Monday, January 13, 2020

WIthout Prejudice in Oman

The Omani courts do not recognise the concept of ‘without prejudice’ communications.  Any correspondence marked ‘without prejudice’ and brought into existence expressly for the purpose of furthering genuine settlement negotiations can be filed in court and relied on.  There are, however, several alternative steps that can be used in Oman to bolster the protection of any settlement correspondence.  By way of example, in any settlement negotiations, insist that all parties to the dispute sign an undertaking that any information disclosed in the communications will not be used as evidence before the courts.  Further, all documents should contain a statement or qualification that any offer does not constitute an admission of liability.  In addition, any settlement agreement should have a comprehensive confidentiality provision to prevent any form of publication.  A settlement agreement should also contain a provision preventing the parties from being called as witnesses in any subsequent litigation or arbitration in relation to the dispute.  A waiver of this condition should require consent of all parties.  Finally, if necessary, all communications in relation to a settlement should be made orally and not in writing.


Monday, January 6, 2020

Dispute Resolution Clauses in Oman

A party must ensure that any final judgment granted in its favour is readily enforceable in all relevant foreign jurisdictions.  This is especially true where the opposing side is a foreign entity with assets vested offshore.  The 1996 Treaty for the Enforcement of Judgments, Judicial Delegation, and Courts Summons has made all Omani court judgments readily enforceable throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”).  If the opposing side has considerable assets in a neighbouring GCC country, a final binding Omani court judgment will be valuable, as it will be honoured and readily enforceable.  However, recognition and enforceability of an Omani court judgment in other foreign jurisdictions may vary, or perhaps be unclear.  All dispute resolution clauses should specify (i) the venue (i.e., the courts of a selected country or the seat of arbitration) and (ii) the substantive law which governs the underlying contract.  In instances where the parties grant jurisdiction to the domestic courts of a specific country, issues of venue and applicable law are invariably interlinked.