civil law


July 21, 2019



| Your comment matters, please click here to rate article!

UAE legislative framework empowers courts to enforce judgments issued by foreign courts under specific conditions. This is in accordance with Article 85 of Cabinet Decision No. 57/2018 On the Regulation of Federal Law No. 11/1992 on the Civil Procedure (the Civil Procedures Regulations) which states that:

"1. Judgments and orders delivered by a foreign country may be ordered to be executed in the State under the same conditions as prescribed in the law of that country for the execution of judgments and orders issued in the State. 

2. The order for execution, including the particulars specified in Article (16) of this Regulation shall be made on a petition and submitted by the person concerned to the execution judge. The judge shall issue his order within five days from the date of its submittal. His order may be appealed in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed for filing an appeal. It shall not be possible to order the execution before the verification of the following: 

A. The Courts of the State are not exclusively competent in the dispute in which the judgment or order was rendered and the foreign Courts that issued it are competent in accordance with the rules of international jurisdiction established by their law. 

B. The judgment or order is issued by a Court in accordance with the law of the country in which it was issued and duly ratified. 

C. The litigants in the case in which the foreign judgment was delivered were summoned and were duly represented. 

D. The judgment or order has the force of res judicata in accordance with the law of the Court issuing it, provided that the judgment has acquired the force of res judicata or provided for in the same judgment. 

E. The judgment does not conflict with a judgment or order rendered by a Court of the State and does not contain anything contrary to public order or morals. 

3. The enforcement judge shall have the right to obtain the documents supporting the application before issuing his decision."

The petition for enforcement of a foreign judgement should contain the information as required under Article 16 of the Civil Procedures Regulations, which state as follows. 

“1. The lawsuit shall be filed before the Court, upon the plaintiff's request, by submitting his statement of claim to the case management office electronically or in writing as applicable in the Court. 

2. The statement of claim shall contain the following data: 

A. The plaintiff's name, surname, ID number or a photocopy thereof, or any similar documents issued by government entities confirming his identity, profession, occupation, domicile, workplace, phone number, fax number or e-mail -the plaintiff has no domicile in the State, domicile shall be elected therefor -as well as the name of his representative, his surname, ID number, occupation, job, domicile, workplace, fax number or e-mail address.

B. The defendant's name, surname, ID number (if any), profession or job, domicile or elected domicile, residence, workplace, phone number, e-mail address, and fax number - if the defendant has no domicile in the State, domicile shall be elected therefor - as well as his representative's name, surname, profession or job, domicile and workplace, if he works for others. However, in case neither the defendant nor his representative has a known domicile or workplace, the last domicile, residence or workplace and fax number or e-mail address thereof shall be mentioned.

C. The Court before which the lawsuit is filed.

D. The date of filing the statement of claim with the case management office.

E. The subject matter of the lawsuit, the demands and grounds thereof.

F. The signature of the plaintiff or his representative, after verifying the identity of each of them.”

The courts can hear claims against the parties based in other jurisdictions if the conditions as set out in Article 85 are met. The approach towards enforcement of the judgment and other procedures concerning civil proceedings is in accordance with the Civil Procedures Law. 

Parties to the contract often refer to the courts or independent authorities who will have jurisdiction in the case of a dispute. However, the Law of UAE supersedes the agreement between the parties, if the courts of UAE inherit the authority on the said matter under the Civil Procedures Law.

It has been held by the Dubai Court of Cassation that jurisdiction clauses are void if the subject matter opposes the public policy of the country, accordingly, the Dubai court will have exclusive jurisdiction.

Be Careful Before Finalising Commercial Contracts!

Whether the judgments issued by foreign courts will hold a practical stance in Dubai courts is still a question up for debate. Thus, parties must carefully opt for competent jurisdiction bearing in mind the enforcement procedure. The probability of any difficulty during execution would reduce to nil if the civil proceedings were initiated before the right court.

Parties must, therefore, appoint Corporate Lawyers of UAE to draft and finalise the contracts. Further, parties having claims against entities registered in Dubai might feel forced to initiate proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction due to the agreement in their contract, even though Dubai Courts will be apt for trying such matters. They may also seek redress from the courts in their home country, considering the language barrier in UAE.

In the event, the claimant for any reason obtains a foreign court's judgment against an entity registered in Dubai, they still hold an option to enforce the foreign judgment in Dubai Courts in accordance with Article 85 of the Civil Procedures Regulations. 

Furthermore, the conditions for enforcement set out in Article 85 of the Civil Procedures Regulations will apply to decisions of an arbitration award issued in a foreign country, subject to the condition that the award should be issued in a matter in respect of which arbitration is possible and the award was enforceable in the country in which it was issued. This is in accordance with Article 86 of the Civil Procedures Regulations which is highlighted below:

"The provisions of Article (85) of this Regulation shall apply to arbitrators' awards issued in a foreign country. The arbitrators' award shall be issued in a matter in respect of which arbitration is permissible pursuant to the law of the State and enforceable in the country in which it was issued."

