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THE EVOLUTION OF COMMERCIAL LAW IN THE UAE: A NEW HORIZON

In the dynamic legal landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a landmark ruling by the Federal Supreme Court has set a new precedent in the realm of commercial law. This emphasizes the sanctity of contractual agreements and the meticulous application of legal principles.Dubai: Stemming from cassation No. 1250 of 2023 Commercial, this pivotal decision underscores the UAE judiciary's commitment to justice and transparency in business dealings, thereby bolstering investor confidence and reinforcing the legal framework governing commercial transactions.The case revealed complexities of contractual disputes, where errors in the interpretation of legal statutes by lower courts were identified and rectified, particularly focusing on the essence of consensual contracts and the critical importance of adhering to legal formalities. This safeguarded contractual rights and highlighted the necessity for strict compliance with legal protocols to avoid contract nullification.This ruling marks significant advancement in UAE commercial law, reflecting a deeper understanding and application of legal principles in the business world. It serves as a reminder of the UAE's evolving legal environment, continually adapting to meet the challenges of its vibrant economic landscape.Beyond this case, the UAE has introduced several legal reforms and initiatives aimed at enhancing the legal framework and supporting the country's position as a leading global business hub. These include adopting advanced technologies in legal proceedings, introducing more flexible business laws to attract foreign investment, and establishing specialized commercial courts to expedite business dispute resolutions.These developments signify a forward-looking approach to commercial law in the UAE, geared towards fostering a secure environment for business growth and investment. As the UAE continues to refine its legal system, it solidifies its status as a jurisdiction that values justice, transparency, and efficiency in commercial transactions.This evolution of commercial law in the UAE not only enhances the predictability and reliability of the legal system for domestic and international businesses but also contributes to the broader economic development and competitiveness of the nation on the global stage.Expanding this discussion to include Saudi Arabia offers a broader perspective on legal reforms in the Gulf region. While the UAE's recent ruling highlights its judiciary's focus on contractual agreements, Saudi Arabia has also been undergoing significant legal transformations under its Vision 2030 initiative. These aim at diversifying the economy, improving transparency, and attracting foreign investment, similar to the UAE's objectives. Both countries are enhancing their legal frameworks to support business activities, yet their approaches reflect their unique legal traditions and economic goals. For instance, Saudi Arabia is modernizing its judicial system and introducing business-friendly regulations, part of comprehensive economic reforms that include legal enhancements to support its economic diversification plans.IN CONCLUSIONThese parallel yet distinct paths underscore the dynamic legal and economic landscape of the Gulf region, with both nations striving to create a more favorable environment for businesses, albeit through their tailored strategies and legal philosophies.ALKETBI TOUCH: ALKETBI team is highly skilled and frequently provides legal assistance specializing in sustaining companies in their expansion and development, while believing in Dubai International capacities. If you request further guidance with relation to expanding or relocating to Dubai as a MENA hub, Let us know!

