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Have a look at the recent amendments in UAE Civil Law, it would be worth your time!

Have a look at the recent amendments in UAE Civil Law, it would be worth your time!

Recently, through the Cabinet Resolution No. 33 of 2020, the UAE government has made significant changes in the UAE Federal law no. (11) of 1992 (UAE civil procedure code). The main objective of this resolution is to amend the litigation procedure in the country. This resolution has amended 12(1), 13, 17, 27 and 1166 of the civil code and made the entire procedure expat-friendly.

The main procedural changes are discussed below

  • Issue of Summons
    As per the amendment, the use of modern technology is restricted while serving summons. The summon shall be valid only when the correct name, address and phone number is used for this purpose.
    Further, with regards to serving of summons concerning companies, the summon should be served at the branch address or the office location. If due to any reason, the branch office is closed or refuses to take summons, the server may affix the copy of summons at the location without even obtaining prior permission of the court.
  • Changes to Summary Proceedings:
    Summary proceedings can be understood as an alternative to the ordinary litigation which aim for quick disposal of justice. The recent amendment have changed the valuation limit for summary proceedings. Prior to the amendment, the limit was AED 500,000 but now it has been increased to AED 1 million.
    The new changes have also increased the power of the lower courts. If the claim is below or equal to AED 50,000, no appeal proceedings are allowed against the decision of the court. However, when the amount exceeds 50,000 AED, an appeal may be filed in court of appeal which will determine the case on merit.
  • Changes to the Law Governing Travel Bans:
    This resolution has increased the threshold that must be satisfied before issuing a travel ban. Now, before issuance of such a ban it is essential to fulfill these conditions-
  • The debt owed must not be less than Aed 10,000.
  • The applicant needs to demonstrate with adequate evidence that there is a strong fear that the debtor can leave the country to avoid payments.
  • Changes to Execution Proceedings:
    It refers to those proceedings wherein the decree holder approaches the court for the enforcement of decree issued by the competent court. As per the recent amendments, a wide discretionary power has been granted to the execution court and it can accept repayment plans in installments with a maximum term period of 3 years. This step has been taken keeping in mind the deteriorating financial condition owing to the pandemic.
    If any party wants to challenge the execution Judgement, it needs to deposit AED 5,000 as objection fee, which may be forfeited in case the objection is not successful.
  • Legal Representation of a Corporate Entity:
    The cabinet resolution has made significant changes pertaining to the legal representation of a corporate entity. Now, a corporate entity can only be presented in the court through-
  • An advocate holding a notarized Power of attorney.
  • If any other person wants to represent, he/she must be an Emirati with a law degree from a recognised University, and must be associated with the company for a minimum period of 1 year..


The recent amendments have made historical changes in the litigation procedure in the country. The procedure and value of summary and execution proceedings have been changed. Further, the threshold for issuing a travel ban has also been increased. Now, a corporate entity can be represented either through an advocate or an Emirate person associated with the company for a minimum period of 1 year.

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