company they represent.

Given the senior management’s primary responsibility for the acts and omissions of a company, it becomes important that the company has an effective compliance programme. A compliance programme can help each employee to do his or her part to contribute to the image and reputation of the company.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How to Manage Contract Risk in Procurement (Part 2)

Specific Clauses and their Validity under Omani Law

Continuing our series of articles on managing risk in procurement contracts, the second installment deals with some specific legal issues arising which can, and should, be covered in written agreements entered into between the buyer and seller in order to reduce their respective risks.

This month we will look at the use of exclusion, limitation, liquidated damages, penalty, and entire agreement clauses and their treatment and validity under the Omani Civil Code pursuant to Royal Decree 29 of 2013 (the “Civil Code”).


Monday, January 12, 2015

Sultanate of Oman: The Consumer Protection Law

News headlines concerning the expiry of and re-packaging of goods, substandard production methods and incorrect product labelling now feature prominently in Oman news. The Consumer Protection Law (the “CPL”), enacted pursuant to Royal Decree 66 of 2014 which has repealed Royal Decree 81 of 2002, is a direct response to rooting out monopolistic market practices and the prevention of trading in or advertising counterfeit or unauthorized products or services, in an attempt to better regulate the activities of suppliers, advertisers and agents alike.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Event: Compliance: More Than a Box Ticking Exercise

Curtis Oman hosted an Insight Series Breakfast Seminar at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Muscat on Tuesday 9 December, 2014 entitled "Compliance: More Than a Box Ticking Exercise" which 83 leading business community members attended.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Sultanate of Oman: The Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law

The enactment of the Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law (the “Competition Law”), pursuant to Royal Decree 67 of 2014, is evidence of the Sultanate of Oman’s commitment to promote the “freedom of economic activity practice and to establish the principle of market rules and freedom of prices” and prevent the “practice of any monopolistic behaviour that would affect the market.” Prior to its enactment, competition law and issues relating to the prohibition of monopolistic market practices were dealt with within several laws.