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BUSS 1004 Business Law Assignment - Middle East College, Oman

Learning Outcomes - On completion of this module the student should be able to:

1. Critically analyse the implications of national and international legal environments of businesses in the Sultanate of Oman.

2. Analyse the key features of the judicial system of Oman.

3. Use appropriate sources for general legal analysis by identifying information, legal issues and reaching conclusions based on analysis.

Task - Write a comprehensive report.

Topic - OMAN LEGAL ENVIRONMENT, ETHICS AND CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

Answer - Title: Oman Commercial Law and Governance

Introduction

The report is a critical insight into Oman civil code and commercial laws. The regulations contained in Oman Civil code and Oman commercial law. The entire report is presented in five parts. The first is about contractual obligations and law of contract, the second question is about the law of contracts, the third question is about Tanfeeth Diversification plan, fourth is about CSR, Governance and business ethics. The last question is about pollution and Regulation.

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Q1. Critically discuss all the types of breach of contract that may happen and the remedies for breach of contract under Oman Commercial law.

Answer - Breach of contract under Oman Commercial Law:

Sultanate of Oman has well established commercial and legal frameworks to guide the breach of contracts and related legal and other compensations in general. Supreme Court of the sultanate of Oman has distinct and very clear regulations to guide actions in the case of breach of contracts. One of the most important implications from the breach of the contract is compensation. Normally compensation will be awarded to the victim in the contract whenever there is breach of contract. However still compensation will be indicated by the court based on the damages or alternatively the parties may indicate the amount of damages in the form of compensatory clause or the penalty clause in the contract (Thomas, 2017). Also the commercial law of Oman have certain provisions to announce the extent of damage based on the specific scenario or the circumstance. Contract is considered to be a law that governs both the parties in the contract. The contract is expected to provide only the compensation as per the requirements of the prevailing compensatory elements, unduly justified compensations are never recommended by the commerce law or the legislation of the sultanate of Oman. For the award of damages to the breach of the contract, it is required to consider three important aspects the first is the breach of the contract, the second is the loss the third is the causation. The awarded compensations are expected to be as per the loss suffered. Also there is need for existence of a causal link between the breach and the loss suffered. Any breach of the contract will be recommended with a compensation to clear the loss incurred, however still the loss suffered is mainly expected to be with consideration to the financial loss. Other types of the losses will be considered and appropriate compensations will be awarded in accordance with Oman Commercial law. Omani civil law and the commercial law promulgated the provisions regarding compensation for the effected in the case of contract breach. The new Omani Civil code of Royal Decree No: 29/2013 emphasized the obligations and personal rights reflecting the contractual obligations. Oman Civil Code got enacted in the year 2013 and till then there is much to do with the confusion in the process and is associated with legal debate. However, there after several articles provided with extensive coverage of Oman contractual laws. Article 167 had promulgated the contract cannot be considered for void by mutual agreement or litigation when it is valid and enforceable. At the same time, Article 173 indicated that if the two parties terminate the contract automatically or as per the mutual interest, they will return to the state which they were experiencing before the execution of the contract. The extended application of the Oman contracts and the related legislatory implications for the breach can be found extensively in the instances like personal contractual breaches regarding the job placement, the contractual breaches related with business establishments, sales of the goods and services etc (Agarwal, 2017).

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Q2. The law of contract outlines duties and obligations of the parties to a contract and eliminates ambiguity. Critically analyse this statement vis-à-vis the law of contract provisions quoting relevant Royal Decree.

