Contract law and negotiations in Qatar

What you should know about Qatari business culture?

Though Qatar is a Muslim Arabic speaking country, many of your business counterparts in Qatar could be expats. In such a case, you will be required to take into consideration the culture that applies to the specific group that you are dealing with, in addition to the ways of the Qataris.

One should be aware of Islamic beliefs when in Qatar. Hence, it is preferable to include a local agent to familiarize you with these if you are not already. Arabic is the local language but English is known in most business circles. Invest time in building your associations and relationships in Qatar as these are best built on trust and respect.

What are the right negotiation tactics in Qatar?

  • Make your appointments a few days before your arrive as meetings can be postponed or cancelled last minute
  • Dress modestly and stay covered, both men and women
  • Be punctual but also be forgiving of your Qatari associates’ lateness
  • Professional titles such as Haji or Sheikh should be used if known. But refrain from using first names unless invited to
  • Arabic culture mixes business with pleasure so be prepared to discuss business in a social context
  • The Arabs love to talk and meetings can be long so be patient and respectful throughout
  • They also expect you to be vocal and involved as being quiet could portray that something is wrong!
  • Plan your meetings taking prayer timings into consideration

What is a contract worth in Qatar?

The Qataris are professional and well versed with dealing with foreign businessmen. Still, an oral agreement or handshake should not be taken too seriously. Formalize your business deal with a formal, legal contract, even if it takes time.

Qatari Litigation and Arbitration Processes

Litigation under the Qatari judicial system is divided into 3 stages: the courts of first instance, the courts of appeal and lastly, the court of cassation. All court proceedings are in Arabic and translators are provided for non Arabic speaking litigators.

Arbitration as an alternative conflict resolution mechanism is codified in Qatar’s legislation within The Civil and Commercial Code of Procedure. Arbitration of course is quicker and has many advantages like being neutral, confidential and less expensive.

Hence, the Qatari business environment is similar to any other Arabic country, except for its expat influences. Getting the best negotiation skills in doing Qatari business is an advantage as Qatar is a highly promising business destination especially for high value products.

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