Business basics and understanding the legal system in the UAE

Business Basics and the Legal System in the UAE

Entering a new market brings with it a host of challenges for an entrepreneur to contend with. You’ll have to deal with the logistical aspects of the transition as well as the new legal framework that you find yourself in. With that said, there are a number of ways to make the transition gracefully. It involves adapting to your new environment and getting an idea for the new market that you find yourself in. This is especially the case in the UAE, where the legal framework is a bit different than what you might be used to.

UAE Legal System

The entire foundation of the UAE legal system is what provides the groundwork for the established business system in the area. As such, it becomes impossible to look at business operations without a clear understanding of the legal system. This is where it’s not just advised to get an idea as to the legal framework in the UAE–it’s required and imperative.

The UAE is a civil law jurisdiction, having been heavily influenced in terms of law by certain European and Middle Eastern countries which have determined some of what you might see in the legal system of the UAE. The constitution of the UAE is what provides the legal framework for each of the emirates as well as the state itself.

In terms of laws, there is a difference between the federal laws and the local laws. There are certain things that apply across the board with federal laws, like defense, but there are certain other laws that only pertain to local events.

This all means that you have to be mindful of the federal laws as well as all of the local laws. Just because you can do something in one emirate does not mean that you can do the same in another emirate. Just the same, there are certain laws that apply across the board at the federal level. It’s imperative that you study not just the federal law but the local law as well in order to make sure that you’re compliant with every applicable law.

Along with this, it really pays to have good legal counsel to help you out. You won’t be able to read all of the laws on your own the way a good lawyer can. As a result, it would be a very good idea to hire an attorney who can both lead you through all of the laws in the UAE and also represent you in your business exploits. You can never go wrong having good legal counsel on your side, so you’d be remiss not to take advantage of this.

The constitution in the UAE established a federal legal system as well as the Supreme Court. There are only two emirates that don’t follow the legal system: Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. Understanding the courts system is just as important as understanding the legal system. Again, this is where it would come in handy to have the right counsel to help acquaint you with the court system.

Understanding the judiciary is also important, along with the interplay between the courts and the organizations at play. You might be tempted to enter into contracts keeping in mind the laws and regulations of your home country, but this will not help you when it comes to entering into contracts and obligations over in the UAE. Your counsel will be able to take you through every step of the process and cover you against any damages that you might otherwise incur.

Civil Law vs. Common Law

There is a difference between civil law and common law that’s important to make the distinction between. In civil law, the laws are based on a single piece of written material. Everything is interpreted as it is written exactly. Common law, on the other hand, relies on a combination of written law as well as the judicial interpretation of that law.

This will greatly affect how the law is interpreted and ruled depending on where you are and what type of law reigns supreme there. It all depends on where you are and what the law is in that particular place, really. This is another place where a good attorney could set you straight and make sure that you understand what is needed in terms of the law and how it’s interpreted and enforced.

There are certain aspects of the law that are apparent no matter what you’re facing. For instance, civil law is based on codified laws. These laws are exact and specific and there’s not much interpretation done at all. There also isn’t a binding precedent, which means that if there are the same facts in a new case as there were in a previous case, there’s no requirement for the same precedent to be followed.

Common law, on the other hand, is based on case law, statutes, and judicial opinion. Here, there’s plenty of room for interpretation of all of the aspects of the law. There is a binding precedent here, as well. If there are the same facts in a new case as there were in a previous case, then there is a requirement for the same precedent to be followed.

Understanding the nuances between these two forms of codified law is important when dealing with different cases under different laws. You will never see the exact same situation and exact same laws being applied to it, so the particulars of the case have to first be established and sussed out before continuing on to the particulars.

Since the UAE is such an important trading hub, it was considered to be important to have flexibility to enter into contractual arrangements that will govern the dealings of such businesses, governed other than the laws under the UAE’s system of legislation in general and the common law and civil law in particular.

The UAE is a civil law jurisdiction, but it also recognizes the right of freedom of contract. This means that the contractual agreements that are made between two parties will tend to be governed by English law, covered by international arbiters instead of by those found in UAE in general.

