What You Should Know About UAE’s Legal System

Posted by Dr. Hassan Elhais on March 17th, 2021

On December 2nd, 1971, United Arab Emirates was declared as a united, independent, and sovereign state encompassing seven emirates. The legal system in the UAE is based on the constitution of the UAE; this system is dual in nature as it has local and federal courts with a Supreme Court. The UAE courts adjudicate civil matters in accordance with the Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 issuing the “Civil Procedure Law”.

The courts adjudicate criminal matters in accordance with the Federal Law No. 35 of 1992 issuing the law of Criminal Procedure and other laws dealing with specific crimes such as those dealt with in telecommunication, trademark, and copyright laws. In this uncertain world of globalisation and emerging markets, Dubai’s economic and cultural growth is underpinned by a legal and regulatory framework, which has developed sufficiently to encourage significant local and international enterprise in Dubai and is continuing to develop. A recurring theme when deciding where to do business is the suitability of the legal and regulatory framework in the particular local jurisdiction. The willingness of international businesses to set up and operate in Dubai with the help of Corporate Lawyers of Dubai, and the success of local Dubai businesses, is a clear testament to Dubai’s robust and dynamic legal and regulatory framework.

An overview

The UAE is governed by a civil law system in which Sharia plays a significant role. The Supreme Council of Rulers is the foremost legislative body in the UAE. The National Assembly is made up of representatives chosen by each Emirate. The laws of the federation are proposed by the Federal Council of Ministers and the National Assembly and then passed down by the Supreme Council of Rulers. The Court of First Instance is split into several divisions including the Civil Court, the Criminal Court, the Commercial Court, the Real Estate Court, the Labour Court, and the Personal Status Court. Decisions made in the lower courts may be appealed in the Court of Appeal, which has its own divisions that run parallel to those of the Court of First Instance. Judges of the Federal Courts of the UAE are recommended by the Ministry of Justice and appointed by a decree of the Supreme Council. The Court of Cassation is the highest court in the UAE and as mentioned, it will only hear matters of law. The Court of Cassation will not only act as an appellate court in respect of the decisions of the lower courts but will also supervise these lower courts and ensure that they are applying and interpreting the law correctly.

Rapid development

Dubai has developed a robust and dynamic legal and regulatory framework over a relatively short period of time to give international businesses and investors significant comfort when deciding to invest or conduct business in Dubai. The framework also encourages local Dubai businesses to flourish in a well-regulated environment. Dubai has recognized that in this rapidly changing world a dynamic attitude to law and regulation is Required. This has been a key factor in Dubai’s continued success and development.

Article by: Dr. Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant in Dubai, specializing in the drafting of all statements of claim, memos, and consultation on litigation of all manner.

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Dr. Hassan Elhais

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Dr. Hassan Elhais
Joined: December 20th, 2020
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