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BUSS 1004 Business Law Assignment - Middle East College, Oman

Learning Outcomes - 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.

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Executive summary

The study mentions the implications of various business laws with respect to the Oman legal system. Agency law refers to the relationship between one principal party and another agent, who is engaged by the principal for act on his or her behalf. Having an insurance cover is essential for the individuals and organisations in Oman as it protects the insured entities against damages, losses, injuries and any other unforeseen costs. In addition, the study also mentions tort laws, labour laws and valid agreements.

Introduction

Business laws are essential in order to conduct successful business operations so that growth and profitability of a business is ensured. In this study, various kinds of business laws such as agency law, tort law and labour laws are critically evaluated in context to the Oman legal system.

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Q1. (a) Critically explain the objectives and importance of agency law and why it is important for the Oman economy, quoting relevant Oman Royal Decree.

Answer - Objectives of agency law

As commented by Braithwaite et al. (2017), the objective of the agency law is to regulate the legal relationship in the case of the agent dealing with a third party by representing the prinicial. The agency law demands a twofold contract, when the agent is engaging in a contractual relationship with a third party. Moreover, the law also determines the external business relations of an organisation or any other economic unit, where powers are vested with different agents as this can harm the legal position of the principal.

Importance of agency law for Oman economy

Accountability: It has often been the case that agents have used corporate structures to bend laws to serve selfish purposes. As suggested by Said (2016), agency laws are instrumental for making corporate accountable of their actions in case there is a breach of law. According to the law, the principal is accountable for the agents' actions if they are acting in the interest of the company.

Board protection: As commented by Arqawi et al. (2018), agents have specific duties towards the principals they are engaged with. In regard to a corporate setting, the board members have a duty to be loyal to the organisation. As per the law, the board members are required to ensure that reliable information is acquired and based on those information, they need to act in the best interest of the organisation. The "Business judgement rule" proclaims that the law is based upon a presumption that the directors are responsible agents of an organisation.

Shareholder protection: Apart from the board members, the shareholders of any organisation of Oman are also protected by the agency law. As per the view of Waheedi and Stilt (2018), shareholders are considered to be the actual owners of a corporation even though they do not actively participate in the operations like the directors. As the directors are the direct agents of conducting business, the non-director shareholders are protected by the law from the legal implications of any miscreance by the agents.

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(b) Analyse the structure and contribution of the Oman Court and Legal System, quoting relevant Royal Decree.

Answer - Before the period of renaissance in Oman during 1970, the judicial system of the country followed the Sharia court. After the renaissance, the Ministry of Justice was formed and a structure of the court was established as instructed by the Royal Decree No. 90/99. As commented by Agarwal (2017), the structure includes courts of first instance, courts of appeal, The Supreme Court and the Criminal Court.

The function of the court in Oman includes the following:

  • Promoting justice for individuals and organisations
  • Developing a perception of justice among the individuals
  • Undertaking an impartial role of judgement in disputes
  • Protecting individuals and organisations from governmental oppression
  • Providing a formal report of the legal status in the country

Q2. Discuss utmost good faith and disclosure in insurance law, quoting relevant Oman Royal Decree. Critically explain why it is important to have insurance cover. 

Answer - Utmost good faith in insurance law: Utmost good faith is considered to be a principle used for insurance contracts. As per the view of Allen (2016), this principle suggests that all the parties in a contract are required to reveal all the necessary information to the other party so that the parties can take an informed decision. Insurance contracts demand a standard of honesty, which is higher than any other contracts. It is important to note that the insurance policies can be considered null and void in case any of the engaged parties have not practiced utmost good faith.

Disclosure in insurance law: Duty of disclosure is associated with the common law principle suggested in the utmost good faith in insurance law. As influenced by Billah (2016), under this section, the parties involved are required to be extremely honest regarding the information that is provided by them. Apart from honesty, the information also needs to be accurate, which is provided to the insurance company. The law has suggested that there are two separate duties under the disclosure law. The first is the disclosure of all material information. This is considered to be a positive duty, which is implied at the time of applying for insurance as well as the time of applying for a renewal. The negative duty under this law is the negation of issued misstatements. In case of misstatements, it is the prerogative of an insurance company to cancel any policy.

Importance to have insurance cover

As commented by De Bel-Air (2015), insurance helps to spread risk of loss with the help of a pooling mechanism. However, insurance only covers predictable events, which can occur unexpectedly. It has been evidenced that insurance protects the organisations and individuals against both financial and personal losses.

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Q3. Critically explain unfair labour practice, and how Oman labour law prevents unfair labour practices, quoting relevant Oman Royal Decree and Article of Oman Labour Law. 

Answer - The labour laws and practices in Oman are enforced under the Royal Decree 35/2003, which constitutes the recruitment policies, minimum wages and other regulations of labour law. As commented by Ennis and Walton-Roberts (2018), the decree suggests that unfair labour practices are to be punished with severe consequences. It has been evidenced from the interview conducted that one of the major unfair labour practices is less wages. The labours in Oman are paid considerably less in respect to their long working hours. The long working hours are another violation of the labour laws in Oman. Moreover, the labour laws in Oman suggest that during the recruitment policies, there should not be any gender discrimination, which is not observed by the organisations. In addition, there are various organisations, which force the labours to work under unhealthy conditions, which is strictly unlawful.

