Dubai bases its legal system on civil law principles and is influenced by Egyptian law and the Islamic Sharia Law. The laws and regulations are united in a series of important codes that, together with subsidiary legislation, offer the general principles of law in Dubai.
Dubai has its own independent courts and judges and it is one of the two Emirates in the United Arab Emirates that is not part of the UAE Federal Judicial Authority. Matters that are brought before a court in Dubai are heard by one or more judges. Dubai does not have a legal system that uses juries.
The court system in Dubai
Dubai has its own courts system and it is not subject to the federal Supreme Court. The Court of Cassation is the highest court in Dubai and it only hears matters of law and it is not an appellate court. It supervises the lower courts to ensure that they apply and interpret the law accordingly. Lower courts in Dubai observe the legal principles imposed by the Court of Cassation.
The other types of courts in Dubai are the Courts of First Instance and a Court of Appeal. These three types of courts have three divisions: a civil one, a criminal one, and a Sharia one.
The Court of First Instance is the one for the first degree of litigation. The Court of Appeal is the second degree and the final and highest is represented by the Court of Cassation.
Commercial matters, including cases that may concern foreign business owners in Dubai
, are brought before the Civil Court, also known as the Court of First Instance. Debt recovery
cases are included in the commercial matters category, as well as any disputes that can be related to other matters, for example, maritime disputes. Claims for commercial first instance proceedings can be brought before a court by any individual above the age of 21. Business owners who cannot be present in Dubai to file a claim can empower a legally competent individual to represent their interests in court. One of our lawyers in Dubai can act on your behalf in commercial proceedings.
The Sharia or Islamic courts in Dubai are responsible for dealing with civil matters between Muslims, particularly family disputes like divorce, child custody and others. Non-Muslims do not bring cases before a Sharia court.
Our Dubai lawyers
can offer you legal representation regardless of the type of legal dispute.
Legal judgments in Dubai
The Court of First Instance delivers an initial judgement for a case, but the parties have the right to appeal to the Civil Court of Appeal within 30 days after the initial judgement has been delivered. The grounds for appeal must be legal and, at this stage, parties can bring forward additional evidence and request additional witnesses who will testify. Criminal actions in Dubai commence by filing a complaint with the local police department belonging to the jurisdiction in which the offence took place.
Requests for claim registrations are subject to terms and conditions and the plaintiff must provide adequate documentation to justify his cause. Part of the required documents in case of legal claims in Dubai include a declaration submitted by the plaintiff (containing the names of the plaintiff and defendant as well as the actions that brought the case to court), evidence, the document proving legal representation and proof of payment for various legal fees.