Answer - The law of contract

The law of contract as per Oman Civil code is expected to be very clear and it is expected to meet the obligations of all the people there participating in the contract. It is required to be very clear and should indicate the roles and responsibilities of all the people there who are part of the contract. One of the essential requirements of a contract is the need to be clear and free of ambiguity. There is need for clear provision of the statutes and principles applicable for guiding the contract as well there are also regulations regarding the terminations of the same. Further provision of sanctions or the penalties or compensation can be indicated as part of the contract. If any of these elements are not included in the contract, then the applicable legislation and the code as per the Royal decree of the sultanate of Oman will decide the most appropriate course of action. Royal Decree 55/90, detailed the commercial law for the sultanate of Oman (Abdallah, 2015), which detailed varieties of inferences for Contractual law. Contracts in commercial domain got detailed from several perspectives, like contract for the sake of material carriage, person carriage, implications of the contracts for the consignee as well as the consigner. Also there is discussion on the contracts for rental services within the same Royal decree. Also a typical sale process in commercial domain is considered as a commercial contract. Articles ranging from 93 to 107 in this decree detailed the characteristics of the contract that guide a typical sale operation in commercial sense. Article 108 t0 118 detailed the obligations of a vendor in the context of commercial sale activity. Article 119 to 127 is about the obligations of a purchaser. The key features of an Omani Contract invariably will insist that there be a written agreement between the parties participating in the contract, the enforcement of the contract will start once the participating parties signed the contract and the performance obligations start to get initiated. Depending on the nature of the domain of contract execution other factors need to be considered. For example a typical construction contract will invariably include the contract manager role in executing the contract; his functions will span to understand the operation of the contract as well should understand the means and ways of terminating the contract. In any case, the governing legal jurisdiction needs to be analyzed in defining the scope and enforcement of the contractual laws. Oman public law is considered to be mandatory element for consideration and enforcement of the contractual regulations, in the event of any foreign law presence, Oman public law will supercede any foreign law provisions. As indicated before, a commercial sale contract is good example that can illustrate the applicability of the law of contract in Oman. A sale operation can be said to a contract of sale and in essence, each of the parties of the contract execution are expected to be bindedover with certain set of obligations, for example the vendor has duty to handover the product in the said and acceptable condition, the buyer has duty to pay the payment in accordance to the terms of the sales contract. Further there is need for sale contract existence, warranty of the product etc. Also the contract of sales will indicate the jurisdiction where the legal support can be taken in case of any discrepancy. Article 93 to 107 of the Royal Decree 55/90 detailed these aspects more exhaustively.

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Q3. Critically analyse legal and Easy of Doing Business issues that need to be addressed by Oman so that Tanfeeth Diversification Plan can achieve its objectives and succeed in its diversification thrust, as Oman competes with other GCC countries for global investments funds. You are required to interview Ithraa staff to explain the status of these issues in Oman and what is the way forward for excellence in Oman?

Answer - Oil Under Tanfeeth Diversification plan 2040

It is almost two years since the start of the Tanfeet Diversification scheme in the sultanate of the Oman under the royal decree of his majesty the Sultan Qaboos. The programme is for a fixed short period duration (i.e., 5 years) from 2016 to 2020 and is under the supervision of the Malaysian Government's Performance Management and Delivery unit (PEMANDU). The key objectives of the programme are to consolidate the developments obtained in the previous achievements and to extend the same for new targeted sector and with focus on new domains. It is a multi-dimensional growth strategy; the focus is mostly in increasing the investments in the selective sectors, monitoring the business growth and thereby creating more job opportunities as well as the GDP to the sultanate of the Oman. The programme do function in about 8 steps, the first of which is the labs phase where in the delegates from different stream of operations will participate in the action team. Typical stakeholders include ministers, undersecretaries, representatives from private sector, academia as well as civil society as well. Labs are expected to get conducted for about 6 weeks. Royal decree 1/2016 identified some of the sectors as manufacturing, tourism, transport, logistics, mining and fisheries as well. The key consideration is obviously the international investments. In this connection the ease of business will differentiate the extent of success, Oman can achieve in the international market. Some of the issues include customs clearance and quick turnaround issues which contains eliminating the unnecessary costing of the clearance(higher costing) as well the inherent time it takes for clearance operations. Further the business formation, specifically the flexibility for foreign investers to start up the business, the obligations that they need to pass through, the time of incorporation etc need to be optimized. Same is the case for national private entities too. The ease of business formation is one of the critical aspects that define the possible economic investment growth in the country. Bureaucratic issues typically include labour regulations, licensing, enforcements etc. Trade friendly policies are expected to be implemented for better investment and growth in the country. Further the Port change over and consequences like Demurrage charges, port usage taxes, EXIM policies and duties etc need to be made more trade friendly to promote international trade. Also there is much to do about developing economic zones in the country like other competitors in GCC; this can add upto the business growth at higher pace in the nation.

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Q4. Business ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance create the human face of organisations. Critically explain these concepts and use an applied Oman company example to demonstrate good corporate governance.

Answer - Business Ethics, CSR and Corporate Governance

Business ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate governance are different pillars of business strategies related with the human profiling of the organization. These are not concerned with the commercial and business interests at the outset; rather the moralities and the ethical compliances are the underlying drivers for the organizations to enable these aspects to be implemented across the organization. Business Ethics do speak of the features like the guiding framework of operations and principles that dictate the organizational culture and philosophy. Typical commitment for better and sustainable business practices fall under this category of business operations. Ethics will decide the extent of commitment of the organization to the moral principles in practice. For example commitment of the business key personnel for the duty of care and due diligence is an example of business ethics. Also the organizational mission and vision and their inherent characteristics of commitment towards the broad and ideal compliance for humane values is one of the key element of the business ethics. CSR or the corporate social responsibility (Salvioni & Gennari, 2016) is related with the organizational commitment towards social causes. Commitment to the promotion of better environment, mitigating the use of pesticides and hazardous materials in the organizational applications, working for better labor principles like no child labor, generous inclusion of profit sharing for social causes like uplifting the quality of life in the society, eradicating health problems, investing for sanitation and water supply etc fall in this part of the organizational functionality (Al Shammari, 2018). Corporate governance is the internal control systems, honouring the regulations inforce, moral, legal and ethical commitment to the business principles and regulations is the characteristics of ideal governance. Not only commitment but enforcement of the same through periodic internal and external audits, establishing an internal team or operational mechanism to sustain ideal governance in the organization etc makes up this element of organizational functionality (Hasan, 2017).

