Change is the law of life (New UAE Civil Procedure Law No. 42 of 2022)
The changes taking place this year concerning civil procedure law in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) is not the first in line when it comes specifically to this law. The civil procedure law has been amended previously, nonetheless; this time comes with a completely new federal decree law No. 42 of 2022 (“New Law”) that repeals the old federal law No. 11 of 1992 as amended in 2018 (“Old Law”).
The UAE waves goodbye to certain key provisions in the Old Law and once again introduces new changes with the New Law that will come into force on 2 January 2023. The key changes relates to time lines for the proceedings before the courts, notifications, declarations, and the language of the courts. The New Law further introduces new grounds for offshore jurisdiction or foreign international jurisdiction, sets forth new admitted instruments and established changes related to court of cassation and court of appeals procedures.
We will tackle the core significant changes that does not stand alone without leaving practitioners thinking about the outcome of these changes in the future.
Language of the courts
According to the New Law, Article 5 has introduced an exception to the condition of using Arabic language in courts. Thus, the President of the Federal Judicial Council or the head of the local judicial authority, as the case may be, may now decide in certain sections dedicated to the consideration of disputes concerning specialized materials, in a specific case or in some cases, that the language of the trial, the procedures, the judgments, and the decisions shall be English. The hearing of the litigants, witnesses, or lawyers and the submission of regulations, memoranda, requests, and documents in these departments could also be in English. The court shall then hear statements of the litigants, witnesses, or others who are ignorant of the Arabic and English languages by a translator after taking the oath in accordance with the law in line with the terms, conditions, and cases of the decision.
The New Law also accepted technological means for getting a party to submit a declaration. It could be with the use of voice or video recorded calls, mobile text messages, smart applications, e-mail, fax, or other technical means or any other package agreed by the parties.
The New Law further provides for a solution to the longstanding ambiguous procedure that were present in the past regarding procedures outside the UAE. It is provided under the New Law, in Articles 10 and 11 that persons who are outside the UAE and cannot be notified by technical means or through private companies or office or in the manner agreed upon by the parties, the notification shall be sent to the Ministry of Justice for transmission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to be notified to the relevant diplomatic mission in the UAE unless the methods of advertising, in this case, are regulated by special conventions.
Comparative procedural time table
|The procedure||Changes provided in the New Law||Article No.||Provisions in the Old Law|
|Service outside the jurisdiction||21 working days from the date of the correspondence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the diplomatic mission in the foreign country containing the notice and/or documents to be served.||Article 11 (2)||This is a change from the previous regime which required that the diplomatic mission or the Ministry report back on service being effected.|
|The ‘in chambers’ review of appeals by the Court of Appeal.||
Following the referral of an appeal, the Court of Appeal has 20 working days to:
|Article 167 (2) and (3)||This process was not available under the Old Law|
|The appeals to cassation||The time limit for an appeal to cassation is now 30 days.||Article 178||The time limit for an appeal to cassation was 60 days.|
|The attendance before the case management office||
The attendance date before the Case Management Office or the competent court is ten (10) working days. If necessary, this date may be reduced to three (3) working days.
The time of attendance in urgent cases is twenty-four (24) hours. If necessary, this time may be reduced to no less than one hour, provided that the advertisement obtains the same deduction unless the case is a maritime case.
|Article 46||This timeline was not provided under the Old Law|
|Sessions, procedures||The court shall issue the judgment ruling over the dispute, within a period, not exceeding eighty (80) days from the date of the first hearing before it.||Article 78||This time limit was not present under the Old Law|
|Suspension and interruption of disputes||
The New Law provides a framework detailing that a proceeding may be suspended if the litigants agree not to proceed for a period not exceeding six (6) months from the date of the approval of a suspension agreement by the court, and such suspension shall not have an effect on any time limit set by law for action.
If one of the litigants does not postpone the case within eight (8) days following the end of the suspension term, the plaintiff shall be deemed to have left its claim or appeal, as the case may be.
|Article 103||This time limit was not present under the Old Law|
|Booking the debtor with third parties||
It is provided that upon the completion of the reservation, the debtor may submit a request to the execution judge to sell the seized funds to a buyer and the court should agree with such request. The request should be submitted within seven (7) days to the creditor(s) in case the sale price is less than the debt reserved. If the creditor(s) do not object within seven (7) days from the date of their notification or upon their approval, the sale and deposit of the price shall be made to the court’s treasury in favor of the creditors.
|Article 272||This time limit was not present under the Old Law|
The UAE’s focus on innovating its laws is engraved within its 2030 vision. The UAE strikes once again with this New Law that coincides with other innovations taking place specifically in procedural law around the country, rendering UAE one of the most friendly amicable jurisdictions for dispute resolution and making it more trust worthy for investors in the event any claims arise. The framework outlined under the New Law details each proceeding with more detailed procedures and transparency.
How can GLA help:
GLA & Company’s lawyers and consultants have extensive expertise across the region and are without a doubt qualified to advise businesses to efficiently structure its group to be in line with the applicable laws and regulations in the UAE.
Author: Rana Moustafa, Associate