Have A Question?

If my employer fails to pay my salary, and I resign from work, can I claim compensation for unlawful termination at the Labour Court?

If an employer fails to pay a salary to an employee, this constitutes a breach of the labor contract. Consequently, if an employee resigns, the Labour Court typically holds the employer as liable for unlawful termination of the employee with compensation due to the employee in accordance with the UAE Labour Law.

Is it possible to file a case or a police report on behalf of a friend or relative?

In order to file a case with the local courts or submit a criminal complaint to the police department on behalf of a friend or a relative, you must have a duly attested Power of Attorney from the person appointing you as their legal representative before the concerned tribunal or local authority.

What is the difference between the Supreme Courts and Cassation Courts?

The "Supreme Court" is the name of the highest level court in the federal judicial system of the UAE, to which the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, and Umm al Quwain are subject. The "Cassation Court" is the name of the highest level court in the Emirates of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, which have their own judicial systems.

What are the fees to register a case at local courts and tribunals in Dubai?

Case fees vary according to the type of case to be registered and the value of the claim amount, as follows: Dubai Courts: 7.5% of the claim amount, with a cap at AED 30,000 Property Court: 7.5% of the claim amount, with a cap at AED 30,000 Labour Court: No fees for employees to register claims Rent Committee: 3.5% of the claim amount; 3.5% of the contract amount for claims to vacate a tenant Liquidation Committee: No fees as per Emiri Decree

Does my sponsor have the right to terminate my contract while I am on my annual leave?

Under the UAE Labour law, a sponsor has no right to terminate an employee during his or her annual leave. Any termination of employment would be considered unlawful by the Labour Court, and the sponsor would be held liable to the employee for damages arising from breach of contract.

When can a court judgment be executed? What fees are required?

Execution procedures usually commence upon issuance of a judgment of by the Court of Appeal. The registration fees are equivalent to 1% of the claim amount, and shall not exceed AED 5000. Execution of a judgment can only be blocked if a final appeal is filed with the the Court of Cassation.

How long does it take Dubai Courts to issue a final judgment?

There is typically no set timeframe for resolution of a dispute at Dubai Courts, as the facts and circumstances of each case can vary considerably. In most situations, it takes 3 - 5 years to reach the final conclusion of a case matter if judgments are appealed at each stage of litigation. Generally, the First Instance Court issues judgments within 6 - 12 months; the Court of Appeal issues judgments within 6 - 8 months; the Court of Cassation issues judgments within 6 months; and execution of the final judgment of the Court of Cassation can take up to 4 months.

What happens if a real estate investor defaults on payments for an off-plan unit in Dubai?

In the event that a purchaser defaults on his or her contractual obligations for an off-plan real estate unit, the developer typically notifies the Land Department, which has jurisdiction to mediate real estate disputes. The Land Department will send an administrative notice to the purchaser, who must proceed to fulfill their obligations within 30 days or provide a defense to the developer's claim of default. At the end of the 30-day period, the Land Department shall make an administrative determination on the matter in the event that the purchaser has not cured the default within the stated timeframe. If the Land Department decides in favor of the developer, it will issue a Permission Letter for the developer to proceed with procedural termination and de-registration of the unit and with the issuance of a refund of monies paid less damages, which are calculated on the basis of the percentage of completion of the project in accordance with the law. A purchaser can always legally challenge the developer in the local courts if they offer a legitimate reason for suspension of payment in accordance with their rights under the federal laws.

Does a real estate developer or investor have any right to claim for the difference in value of an off-plan unit if it turns out to be bigger or smaller on completion?

If the area of an off-plan unit turns out to be bigger on completion, the developer may not claim the difference in value from the purchaser. However, if the area of the unit turns out to be smaller on completion, the developer must compensate the purchaser for the difference unless it is marginal, i.e. less than 5%. Source of Law: Dubai Law No. 13, Art. 12

What is the difference between limited and unlimited labor contracts? How can an employee terminate such contracts?

Under the UAE Labour Law, a labor contract is considered unlimited if it is unwritten or specifies an unlimited term of employment. The employee can terminate the contract by serving written notice to their employer no less than 30 days prior to their departure. In contrast, a labor contract is considered limited if it specifies a limited term of employment, i.e. 1-year, 3-years. The employee cannot terminate the contract prior to the stated term unless he or she compensates their employer for early termination.

How is the court system set up in Dubai?

Dubai Courts consists of a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal, and a Court of Cassation. Each of these courts has a Civil Division, a Criminal Division, and a Shari'a Division. Cases presented before Dubai Courts are typically heard by one or more judges. Juries are not used as Dubai is a civil law jurisdiction. Dubai also has specialized local courts, including the Labour Court which deals exclusively with disputes between employers and employees, the Property Court which deals exclusively with real estate disputes between investors and developers, and DIFC Courts for civil and commercial disputes falling within the jurisdiction of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

What is the relationship between the Emirates and the UAE?

Formed in 1971, the UAE is a federation of seven emirates comprising the Emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimeh, Sharjah and Umm al Quwain. The UAE Constitution provides for an allocation of powers between the federal government and the local ruler of each emirate. Dubai is subject to the federal laws of the UAE, but retains the right to administer local affairs in accordance with its ruler's decrees. The ruler of Dubai is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also serves as the Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates.

What constitutes a trademark under UAE law?

Under UAE law, a trademark is defined as anything which takes on a distinctive form - whether names, words, signatures, letters, figures, drawings, symbols, titles, seals, pictures, inscriptions, advertisement or packs or any other mark or a combination of thereof - used to distinguish goods, products, or services (whatever their origin). To be eligible for legal protection, a trademark must be officially registered in the government's trademark database.

Can a foreign company establish an office in Dubai?

Foreign companies have many options for establishing offices in Dubai. For a branch or subsidiary office located in the mainland, licensure must be sought from the Dubai Department of Economic Development. Regulatory pre-approvals from local governmental authorities may be necessary depending on the business activity. Foreign companies seeking 100% ownership of their offices may consider setting up a branch or subsidiary in one of Dubai's numerous free zones. It must be noted that, in order to engage in trade activities outside of the free zone, i.e. mainland Dubai, the company must execute an agreement with a local service agent. As previously mentioned, regulatory pre-approvals from local governmental authorities may be necessary depending on the business activity.

What is the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and what laws does it apply?

The Dubai International Financial Centre, or DIFC, is the onshore financial center of the UAE. Established in 2004, the DIFC was conceived with the aim of bridging the gap between the traditional local economy and the world’s major financial centers in New York, London, and Tokyo. The DIFC is governed by a special set of rules and regulations, with its own courts and arbitral tribunal. It is not subject to the federal civil and commercial laws of the UAE, having enacted laws unique to its jurisdiction which in effect constitute a commercial code. These laws include Corporate Law, Contract Law, Arbitration Law and Insolvency Law among others promulgated by the DIFC Authority.

Can you resolve credit card debt if you are banned from the UAE?

If the bank which issued your credit cards has already filed criminal complaints against you, and you are unable to return to Dubai or any other GCC countries, you can legally appoint an individual to: I. Make the repayments to the bank on your behalf for the full amount due; or II. Enter into negotiations with the bank to settle the outstanding balances. Once your debts are repaid or settled, the bank will issue a clearance to remove your name from police blacklist and/or Interpol list. It is always important to seek professional legal advice for solutions tailored to your unique situation.

arrow up