It can be considered from the findings of the interview that the laws against these malpractices are not enforced in a proper way. As evidenced by Gold (2017), there is a considerable amount of corruption in the country, which results in large corporations paying off the law enforcers so that they can violate the labour laws. Moreover, in the recent past Oman has witnessed an influx of immigrant labours, which have illegally migrated in the country. Hence, these labours are not considered under the labour law regulations.

In order to enforce the law, the law enforcers need to act honestly and ignite the fear of monetary compensation or legal implications in the conscience of the law violators.

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Q4. (a) Critically analyse the statement, "Protection of intellectual property encourages creativity, innovation and breathtaking inventions." Discuss this in relation to World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Oman intellectual property law provisions quoting relevant Royal Decree. 

Answer - World Trade Organisation: The TRIPS Agreements is an essential component, which is currently used for facilitating trade in the field of knowledge and creativity (Wto.org, 2019). This agreement helps in resolving trade disputes, which occur in the trading of intellectual properties. As commented by Braithwaite et al. (2017), intellectual properties can be referred as artistic expressions or logos used by organisations. The government is also instrumental in creating rights, which help the creators to prevent others from copying their creations. The government also provides the creators with agency over the right to negotiate the value of their creations.

Oman intellectual property law provisions: Under the Oman intellectual property laws, there are specifications regarding the infringements occurred by the unauthorised use of intellectual properties. As observed by Said (2016), owners need to put out notice of their creations so that the common public can be aware of the ownership. Putting notice also helps in acquiring more legal benefits so that the owner of an intellectual property can prosecute a violator in court, when necessary. This process of giving notice generally takes place with the process of patenting a specific intellectual property.

(b) Critically explain tort law and why it is important for society. Give a detailed example of the application of tort law in Oman.

Answer - Critical explanation of tort law: A tort is referred to as the injuries or harms caused by an individual or an organisation, which are imposed as liabilities under the civil laws of the Oman court. As commented by Arqawi et al. (2018), an injury in this context is described as the invasion of an entity's legal rights, whereas harm is considered as a personal loss an individual bears. The aim of the tort law is to provide justice to the injured entities. The law also suggests that the perpetrators of the injuries are legally liable and are supposed to compensate for the loss occurred.

Importance in society: Tort is significantly important in upholding the essence of justice in the society. As per the view of Waheedi and Stilt (2018), this law is instrumental in shifting the burden of loss levied on th injured to the party, which has caused the harm. Individuals or organisations can demand monetary compensations, injunctions or restitution.

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Q5. Critically explain six aspects of a valid contract and how contracts lead to orderly commerce, quoting relevant Royal Decree? Give a relevant well explained Oman company example to support your answer.

Answer - Aspects of a valid contract:

Offer: The first element of a valid contract is considered to be the offer or agreement requirements that are determined by both concerned parties. Upon the acceptance of the author, it would be regarded as a legally valid contract.

Acceptance: The party, which is offered a specific agreement, needs to accept the offer after evaluating the rules and regulations mentioned in the offer. As suggested by Agarwal (2017), in case of a negotiation, the offer would not be considered valid.

Consideration: Consideration in a valid contract refers to the offerings that a party is proposing to present in return of the offer. The promisee and the promissor would be engaged in a process of exchange in this step of a valid contract (Oman.om, 2019).

Intention of creating legal relations: Any valid contract should be based upon the intentions of creating legal relations. As commented by Allen (2016), a contract would not be considered valid until both the engaged parties agree that the agreement is legally enforceable.

Certainty: The terms and regulations mentioned in a valid contract should be specific and should possess clarity so that both the engaged parties can fully fathom the implications of the regulations.

Capacity: In accordance with Billah (2016), the capacity of a legal contract is limited by the legal boundaries set by the country it is functioning under. The agreements cannot have any regulation, which is in direct or indirect violation of the laws mentioned in the state legal system.

Orderly commerce:

Protecting both parties: A valid contract is essential for protecting the interests of all the parties involved in the agreement. As suggested by De Bel-Air (2015), a legally valid agreement ensures that the regulations are properly enforced along with increasing the probabilities of success.

Locking financial agreements: In case of a written and valid agreement, there are less risks of financial fraudulent practices. Even though such issues occur, the parties would have a legal contract, which they can enforce on the defaulter.

Closing a contract: In order to end a contract, both the parties need to ensure that their requirements, which are mentioned in the agreement, have been met and they are satisfied with the contract.

Example of a company: The Bahwan Engineering Group LLC is engaged in several contracts s they provide contractual services for building heavy infrastructures (Bahwanengineering.com, 2019). This company engages in valid contracts, where the cost of the project and the timeline is mentioned. Moreover, the company does not involve in fraudulent practices, which violates the laws made by the court of Oman.

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Conclusion: Business laws are necessary for engaging a business in an honest and ethical set of operations. It has been evidenced in the study that a business needs to adhere to various laws such as agency laws, tort laws and labour laws in order to conduct a legally recognised business. The study has critically evaluated the legal system of Oman with respect to its insurance laws and the elements of a valid contract. However, laws are often not enforced due to corruption and dishonest practices.

Recommendations: It would be beneficial for the organisations to understand the implications of the agency law before appointing directors, who will be agents.

The ventures would find it useful to consider the patents and copyrights of the creators to ensure intellectual property rights.

It can be recommended to the business owners that they should adopt proper insurance policies to prevent unexpected loss.

The enterprises would be benefited by following labour laws, which will increase employee retention.

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