Law and Compliance in the U.A.E.

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Business Contract

General Observation
It is important to clearly stipulate the obligations of each of the parties.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Special attention should be given here to the law applicable to contracts since UAE is not party to the Vienna Convention. Moreover, the local judicial systrm is very complex and often highly favourable to the locals.
Advisable Incoterms
Language of Domestic Contract
Contracts are valid in English as well as Arabic. In case of confusion, the arabic version will be considered. A contract should be prepared in Arabic if it is to be submitted to a court.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
It is possible to choose foreign laws to be applicable to a contract but in case of dispute with the provisions of the Emirates law, the court will refuse to apply the foreign law.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
The judicial system is not independent.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The judicial system of the country does not guarantee impartial justice to foreign nationals.
The Language of Justice
Classical Arabic is official language of the courts. Gulf Arabic and English can be used in all the federal courts. In local courts, only Arabic is used.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Recourse to an interpreter is possible.
Legal Similarities
The two main sources of law are the Sharia which effects the personal status, criminal cases and civil law for other cases. In some Emirates commercial disputes can be judged by Sharia courts.

The Different Legal Codes

Company Code Modalities for creation of a company and its working
Maritime Code Shipping trade Law, freight regulations
Commercial Code Commercial Code
Labour Law Labour Law
Penal Procedure Code Criminal procedure, definition of offences,sanctions.
Checking National Laws Online
National legal portal, only in Arabic
Website for information on the Emirates judicial system.
Other Useful Resources
Gulf-Law, Website providing information on the Emirates judicial system.
Laws of the Emirates.
Country Guides
English website collating UAE laws.

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The Jurisdictions

Federal Supreme Court or Final Appeal Court This is the highest proceeding. It can scrap decisions taken in appeal. It also has the power to cancel the decisions taken by the Emirates municipalities which follow the federal system of justice.
Federal Appeals Court This is the second degree jurisdiction. It has the power to invalidate or confirm the decisions taken in trials court.
Federal Courts of First Instance They judge cases on First Instance.
Dubai and Ras el Khaimah Courts These two Emirates do not adhere to the Federal judicial system and thus have an independent system. It is also organised in three degress of jurisdiction.
The Sharia Courts Sharia is applied by them. They are in general competent in matters concerning personal status of Muslims. However in some Emirates, they can handle criminal cases (specially in case of drug trafficking) or even trade issues.

Court Officials

Supreme Court Judges
5 judges who are appointed by the National Supreme Council and the trial judges.
These are the functionaries
Public Prosecutor
He conducts criminal cases.
Judges of the Sharia Courts
They are also appointed by the government but they are trained in Islamic jurisprudence.
The representation contract between an advocate and his client should be registered at a notary public (Shar el 'aqari).
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