UAE: How remote court hearings changed legal practice

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Abu Dhabi - For lawyers, the initiative will not only save them time and effort, but also improve the quality of their work.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Wed 23 Jun 2021, 9:03 PM

UAE lawyers, who have long been advocates of remote court hearings, have hailed the country’s target to have 80 per cent of litigation sessions online by the end of the year.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had announced the target earlier this week. “Our goal is to be the fastest, the best and the fairest in judicial services,” he said in a tweet.

For lawyers, the initiative will not only save them time and effort, but also improve the quality of their work and even represent a number of clients in different courts in one day.

Emirati lawyer Abeer Sharif, founder of ‘Ask Legal’ mobile app, said that since the start of the pandemic, remote hearings have become part of “fabric of the UAE’s court system” and they have been proven to be a big help.

“We tend to accomplish a better quality of work now since we can attend the court hearings from our offices. Then, we can immediately handle other work and meetings in the office,” Sharif said.

He added: “It used to be a big challenge to commute to courts and find a parking space. With the remote hearings, we have been relieved of such burden.”

Another lawyer, Nasser Malalla from Nasser Al Malalla Advoctes and Legal Consultants, said representing his clients in court remotely would save him time and money.

“Previously, we had to move to different courts in various emirates to attend hearings and represent our clients. But now, you can attend all court sessions from your office which is very convenient,” he said.

Al Malalla noted that he has installed in his office a tech system that connects to courts and public prosecution and helps him attend the remote hearings along with his clients.

“The remote system has also saved police and prison guards from transporting inmates to courts daily. The inmates can now attend the sessions from the jail,” he said.

A criminal lawyer in Abu Dhabi, Ali Hassan, added: “With the remote system, you can represent many clients in different courts in a day, which wasn’t possible with the previous system where you had to physically attend the hearings.”

Hassan noted that sometimes he even had to ask his colleagues to represent him on behalf of his clients, especially for hearings in distant courts, but with the remote system, that won’t happen again.

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