civil law

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September 15, 2014

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A Power of Attorney is a notarised letter of authority given by a person or a company to another person or a company, which allows them to act for and on behalf of the original person in various government departments and for contractual purposes. The attorney and the person giving it must be over 21 years of age and must be of sound mind.

A Power of Attorney is also required by lawyers prior to acting on behalf of their clients. If a Power of Attorney is executed in Dubai by a resident expatriate, a local citizen or a visitor, it must be signed by the person, bearing his original ID (Emirates ID or passport), in front of the notary public. After notarisation, two copies are given to the two parties and one is retained by the notary public for their records.

If a Power of Attorney is executed outside the UAE for use within the UAE, it has to be signed in front of the notary/magistrate/solicitor in the country of origin, attested by the foreign office in that country and legalised by the UAE embassy in the country of execution. The same document shall then be translated into Arabic in the UAE, attested by the Foreign Office in the UAE and legalised by the Ministry of Justice.

A Power of Attorney (POA) allows the attorney to sign in all capacities as stated in the instrument. This can include the right to buy and sell property, file cases in court, sign contracts etc. There is a trust relationship between the person giving the power of attorney and the attorney. Any misuse of the POA is an extremely serious offence and is considered a crime either through a breach of trust or fraud, and can be tried both under criminal and civil procedures in court. Although uncommon, one should take all necessary precautions while issuing a POA and if the POA is given for a specific task the executor should make sure that the instrument is cancelled following the correct procedures after the task is completed.

There is no concept of a Lasting Power of Attorney under UAE law, which means that any POA is automatically cancelled at the death of the executor. Lasting POAs which have effect even after the death of a person are special Power of Attorneys under the common law.

Irrevocable Power of Attorneys cannot be signed in Dubai. However, it is possible in other emirates like Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Each different Power of Attorney might have additional requirements according to the department using them. For example, a POA to sell a property cannot be given without being accompanied by the original title deed. A general POA to sell the property is generally no longer valid or accepted by the Dubai Lands Department. Any such Power of Attorney shall be accompanied with a title deed and shall have the address of the unit it is being given for.

Any person giving a Power of Attorney should be careful about whether they do so jointly or individually. A joint POA can only be used in the presence of both attorneys mentioned. This will make the POA both more secure and less flexible.

A Power of Attorney also contains the option of being delegable to another party. In such a case, it should be clearly written that the said Power of Attorney is delegable at the discretion of the attorney. In such instances, the attorney, for his convenience or in the event he is unable to be present, can delegate the POA to a third party who will then as a result also act for the executor under the same principles as contained within the given POA.

A POA can be cancelled by the executor at any time. The cancellation is done at the notary public and generally does not require the presence of the other party. However, some POAs require the other party to be present at the time of the cancellation. Additionally, if the POA is stipulated by a timeframe, it automatically expires at the conclusion of this period, with no further notice.

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