UAE to now enforce rulings by UK courts

The decision by the Ministry of Justice will cover financial cases and asset division disputes between couples or family members


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Wed 21 Sep 2022, 3:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Sep 2022, 4:47 PM

Following a decision by the UAE's Ministry of Justice, judgements issued by English courts will now be enforced in the country.

A resolution issued on September 13 by the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Justice requests courts in the country to take all the legal steps required to acknowledge and enforce orders by English courts.

“If a British expat fled the UK to avoid implementing a court decision, they could see the ruling against them being enforced here in the UAE,” said Dr Hasan Elhais from Al Rowaad Advocates.

The decision covers financial cases and asset division disputes between couples or family members. Before being submitted to a judge at one of the country’s civil courts, an English court ruling must be final and irrevocable.

This decision could mean a few challenges, however – one of which would be securing the enforcement of a UK court ruling if the person against whom the case was being filed was in the UAE on a residence visa at the time.

In this case, UAE courts could be the authority of jurisdiction, and the case could have been filed in one of the UAE’s relevant courts, Dr Elhais explained.

He added that one of the requirements to enforce a foreign court's order is that UAE courts do not have jurisdiction in the case or dispute. In order for UK rulings to be executed in the country, they must not be in conflict with a judgement issued by any UAE court.

“This marks a huge step in upholding the principles of reciprocity – [particularly] considering that a previous treaty signed between the two countries did not include enforcement of judgements issued by UK courts,” said Elhais.

He said the UAE – UK Treaty on judicial assistance does not contain any provision regarding the enforcement of one country’s court judgements in the other country.

“The decision means that UAE’s Civil Procedure Regulations law does not require a treaty be in place for the enforcement of foreign court judgements,” he added.


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