In Dubai Court of Cassation judgment Number 269 of 2006, the plaintiff obtained a civil judgment from UK courts to be enforced against the defendant who was residing in Dubai. The request for enforcement was rejected by both the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court of Dubai. The matter was thereafter, presented before the highest court of Dubai, the Court of Cassation. Unfortunately, the case was again rejected, and the court opined that since the plaintiff has failed to submit substantial proof evidencing a collaboration between UAE and the UK regarding enforcement of the foreign judgment, the case would be rejected.

On a similar note, in Dubai Court of Cassation, case number 517 (civil) on 28 August 2016, a judgment issued by the Californian court was presented before the Court of First Instance in Dubai against a party residing in Dubai. The petition was rejected by the Court of First Instance on the basis that there was no treaty in this regard between the United States and UAE. However, the Appeal Court reversed the decision passed by the lower court on the grounds that the conditions outlined in the Civil Procedure Code were met. The defendant filed an appeal before the Court of Cassation, wherein the judgment was again reversed on the same note as that of the Court of First Instance.

The judgments of Dubai courts affirm that, while it might be conceivable to enforce the foreign judgment by virtue of mutual collaboration or treaty, the absence of such a treaty will create a hindrance towards its implementation. It is indeed true that sometimes even the presence of a treaty will not guarantee the enforcement of a foreign judgment and UAE courts are renowned for declining such enforcement in such cases. Parties must bear in mind the difficulty of enforcing such a judgment against a party residing in Dubai, where the court has rejected to entertain the case due to a lack of mutual arrangements between the countries.


As a general practice, the courts in Dubai will have jurisdiction over the matter if either party is residing in Dubai, irrespective of the terms of the commercial contract, subject to the clause that the countries have mutual collaboration or agreement in that regard. Claimants must carefully consider prior to bringing any claims against a Dubai-based party, with obtaining a judgment from the foreign court not sufficient to meet the requirement. Thus, seeking advice from Commercial Lawyers of Dubai is utmost.

Related Links

Copyright © of this article is retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. We explicitly grant you permission to download a copy, without any alteration, of this article for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or any charge. This article can be utilized on your website or for marketing, however, we grant you permission to host this article on your website and no other rights. This content should not be altered in any way or sold commercially in any format without prior permission of the copyright holder. During reference of this article, full biographic details entailing the name of the author, his designation, the institute and the publishing date of the article shall be provided.


No comments found.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know more?
Then talk to us.

Client Testimonials

I owe the success of my case to Dr. Hassan's diligent approach. He remained focused, put me at ease and always went the extra mile. Dr. Hassan tirelessly put my case in the best possible light and I cannot thank him enough. I would highly recommend Dr. Hassan - I am grateful to him from the bottom of my heart.

Raphael Lauria
Manager, FME General Trading

Dr. Hassan Elhais is among the best legal consultants I have ever worked with. He has an amazing ability to reduce complex issues into a simple concept that non-legal people can understand. He consistently develops innovative litigation strategies that help us to achieve our ultimate legal goals.

Zhuo Liu

...the extraordinary effort that has been exerted by the staff, and we specially thank Dr. Hassan Mohsen Alhais. Wishing your continues success & excellence...

H.H. Sheikh Saeed Bin
Mohammed Hashir Al Maktoum

I believe everyone should recognize what a difference Dr. Hassan Elhais work has made to people's lives; and especially to our family's life, because we will remain forever grateful to each and every one of his team.

Luis Pozueco

Dr. Hassan Elhais never fears cases that involve exposure and he always gives me his honest assessment of our chances of success, which is invaluable to me.

Bassam Yamout
Director, JM Metal Trading LCC

He aided us not only in providing legal advice but also in all legal issues that required a long term strategic approach to achieve most favorable and optimum outcomes he provided us with high level of professional service.

Philippe Delbecq

Dr. Hassan Elhais is a responsible, reputable counsel who operates to high levels of service.

British Client

Dr Hassan Elhais is responsive, thorough and creative with his advice, and is a valued advisor and legal consultant.

Asma Mattar
Manager, Italian Style

Regardless of the complexity of the matter I know Dr. Hassan Elhais will consider not only legal strategy but also business practicalities in providing advice and litigation options.

Dr. Massimo Hakim
Chairman, Italian Style

I recommend Dr. Hassan Elhais to anyone who says 'I'm in legal trouble'. I was extremely satisfied with the high standard of his work. He has always been there when I have needed him and I refer all my clients, family and friends to him/his firm.

Manish Gupta
Marketing Manager, Express Digital System

Dr. Hassan Elhais was very professional and he listened to my needs. He was very prompt, efficient and always kept me informed. Dr. Hassan Elhais's service was excellent and I would definitely recommend him to friends and colleagues.

James Horsley
British Client

Select your Language:


Main Menu