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The purpose of the research is to analyse the process of formation of the institution of international commercial arbitration, using the example of two free economic zones of the United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The study analyses the key conditions and events that determined the possibility of formation and development of commercial arbitration institutions, which, in a country with a legal system based on Sharia law, are usually subject to the rules of common law. Targeted government policy aimed at improving the first-of-its-kind institutions of justice, including through reforms, enabled the courts over a period of twenty years to go from being established in newly created free economic zones to becoming leaders among all international commercial arbitration institutions.

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