The age of globalisation and international relations have given rise to the need to simplify and partake in judicial connections worldwide. Walls between markets, nations, social and political systems are crumbling. A globalized market, instantaneous communications, technical transformation and travelling at a speed of sound are the order of the day. With these come to its own headaches and disputes affecting corporations and countries spanning across various jurisdictions. It’s not surprising Dubai law firms are springing up at a fast pace to tackle these challenges.
The fast economic and commercial growth in Arab countries has garnered attraction. This brought about the need for countries to enter foreign jurisdiction and enforce foreign judgements. Hence, it can bring about a legally robust and streamlined platform that can promote cross-border transactions across the globe while preparing lawyers in Dubai for what lies ahead.
The matters relating to the execution of foreign judgements have become vital in the UAE legal framework and one that law firms in Dubai are prepared to execute in full force. To reinforce foreign judgements, the UAE has signed different bilateral and judicial corporations with countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, India, France, Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, India, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, and many more. It should be noted that the UAE is determined in getting the jurisdiction to hear any case tabled before them no matter the condition granting the hearing of those disputes to foreign courts.
There are conditions under which the UAE legislative framework empowers courts to enforce judgements issued by foreign courts. This means the courts can only hear claims against the party only if these conditions are met. This is according to Article 21 of the Federal Law Number 11 of 1992 which states that:
“The courts shall have jurisdiction to examine the actions against the foreigner who has no residence or domicile in the state in the following cases:
1) If he had an elected domicile.
2) If the action is connected to real estate in the state, a citizen’s heritage, or an open estate therein.
3) If the action is of an obligation concluded, executed, or its execution was conditioned in the state or related with a contract required to be authenticated therein or with an incident occurred therein or bankruptcy declared at one of its courts.
4) If the action has been sued by a wife, who has a residence in the state, against her husband who had a residence therein.
5) If the action is concerned with alimony of one of the parents or the wife or with a secluded or with a minor, or with his relationship or with custody on fund or person, in case that the claimer of the alimony, the wife, the minor or the sequestered has a residence in the state.
6) If the action is regarding the civil status and the plaintiff is a citizen or a foreigner who owns a residence in the state, provided that the defendant had not a determined residence abroad or the national law is imperatively applicable on the action.
7) If one of the defendants has a residence or domicile in the state.”
The UAE comprises seven Emirates and they include Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. The laws and regulations regarding the enforcement of foreign judgements are binding on all the constituent emirates. Foreign judgements that can be enforced and executed are those which are issued by countries other than UAE.
According to Article 235 of the UAE Civil Procedure Code, execution of foreign judgements should be:
1- Judgments and orders issued in a foreign country may be ordered to be executed in the United Arab Emirates under the same conditions stipulated in the law of that country for the implementation of judgments and orders issued in the country.
2- The request for execution of the order shall be filed before the Court of First Instance in whose circuit the execution is sought in the usual conditions for filing the case. For the order of execution to be ordered, the following has to be verified:
A- The state courts have no jurisdiction over the dispute in which the judgment or order was issued, and the foreign courts that issued it are competent in accordance with the rules of international jurisdiction established in its law.
B- The judgment or order was issued by a competent court in accordance with the law of the country in which it was issued.
C- The litigants in the case in which the foreign judgment was issued have been summoned to appear and duly represented.
D- The judgment or order has gotten an absolute degree in accordance with the law of the court that issued it.
E- It does not conflict or refute with a ruling or order previously passed by a court in the country and does not contain anything that violates morals or public order in it.
In addition to this, Article 236 states that the provision of the previous article shall apply to arbitration judgments passed in a foreign country, and must be issued in a matter that may be arbitrated in accordance with the law of the state and enforceable in the country in which it was given.
Moreover, Article 237 of the UAE Civil Procedure Code states that :
1- attested documents and reconciliation minutes that are approved by the courts in a foreign country can be executed in UAE if:
- The implementation of the report has been proven to be in accordance with conditions stipulated in the law of that country to implement their equivalents issued in the United Arab Emirates.
- If the document or report does not breach the UAE moral code or public order.
2- The execution order referred to in the previous paragraph shall be requested by a petition given to the execution judge. Execution may not be ordered until after confirming that the required conditions for the execution of documents or reports are in accordance with the law of the country in which it was documented or attested and that it is free from what is contrary to morals and public order in the state.
Article 238 also stipulates that the rules provided in the previous articles do not prejudice the provisions of treaties between the state and other countries in this regard.
In conclusion, having entreaty with other countries and enforcing foreign judgment promote mutual respect and promote peaceful relationships between countries.