Shari’a Law

It’s common for businesses to be worried about how Shari’a law will affect them and their dealings in the UAE. This is because there are far-reaching effects of the law in other applications, so it only makes sense to be nervous in the context of the legal framework of the UAE.

Shari’a law is derived from the Quran as well as the sayings and teachings of the prophet Muhammad. It governs every aspect of life, including business dealings among many other things.

While Shari’a law is used as a source of law in the UAE, it is not the source of all law. It’s used by the courts when there’s no legislation on the issue at hand. It’s also used in personal matters, as well as in commercial matters such as banking.

All of this will factor into your legal dealings just as much as they would factor into personal dealings as well. It’s for that reason that the teachings of Shari’a law should not be underestimated or ignored when entering into some sort of legal relationship.

Other Aspects

In terms of other aspects of business basics and the legal system in the UAE, it’s important to have legal counsel who can pore over the civil and common law applications depending on the jurisdiction of where you are.

Everything will all depend on where you are and what the specific type of law is wherever you are. Shari’a law will clearly also factor into the equation and should not be underestimated or ignored.

There will be certain legal factors that might not immediately spring to mind when you’re initially engaging in a legal relationship. While these factors won’t occur to you necessarily, they will be factored in by your legal counsel, which only makes more of a case for getting an attorney to represent you and also guide you through every single aspect of the process.

The Jurisdictions

In order to get a firm idea of the legal system in the UAE, it’s also important to get an idea of the courts and jurisdictions that exist in the UAE. First of all, we will cover the Shari’a courts.

In the Shari’a courts, Shari’a law is applied by them. They’re generally competent in matters that are particular to the personal status of a Muslim. In some emirates, however, they can cover a criminal case, like in drug trafficking or trade issues.

Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah courts are the independent courts of these two locations since they do not adhere to that federal judicial system. There are three different degrees of jurisdiction here, which sets it apart from other courts.

Federal courts of first instance judge cases on the first instance, which sets them apart from other similar courts, because not all of them actually judge on first instance.

For the federal appeals court, this functions as the second degree jurisdiction. It actually has the power to either confirm or invalidate the claims that were taken in claims court.

The court of cassation in Dubai is the highest court in all of Dubai, and it’s usually composed of five judges.

The UAE Union Supreme Court is the highest body. It can completely scrap decisions that were taken in appeal and it also has the power to cancel any decisions that are taken by the Emirati form of municipalities that follow the federal form of judicial law.

When you take all of these into consideration, you see that there are a number of jurisdictions in UAE overall, and there are plenty of interpretations to be made. It becomes fairly complicated in the legal framework of the UAE and there is not one single approach to be made.

Trying to approach these matters of the law without legal counsel is tantamount to walking into the woods without a flashlight. You’ll be completely unaware of anything you come across and will be traveling blindly. It’s for this reason that it’s extremely important to have legal help when going about the legal system in the UAE.

Entering a new market brings with it a host of challenges for an entrepreneur to contend with. You’ll have to deal with the logistical aspects of the transition as well as the new legal framework that you find yourself in. With that said, there are a number of ways to make the transition gracefully.

It involves adapting to your new environment and getting an idea for the new market that you find yourself in. This is especially the case in the UAE, where the legal framework is a bit different than what you might be used to. As we’ve seen, these tips are mostly relegated to the legal framework of the UAE in comparison to other legal frameworks.

In any new venture that you find yourself in, there will be certain complications or difficulties that you’ll find yourself facing. Far from understanding every aspect of these difficulties, you will often find yourself at a loss for the nuances of this new system in comparison to what you’re used to. This is most definitely the case when it comes to the legal framework in the UAE.

When you take what you find there and break it down into actionable components, the whole process becomes that much easier. Understanding what once used to be so confusing becomes an easy task. This task is a little more complicated when it comes to understanding the legal framework in the UAE because you need the help of a lawyer to make sense of all of the information you will find there. Once this is done, however, it becomes possible to make actionable decisions.