Reflection on ethics, CSR and Governance of PDO:

Petroleum Development organization (PDO) of the sultanate of Oman has these aspects enforced in the organization. PDO in its business charter recognized its responsibility towards its shareholders, business partners, and community as well as to its employees. Business integrity is proclaimed its top priority. Typical focus concerns are honesty, integrity and Fairness in operations. Oman centre for corporate governance and sustainability (OCCGS) is the stakeholder for the organization in letting its corporate governance be proper and ethically compliant with. There is MOU in this regard to propel the operations of PDO to promote universal principles of UNGC, human rights, labour rights, anti pollution. PDO also prepared sustainability report in this connection. 'Project prism', a indication of good governance programme from PDO to support 30000 and more contract labour force is one of the key evidence of good governance of PDO. As per recent ratings of CSR from different recognized accrediting authorities, PDO is ranked with overall 54 rating points in the scale of 1-100 CSR rating scale. Overall ranking is about 64 (Hub). Typical commitments working in the domains of employees, Community, environment as well as in the Governance. Focus areas included Philanthropy, human development, Compensations, benefits, training, Energy and climate changes, Leadership, Ethics, transparency and reporting Etc. Utmost diversity is tolerated in the PDO, there won't be any sort of cultural discrimination in PDO, as per policy equal opportunity is encouraged in the organization. Governance, leadership and Transparency are some of the several other aspects that Sultanate of Oman is more concerned in PDO and they are being guided by ethical, moral and other humane values. Sustainability reporting, energy management, optimum resource utilization is some of the concerns that PDO is concerned with.

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Q5. Pollution has made life dangerous, risky and a threat to the human race, hence tough government regulations and penalties for pollution. If unregulated society is unethical. Critically explain how and why the Oman Government is regulating:-

(a) Marine pollution quoting relevant Royal Decree;

(b) Air pollution quoting relevant Royal Decree; and finally

(c) Noise pollution quoting relevant Royal Decree.

Answer - Pollution and Regulation

Unregulated society is unethical in the context of pollution. There are variety of pollution aspects that nations in general are considering, example of the same include Marine pollution, Air pollution, Noise pollution etc. Royal decree of 34/74, 1974 is monitoring marine pollution in the country (Al Busaidi et al., 2016). The focus is on restricting of pollutant discharges into the Oman territorial waters upto the distance of 38miles, the violations are strictly punished with about 25000 OMR for first violation and few millions for multiple violations. Further there can be sanctions to remove the violator from recognized operator, oil transport facilitator etc. They will be deprived either temporarily or permanently from environmental rights. Ministerial decision 118/04 is the Air pollution restricting decree and works for the control of the Air pollution from variety of stationary sources. The law is focussed on the control of the emissions and enforces guidelines on disposal and treatment of the same (Abdel Magid et al, 2010). Typical instructions like usage of stipulated height chimneys, getting approval for the organic waste combustion etc fall in this category of actions. Noise pollution is monitored as per the Royal Decree of 79/94 worked on to regulate noise pollution in the public places. Ministerial decision 80/94 is the noise level monitoring of the Workplace. The noise levels in all these locations are being monitored by the Oman in accordance with the international regulations and standards. The underlying consideration and belief is that unregulation of these sensitive areas will be unethical too. When noise pollution is not monitored, it can give typical implications of mental and psychological problems to the habitants in the surroundings apart from long term hearing impairments. Pollution prevention failure will disturb the flora and fauna in the locations with long terms implications to the soil and living creatures in the region. Marine pollution is severe problem and the instances like BP oil spill over are worst ever disasters on the earth in this context. Oman sultanate taking all steps to prevent such things from happening in the Oman territorial waters, inspite of the fact that rather than on the human beings immediate impact of this will be on the marine creatures, species and different types of marine plantations etc. These are being curbed by the Oman government with focus on ethical perspectives.

Conclusion

The report presented an insight into the Oman legislations and public law regulations in the country. More specifically there is focus on the commercial law and Royal decrees and ministerial decisions on the economic growth policies. Further the extent of compliance of the business ethics, governance and CSR in the contemporary organizations in Oman is discussed in detail.

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