Latest updates

Development of a jurisdiction: update on DIFC courts
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 17 November 2015

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) courts have undergone significant developments in 2015, including expanding the reach of DIFC court judgments, responding to the needs of different nationalities in relation to wills and probate (eg, allowing non-Muslims to register a will under common law), expanding the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunal and spearheading the conversion of money judgments to arbitral awards.

One-year claim limitation commences from completion of delivery
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 06 September 2011

The statute of limitations mentioned in Article 287(a) of the Commercial Maritime Law provides that the one-year time limitation for claims arising from a maritime carriage contract should commence from the actual delivery date, or from the date on which the delivery should have taken place. For such cases, the date of the completion of delivery should be used, not the commencement date of the delivery.

Unregistered real estate broker not entitled to agreed commission
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 24 May 2011

The Dubai Supreme Court recently established an important precedent concerning whether a non-licensed real estate broker is entitled to agreed commission. The court opined that the requirement to obtain a licence to practise real estate brokerage in Dubai is an imperative rule whose violation invalidates the brokerage agreement concluded by the real estate broker.

Delay in delivery will not result in automatic termination of off-plan sales contract
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 01 February 2011

Due to the downturn in Dubai's real estate market, the completion of projects has often been delayed beyond the timeframe agreed by the contracting parties. Therefore, a pressing question among investors and in legal circles is whether such delay leads to the automatic termination of the contract and a refund of the deposits paid by the investors.

Non-payment of a single commercial debt can be a basis for bankruptcy declaration
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 20 July 2010

In an unequivocal decision reinforcing the legal grounds for declaration of bankruptcy, the Dubai Supreme Court ruled that a trader's suspension of payment of a single commercial debt is sufficient to declare its bankruptcy, provided that the non-payment indicates the instability of the trader's financial position and the fragility of its creditworthiness.

Claim based on underlying contract is implied rescission of settlement agreement
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 27 April 2010

The Dubai Supreme Court has consolidated the concept of treating a settlement agreement as a contract. The court held that such an agreement is subject to rescission if a party fails to perform its obligations pursuant to the terms and conditions, and that a claim relating to a dispute arising from the underlying contract which led to the settlement agreement is an implied demand for rescission of the agreement.

Can Failure to Register Void an Off-Plan Sales Contract?
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 01 September 2009

The Law Regulating the Interim Real Estate Register in the Emirate of Dubai has had a major impact on the real estate market. However, doubts remain over the penalty imposed for breach of the developer's duty to record off-plan sales contracts concluded before the enforcement of the law. Lower courts and the Court of Appeals have reached sound but opposing conclusions on whether such contracts are void.

Supreme Court Rules on Principal’s Liability for Cheques Issued by Agent
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 16 December 2008

In a recent case the Supreme Court ruled that pursuant to Article 153 of the Civil Code, if an agent enters into a contract in the name of its principal and within the bounds of its authority, the provisions of that contract, as well as the benefits and obligations arising therefrom, will devolve upon the principal.

No Automatic Termination Even for Definite-Period Agencies
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 21 October 2008

In a recent case the Dubai Supreme Court reignited controversy over the automatic termination of an agency upon the expiry of its agreed term which had existed among the legal and distributorship business circles before the promulgation of Federal Law 13/2006, amending certain provisions of the Federal Law on Commercial Agencies.

Supreme Court Recognizes Admissibility of Electronic Records
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 26 August 2008

Following the enactment of the Federal Law on Electronic Commerce and Transactions, the Dubai Supreme Court has recognized the admissibility of an electronic record for the first time. The court relied on a number of provisions of the law, including the provision that electronic data is admissible even if it is not original or in its original form.

Conflict of Jurisdiction between DIFC Court and State Courts
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 08 July 2008

Since the promulgation of Law 12/2004 in respect of judicial authority in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), questions have been raised in legal circles regarding the rules governing conflicts of jurisdiction between the DIFC Court and courts of the Emirate of Dubai on the one hand, and the DIFC Court and UAE federal courts and courts of other emirates on the other.

Court’s Soft Approach to Arbitral Award
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 25 March 2008

In a recent judgment the Dubai Supreme Court adopted a softer approach when interpreting the procedural requirements set out in the UAE Civil Procedure Code for ratifying an arbitral award. While one party to the arbitration wished the court to ratify the award, the other argued that the award did not include the arbitration agreement pursuant to the Civil Procedure Code.

Leverage for Non-registered Agents
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 12 February 2008

In a recent judgment the Dubai Supreme Court established a precedent by allowing the courts to hear an action brought by an unregistered agent against the principal. The action concerned the agent’s demand for compensation due to damages suffered by the premature termination of his agency, including loss of anticipated profits had he completed the agreed period of agency.

Abu Dhabi Becomes Independent Local Jurisdiction
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 05 February 2008

The Law on the Judicial Department of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has converted the emirate into an independent local jurisdiction, placing it outside the federal jurisdiction which had previously applied. It has created a legal structure comprising courts of all levels and an independent local public prosecution service.

Separation of Dubai Public Prosecution and Courts Departments
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 07 June 2005

The crown prince of Dubai has ordered a complete separation of the Public Prosecution Department and the Courts Department. The separation is designed to enhance the performance of both departments and ensure the further transparency, integrity and credibility of the judicial system.

Warsaw Convention and the Jurisdiction of National Courts
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 12 April 2005

A judgment passed by the Dubai Supreme Court in 2004 has created concern among local and international cargo circles alike. The judgment serves to put a check on litigating parties trying to pull a foreign carrier under UAE jurisdiction on false grounds, making it clear that the defendants' involvement must be genuine.

Establishment of Independent Judiciary in the DIFC
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 01 March 2005

A new law establishing the judicial authority for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has been promulgated. The law sets out the structure for a judicial system within the DIFC, which was launched in 2004 in order to create a regional capital market to be regulated in line with international standards.

Supreme Court Rejects Claim for Paris Convention Protection
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 14 December 2004

The Supreme Court has affirmed that the Paris Convention can be used to protect only trademarks affixed to products. It therefore declined to extend convention protection in an action against the use of a registered trademark as the bare trade name of a Dubai shop.

Warsaw Convention Should Not Preclude Imperative Rules of Proceeding
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 09 November 2004

In a recent case the Supreme Court of Dubai held that although the provisions of the Warsaw Convention are part of the binding law of the United Arab Emirates pursuant to its membership of the convention through Federal Decree 13/1986, the UAE courts were competent to hear the case since one of the co-defendants was of UAE residence.

Arresting a Vessel
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 07 September 2004

The Dubai Supreme Court recently ruled that the Dubai Civil Court, in arresting a vessel, had jurisdiction over the merits of the dispute even though the vessel was not of UAE origin, provided that the merits of the case fell among the cases mentioned in Article 122 of the UAE Maritime Law.