Some of the UK's top judges have been invited to Qatar as it bids to become a world-leading arbitration centre, in direct competition with London.
The most senior member of the English judiciary, Lord Judge, and the president of arbitration centre Qatari International Court are among an attaché of senior judges attending an event in Doha to discuss the rule of law.
Qatar is looking to boost its reputation in a number of key areas after it successfully bid to hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In addition to developing its legal services sector, it is also investing heavily in media development and markets and holding events designed to encourage foreign investment in the Gulf State.
The ruling family of Qatar, the House of Thani, wants the anticipated $200bn in contracts relating to the hosting of the tournament to contain clauses that would see any legal dispute settled at its own international court.
"My view is that you never suffer as a result of competition," Lord Woolf said to the Financial Times.
"We can't expect in London that contracts that have no link with London come there to resolve disputes," he added.
The UK Government is undertaking a marketing project of its own to promote the UK judiciary and courts as part of the Justice Ministry's plan to modernise the UK legal services market, estimated to be worth $23bn to the UK economy. Last week Justice Secretary Ken Clarke described the UK as the "lawyer for the world".
The discussion of the rule of law comes at an interesting time for many of Qatar's neighbours, not least considering Qatar's involvement in two recent conflicts in which the international community's commitment to the rule of law is being tested to its fullest. Qatar sent troops to Libya to aid in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi and has also suggested arming rebels in Syria.
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