Safety and security of the people are the fundamental perhaps to the well-being of the society to meet the fast pace of developments happening not only internally as well as externally. Having said that, United Arab Emirates has to implement laws to retain its global position and continually improve, to act as a proper guideline and order as to what is accepted in its jurisdiction; and to keep it running.
The legal system of the United Arab Emirates is based on the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates; this system is dual in nature as it has local and federal courts with a Supreme Court Based at Abu Dhabi. However, in comparison to Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations, the laws in the UAE are more liberal.
Earlier this year, Dubai overhauled its courts' system from up to 300 days to 30 days- the whole process would run concurrently and be completed in one month. At present, the court said cases take up to 305 days between the filing of the complaint or charge and a judgment. A case is seen by up to 11 judges and three clerks and Dubai Courts currently handle about 60,000 criminal and civil cases per year. Under the new system, it aims to cut that to three judges and one clerk and not the three courts must hear the entire trial and issue their own judgments on cases typically spanning months or longer.
The legal system is divided into three stages such as Court of First Instance (federal and local), Court of Appeal (federal and local) and the Court of Cassation or Supreme Court for legal purposes. This "C3" system enables affected party to challenge the case and present more evidence within the provisions of the law to achieve the full extent of justice. Hence, shortens litigation time, simplifies procedures, reduces costs and ends prolonged judicial proceedings.
First Stage: Court of First Instance
Court of First Instance is the first degree of litigation and has the jurisdiction to hear all civil, commercial, administrative, labor and personal status lawsuits. Its jurisdiction includes examining the statement of claims, authentication of documents, all urgent matters related to disputes among the people and safeguarding their rights. It is also in charge of enforcing judicial execution deeds, as well as executions by deputation or reference.
Second Stage: Court of Appeal
Court of Appeal is the second degree of litigation which entitles the litigant affected by the Court of First Instance to appeal his/her case before a higher court in accordance with the provisions of the civil and criminal procedural laws effective in the UAE.
Only the convicted may appeal the court judgment. Thus, an appeal is not possible for anyone who accepts the ruling explicitly or implicitly.
The time limit to challenge a ruling starts from the day following its issuance, unless the law provides otherwise. The time limit for appeal shall be 30 days unless otherwise provided by the law and 10 days in urgent cases. The failure to observe the time limits of appeal in the judgments results in the extinguishment of the right of appeal.
Third Stage: Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation is the third degree of litigation with the power to try cases contested by the Court of Appeals. It supervises the interpretation of laws and its proper enforcement.
At this court, litigants may appeal only on points of law alone, such as violation of law or on erroneous application or interpretation. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of the judgment of the Court of Appeal if the value claimed in the action exceeds AED 200,000 or cannot be evaluated.
All decisions of the Court of Cassation are final and binding and are not subject to appeal.
Moreover, the three stages discussed above are further divided based on the bounds of the claim and the expertise of the judges.
Each level of court has a circuit to look into the various types of cases such as personal status cases, criminal cases, and civil cases. Each court is presided over by a president and supported by a judge or number of judges and administrative staff.
In addition, each court has judicial circuits including personal status, civil, criminal, commercial, labor and real estate.
The court circuits are categorized as major and minor which differ depending on the value, the type of the case, and the number of judges.
The minor circuits are formed by a single judge, who issues first instance judgments on civil, commercial, and labor actions, whose value does not exceed AED 500,000 and counterclaims whatever was their value.
Also, it reviews actions on :
1. Personal Status
2. Division of Common Property those related to the claim and
3. Specification of Wages and Salaries whatever was their value.
In all cases, the minor circuits' judgments shall be final if the value of the lawsuit does not exceed AED 20,000.
The major circuits are formed of three judges. They have jurisdiction over all civil, commercial and labor actions, which do not fall within the jurisdiction of the minor circuits.
In addition, they handle:
1. Administrative and Real Estate actions irrespective of their value
2. Temporary or Summary Claims and all other Counterclaims, as well as the claims related to the Original Request Bankruptcy and
3. Preventive Composition lawsuits.
Discerning above, you must be aware of the category your claim falls in, to determine the judicial circuit that will hear your case. There would be the ability to file a petition for a judgment to be reconsidered - but not a retrial.
Ignorance of the law is not considered or accepted as an excuse in the law court. Hence, it is better that expatriates acquaint themselves with the laws of the country they choose to live in.
Without laws, there would be chaos or there would be survival of the fittest of every man for himself.
With laws, there would be easy adoption to changes that occur in its jurisdiction.