Kuwait wins international property ownership case

An international court has issued a verdict in favor of Kuwait regarding a property ownership case, a senior law official announced Wednesday. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) dismissed the lawsuit filed by a foreign company against Kuwait, Chairman of Fatwa and Legislation Department Advisor Salah Al-Masad told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). The Fatwa and Legislation was able to rebuff the first of such a lawsuit, which demanded a US$ 320 million-worth of compensation and alleged ownership of 80 million square meters of properties, valued at USD billions, all of which based on alleged and “uncertified” ownership documents, said Masad.

It is suspected that these “forged” documents have been issued for heirs of a Kuwaiti citizen in areas of Wafra and Khairan, he said, adding the foreign company alleges owning several properties in them and some investments as well. The judging panel heard both sides’ pleadings at ICSID’s headquarters in Paris, France, Masad mentioned, noting that Kuwait’s defending team presented all necessary evidences to refute the “false” allegations. The Kuwaiti legal team has refuted any legal basis for the lawsuit in accordance with ICSID’s arbitration rule 41(5), he said, noting achieving success through adopting such a legal article is an unprecedented legal rarity.

“It is an exceptional legal approach and rarely adopted by sides of lawsuits at ICSID,” the Kuwaiti official noted, adding that arbitration rule 41(5) provides an expedited procedure to dispose of unmeritorious claims at the preliminary stage of a proceeding. The Kuwaiti defending legal team was consisted of Fatwa and Legislation Department’s Undersecretary Saud Al-Qamlas, assistant counselors Nora Al-Roudhan, Doha Al-Yaseen, Doha Al-Sayer and Talal Al-Zamami, he mentioned.