DUBAI CONSIDERS EXPANDING DIFC JURISDICTION TO ALL FREE ZONES

Dubai Statistics Center has conducted a survey seeking public input on the potential application of 'Common Law' to all free zones in Dubai.Dubai: This move suggests the Dubai government is exploring ways to integrate DIFC laws and empower the DIFC Courts to handle civil and commercial disputes across the emirate's free zones.I.BACKGROUND OF THE DIFC'S LEGAL FRAMEWORKThe Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) operates under its own distinct legal system, with the DIFC Courts serving as its independent judicial authority. These courts currently handle disputes related to entities established in the DIFC, those connected to the DIFC itself, and cases where parties have voluntarily agreed to DIFC jurisdiction.The DIFC Courts largely adhere to the Civil Procedure Rules followed by English courts, and they primarily apply DIFC laws unless otherwise agreed upon. These DIFC laws are essentially a codification of English common law. Additionally, the DIFC Courts can apply any law mutually agreed upon by the disputing parties, including UAE law.II.CURRENT SCENARIO OF DUBAI COURTS FOR ON-SHORE DISPUTESUnder the existing legal framework, free zone companies must either resolve their disputes through arbitration or refer them to the on-shore Dubai Courts, unless they have opted for DIFC jurisdiction. The Dubai Courts operate under a civil law system, applying UAE laws by default. Proceedings in these courts are conducted exclusively in Arabic, while the DIFC Courts use English.III.SURVEY FINDINGS: HYBRID SYSTEM VS. STANDALONE SYSTEMThe Dubai Statistics Center's survey suggests two potential approaches to extending DIFC jurisdiction and laws to all Dubai free zones: a hybrid system and a standalone system.a)Hybrid System: DIFC Courts with Default UAE LawsIn this model, the DIFC Courts would oversee civil and commercial disputes within the free zones, applying UAE laws as the default legal framework. However, for matters related to litigation procedures and evidence rules, DIFC laws would take precedence. This means that while the DIFC Courts would adjudicate disputes, UAE laws would play a significant role in shaping court decisions.b)Standalone System: Full DIFC Jurisdiction for Selected Free ZonesUnder this approach, the entire legal framework of DIFC's civil and commercial laws (excluding licensing regulations) would be extended to the selected free zone. This implies that companies within these zones would operate entirely under DIFC laws and regulations, with the DIFC Courts handling all relevant disputes.IV.IMPLICATIONS OF EXPANDED DIFC JURISDICTIONIf implemented, the Hybrid System would grant the DIFC Courts jurisdiction over any entity in any Dubai free zone without requiring parties to explicitly agree to DIFC jurisdiction. However, the DIFC Courts would only apply UAE law unless there's an agreement to apply a specific different law.Under the Standalone System, the DIFC Courts would have jurisdiction over disputes involving entities from other free zones and would apply DIFC Laws by default. This effectively means that disputes would be resolved under common law, following the common law court process (lex fori and lex loci).V.UNCERTAINTIES REGARDING FINANCIAL SERVICES SUPERVISIONIt remains unclear whether a non-DIFC free zone entity engaged in financial services would be subject to the supervision of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in the same manner as DIFC entities.IN CONCLUSIONThe Dubai government's exploration of extending DIFC jurisdiction and laws to all free zones is a significant development that could reshape the legal landscape for businesses operating within these zones. The specific approach chosen, whether it's the Hybrid System or the Standalone System, will have far-reaching implications for dispute resolution and legal frameworks within Dubai's free zones..ALKETBI TOUCH: ALKETBI team is highly skilled and frequently provides legal assistance specializing in drafting and reviewing all contracts related to shipping and vessels registrations, should you want to receive further details and you would like any assistance, Let us know!Schedule a consultation for all your legal challenges.

INSIGHTS INTO THE REVISIONS TO MOVEABLE SECURITY REGISTRATION FEES

On December 15, 2023, amendments were introduced to the fees and services offered by the Emirates Integrated Registries Company (EIRC).Dubai: The current registration cost on the EIRC stands at AED 100; however, these fees are set to undergo a significant transformation. The modifications, under  Cabinet Decision No. 129/2023  effective from February 27, 2024, bring about 16 new services, each accompanied by distinct fees that escalate in accordance with the term period for each category of registered right.The amendments encompass several aspects, affecting both the existing and new categories of services. The adjustments to the existing categories, namely registration of a right, amendment of registration, and extension of registration, introduce a tiered fee structure based on the duration of the service. The breakdown includes:•AED 100 for registration of a right lasting less than 12 months•AED 150 for registration of a right spanning 12 to 24 months•AED 400 for registration of a right ranging from 2 to 5 years•AED 800 for registration of a right extending 5 to 10 years•AED 1,000 for registration of a right exceeding 10 yearsThe new categories, subject to an incremental fee basis, incorporate various services such as registration of amendments, extensions, objections, permissions, clearances, acceptances, and orders related to existing rights over moveable assets. Notably, this includes services like registering a sale of an asset and requests to take possession.These revisions underscore a heightened cost for perfecting security or enforcing rights over moveable assets, emphasizing the duration of the registered right as a determining factor in the associated expenses. Stakeholders involved in securing moveable assets are advised to be cognizant of these changes, effective February 27, 2024.IN CONCLUSIONStakeholders in moveable assets should be prepared for increased costs based on the term duration of registered rights, signaling a significant shift in financial considerations for perfecting security or enforcing existing rights.ALKETBI TOUCH:ALKETBI team is highly skilled and frequently provides legal assistance in this era of change, should you want to receive further details or you would like any legal assistance, Let us know!

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