On 21 September 2022, we provided an update following the UAE Ministry of Justice’s letter to the Director General of the Dubai Courts regarding the enforcement of English Court judgments in the UAE (the MOJ Letter).

Since then, on 3 October 2022, a new civil procedure code was enacted in the UAE (Federal Decree-Law No.42 of 2022 Promulgating the Civil Procedures Law) (the New Civil Procedure Code).

The New Civil Procedure Code will repeal and replace the previous Civil Procedure Code (Federal Law No.11 of 1992, as amended) and Executive Regulations (Cabinet Resolution No.57 of 2018 concerning the Executive Regulation of the Civil Procedure Code) when it comes into force on 2 January 2023, by effectively consolidating those two pieces of legislation.

Relevant to this subject matter, the provisions relating to the enforcement of foreign judgments in the UAE (contained at Articles 222 to 225 of the New Civil Procedure Code) have not significantly changed and most importantly, the requirements set out in Article 85(2)(a)-(e) of the Executive Regulations remain.  In short, in the absence of a Treaty between the relevant states as to the mutual enforcement of judgments and orders, to grant enforcement in the UAE:

  • the UAE Courts must not have had “exclusive jurisdiction” over the subject matter of the dispute;
  • the judgment or order must have been delivered by a Court in accordance with the law of the country in which it was issued and duly ratified;
  • the parties to the case must have been summoned to appear and must have been represented;
  • the judgment or order has the force of res judicata in accordance with the law of the Court which issued it; and
  • the judgment does not conflict with a judgment or order rendered by a Court of the UAE and does not contain anything contrary to public order or morals.

Additionally, based on the MOJ Letter, it would appear that a requirement for establishing reciprocity of enforcement between the state of origin of the judgment and the state of enforcement (perhaps even at individual emirate-level) will continue to be applied by the UAE Courts, i.e., for the enforcement of an English judgment in the UAE, the enforcing party must satisfy the court that judgments obtained in the UAE Courts are enforced in the courts of England and Wales and vice versa.

For information about the more significant changes introduced by the New Civil Procedure Code, see our article here

If you have any queries about the enforcement of foreign judgments, orders, or arbitration awards in the UAE Courts (including the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre and the Courts of the Abu Dhabi Global Market), please do not hesitate to contact Lucy Nash, Alexandra Lester or Keith Hutchison.