What are the amendments of civil procedure in the UAE?

The cabinet resolution no. 33 of 2020 (“Resolution”) has brought about many notable changes to Federal law no. 11 of 1992 and its amendments (“UAE Civil Procedure Code”). The said changes were made to amend the litigation procedures in the UAE. The said resolution has also amended provisions introduced by the Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2008. Similarly, the Federal Decree-Law no. 30 of 2020 has brought in many amendments to Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 concerning the Civil Code (UAE civil code). The said changes can be best understood as landmark changes that have been introduced in the UAE, allowing more expat-friendly approach. The changes effected have amended the articles 12(1), 13, 17, 27 and 1166 of the UAE civil code.

The procedural changes effected in the UAE, are discussed herein:

  • Concerning the use of modern technology: In effecting summons, the new changes clarify that modern technology may be restricted in its use while serving summons and can be considered as valid only when the correct numbers, addresses are used. Similarly, in its revised position concerning serving of summons concerning companies, the summons may be served to the branch address or office location of a company only when the dispute is related to such branch or office. If the main office is closed or summons is refused, the server may now affix the copy of the summons at the premises without requiring prior permission from the court, which was required previously.
  • Concerning summary proceedings: The new changes have amended the valuation limit for summary proceedings from Aed 500,000 to now up to Aed 1 Million. These changes have expanded the power granted to the lower courts. Wherein a payment order is granted by the courts, no appeal proceedings will apply with the claim is below or equal to Aed 50,000. However, wherein the value of the case is more than Aed 50,000, an appeal may be filed to the court of appeal that is required to decide the case again on its merits.
  • Concerning travel bans: In order for a travel ban to be issued, the debt owed must not be less than Aed 10,000, and there should also be a strong reason to showcase that there is a risk that the debtor would leave the UAE to avoid facing the legalities and payments.
  • Changes to execution proceedings: The new amendment has also brought in changes to the execution proceedings by providing wider discretionary powers to the execution court to accept instalment plans up to a term period of three years. This can be understood to have been affected taking into account the present economic conditions and might be changed in time. Also, if a party wishes to object to an execution judgment, deposit fees for Aed 5000 have to be paid, which may be forfeit if such objection is not successful.
  • Concerning legal representation of a corporate entity: The new amendment requires that a corporate company is to be represented in the court through its advocates holding a notarized power of attorney. For any other person to represent the company, it is mandatory that they must be an Emirati, holding a law degree and should have been employed with the company for a minimum of one year’s time period.

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