March 18, 2019

Key updates modernise UAE civil procedure

Civil procedure in the onshore UAE Courts has very recently been supplemented, and in certain key respects has been revised, by extensive Federal regulations signalling continued modernisation of the onshore legal process. These developments, effective from 16 February 2019, are of relevance to all businesses with a presence or commercial interests in the UAE, and are likely to be of particular positive interest to claimants.

It remains to be seen how the Executive Regulation will co-exist and operate in practice within the core framework of the Civil Procedure Code

In brief, UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018 concerning the Executive Regulation of the Civil Procedure Law No. 11 of 1992 (Executive Regulation):

  1. Modernises the framework for the commencement of claims in legal proceedings, the service of legal process (including through electronic means) and responding to a claim.
  2. Enhances the ability of creditors to obtain expedited judgments on admitted debt claims. The "Payment Order" process has always existed under the Civil Procedure Code, but it was seldom used as it was limited to financial instrument / commercial paper claims. It is now extended to any written admission of debt (including by email).
  3. Enhances the process for enforcement of foreign judgments: while there remains a requirement of the enforcing party to prove reciprocity of enforcement in the state of origin of the foreign judgment, the previous jurisdictional hurdle (i.e. that enforcement would be refused if the UAE Courts themselves had original jurisdiction over the claim) is now limited to cases where the UAE Courts had 'exclusive jurisdiction' over the underlying claim. The enforcing party may also bring its claim for enforcement directly before an Enforcement Judge who will determine the claim on an expedited basis and initially without notice to the defendant.
  4. Supplements extensively the provisions in relation to Court attachment orders and related remedies, both pre-judgment and for post-judgment enforcement.

It remains to be seen how the Executive Regulation will co-exist and operate in practice within the core framework of the Civil Procedure Code (a Federal law).

Please contact Keith Hutchison, Sherif Maher or Maher Al Nashar for further information.