Home Business Commercial Civil Litigation in Dubai – 5 Things to Know

Commercial Civil Litigation in Dubai – 5 Things to Know

by Uneeb Khan
legal firms in dubai

The Civil Litigation process often involves two or more parties that do not include criminal charges. To understand it thoroughly, it involves a commercial dispute between two or more business entities.

It it gravely important to understand that commercial disputes are resolved through litigation or arbitration. Where arbitration is a more effective way as it gives and becomes a reliable alternative dispute resolution mechanism. While on the other hand, litigation is a process where the party appears before the court and remains the primary dispute resolution channel in the UAE.

UAE’s Court System

When we talk about the court system in the UAE, it is a process of civil law system. When it comes to Free Zones, United Arab Emirates has several of zones in the UAE, including DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) and ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market). And free zones are no exception with regard to criminal laws. In fact, criminal laws will continue to be applicable in the free zones.

While there are specifically devised legal frameworks by the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), there is also adherence to the common law practiced in the UAE. These mentioned free zones in the UAE have specialized commercial courts that are entirely responsible for enforcing and maintaining the law related to commercial and civil litigation. The resolution of disputes and judgments being passed is associated with the basic law principles and is conducted and presented in English.

However, when we talk about the other onshore areas in the UAE, cases are conducted in Arabic. From document submission to translation of documents into other languages and adhering to the regulations set by the legal authorities, all the processes must be done in Arabic.

Moreover, the juridical system in the UAE can be explained and described at two different stages. The first is federal law, and the other is local law. Civil litigation is done in accordance with them and after checking for legal abiding and adherence. Here is what you must know about legal law and federal law;

  • At first, when we consider federal-level cases, a case is followed at the court of the first instance and then by the court of appeal, which is directly in connection with the Federal Supreme Court.
  • On the other hand, when we talk about the local court, and a few other including court of first instnace, court of cassation, and court of appeal.

However,  when we talk about UAE, some local judicial systems are bound to prevail where the rules, regulations, and laws are set and implemented by the authorized bodies. These include Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain.

What is the Limitation Period for Commercial Disputes?

The limitation period is the amount of time a lawsuit must be filed in the relevant court systems. If a case hasn’t been filed or a claim has not been presented in the specified limitation period, the party or parties may drag themselves to a point where they lose the chance of claiming their rights.

To understand the limitation period of commercial disputes, it is pivotal to understand a brief about Civil Code Law of the Federal Law No 5. According to the law, it has been written that ‘In contracts binding on both parties, if force majeure supervenes which makes the performance of the contract impossible, the corresponding obligation shall cease, and the contract shall be automatically canceled.’

So, in light of this Federal Law No 5 of 1985 (Civil Code), a claim must be brought within 15 years. Firstly, careful of the time-barred, or the case will no longer have any specific set of importance. With this being said, several statutes will provide a shorter time for bringing a case to court. Mainly, it also focuses on the nature of the claim.

5 Steps for Filing Commercial Civil Litigation in the UAE

Federal Law No 11 of 1992 deals with the Civil Procedural Law that governs the procedure for hearing, conducting trials, and resolving commercial disputes in the courts. This also includes the appeals and executive of final decisions. With this said, here are the five ways for filing commercial, civil litigation in the UAE as prescribed by the legal advisor in Dubai.

1. Preparing & Filing a Case in Court

The first and primary thing is to file commercial civil litigation before the court of the first instance. This is where you must be clear on the jurisdiction that will hear the case and deal with your matter. The petitioning party will also need to submit a statement of claim.

When you set yourself to file a claim, you will have to make sure that including all the details of the case, including but not limited to the names of the parties, the subject matter of the lawsuit, and demands of the claims before the court for which the claim is filed. So, when a party files a statement of claim, they receive information regarding the nature of their claim.

2. Case Hearing

The next step you need to be prepared for is the case hearing. The hearings typically happen in public, where the petitioner will have the right to present the necessary evidence. On the countering end, the defendant will present their defense and necessary evidence if they don’t plead guilty to the claim.

3. Report

After hearing the trial in court, the entitled court will set an expert or a group to conduct a more in-depth investigation of the claims being made. These experts will view the case on the basis of the Federal Law No 10 of 1992. The experts dealing with the claim investigation must comply with the procedure that Evidence Law clears everything about it.

These experts will prepare the parties for litigation while also creating the report that will be submitted. However, if the court presents a judgment that doesn’t reflect an expert’s report, a clear objective must be presented in the judgment.

4. Judgment

Once the pleadings of the case are over, the court will have the right to adjudicate the case by giving a final pronunciation of their judgment. This judgment will include all the details, such as the name of the court, venue, type of case, date, and the names of presided judges. Moreover, it is essential to note that this judgment will be the final factor in deciding the case.

5. Enforcement & Appeal

Relevant parties can file an application for the execution of the judgment once the judgment is received. Remember that during the enforcement, the court holds the right to attach or seize the movables that include but are not limited to debts, bonds, company shares, and bankruptcy details. The debtor may also receive an arrest warrant with a travel ban that, depending on the case’s nature.

On the other hand, every judgment can be appealed. However, if a party accepts the charges and sentence of the judgment, an appeal cannot be made.

The Final Words

Here is everything to know about commercial, civil litigation in the UAE. It is important to note how commercial disputes can be solved through litigation or arbitration. There are certain period, requirements, and requisites of judgments that must be fulfilled before the results of a case.

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