Dubai is the fastest-growing country in the Middle East. Its economy relies on the oil industry, where oil deposits and reserves are abundant in Dubai. Thousands of migrants reside in Dubai yearly from its neighboring countries and abroad. Locals from India, Pakistan, UAE, Philippines, and other countries relocated to Dubai for a chance of getting better work. Dubai is a melting pot of different cultures from the Middle East, Asia, the UK, and America. The legal structure of the Emirates is more of a dual-acting system, with Islamic Shariah and features of ordinary law predominating. However, as compared to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, the UAE’s regulations are more lenient. The UAE’s rules are continually being established and updated to keep up with the rapid pace of growth.
The legal system of Dubai, like that of other Gulf States, is a blend of Sharia (Islamic Law), Civil and Criminal Laws, as administered by the Federal Judiciary, which includes courts of first instance and Supreme Courts. The Supreme Council of Rulers is the UAE’s highest ruling authority. It appoints the five members of the Federal Supreme Court, which presides over issues such as constitutional law and rule. The local government is also involved and plays an important role in each emirate’s legislation.
Dubai’s legal system is founded upon civil law principles and is influenced by Islamic Shariah Law and Egyptian Law. Unlike the other Middle Eastern countries, Dubai maintains its own judicial system.
- For advocates, the candidate must have a license in law, Islamic law, or a similar qualification from a state-accredited university or higher educational establishment, as well as have completed the appropriate training time.
- Beginning in 2011, a new policy compelled attorneys to register with the Department of Legal Affairs. This step is required before they may be licensed to provide legal services outside of the courtroom. The registration paperwork specifies what information the applicant must provide in order to obtain the license.
- Lawyers who practice in Dubai have to be licensed to practice law in Federal courts by the Ministry of Justice and in the Emiri Diwan in other Emirate countries.
- Dubai lawyers must be graduates from recognized law or Shariah colleges.
- In Dubai, a lawyer is categorized as either an advocate or a legal counselor. Advocates cannot practice in federal courts unless they are registered on the Ministry of Justice’s list of practicing attorneys, according to the Federal Law on the Regulation of the Profession. Otherwise, if the lawyer wishes to practice law in the other Emirates, he must be licensed by the Emiri Diwan.
- The advocate must be a national of the United Arab Emirates in order to meet this requirement. In addition, he must be at least 20 years old. Furthermore, he must be considered to have the full civil capacity, including a good character and reputation, and he must not have received any type of disciplinary or criminal sentence involving a breach of honor or trust.
- Though they restrict it to locals, lawyers do not have to be UAE nationals. Foreign lawyers must have a certificate of complete law studies, stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign law practitioners must be under the supervision of an Arabic law firm to be accredited.
- Dubai is an Arab country, which strictly follows Sharia Law. Legal practitioners and expatriate legal counsels must be familiarized with this. Sharia Law is the moral code and religious law of Islam. These laws address secular topics, including crime, economics, and politics. It also includes ruling of other personal matters – sex, diet, hygiene, prayer, and fasting.
- Lawyers in Dubai deals with the common legal issues of the land – criminal cases, real estate lawsuits, commercial lawsuits, labor legal issues, personal status violations. The personal status court follows the Shariah principles.
- Other services that Dubai lawyers offer are corporate governance, structuring and licensing of international businesses, free zones, tax, Islamic finance, and enforcement of laws.
Dubai has developed a dynamic legal and regulatory framework over the years. The United Arab Emirates has two types of courts as mentioned above which consist of civil courts and Sharia courts. These courts deal with a wide range of legal issues. Each Emirate has its own federal court. Construction contracts and disputes, energy, commercial properties, finance, and dispute resolution are the primary areas of practice for Dubai lawyers.
Dubai attorneys can practice in a variety of legal fields. They may practice as sole practitioners, in partnerships, or as members of a civil company. Lawyers from Dubai are competent in handling legal issues concerning their land, locals, and foreigners.