UAE local courts should be given more authority, says Al Mulla

Dr Habib Al Mulla, chairman of local law firm Baker McKenzie calls for a new ministry to be established to oversee legislative matters
UAE local courts should be given more authority, says Al Mulla
Dr Habib Al Mulla, the executive chairman of local law firm Baker McKenzie.
By Lubna Hamdan
Sun 03 Feb 2019 02:36 PM

The majority of cases handled by the UAE’s federal courts should be handled by the country’s local court system, according to Dr Habib Al Mulla, the executive chairman of local law firm Baker McKenzie.

In a statement on his official Twitter account, he said the UAE’s federal judiciary should be limited to significant crimes related to state security and constitutional issues.

“The state of the judicial system in the country reveals that the most effective, disciplined and accomplished judicial organs are the courts of the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. They are all local courts,” he said.

“The federal judiciary, despite vigorous efforts to develop it, remains unaccommodating and the public is complaining about its services. Is it not advisable for the federal courts in the UAE to become domestic courts and the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary is limited to major crimes that are critical of state security and constitutional issues?”

In a comment to Arabian Business, Al Mulla gave the example of Sharjah’s federal courts, which are meant to begin working hours at 9am but start at 11am.

“People queue at 5am in front of the courts to get a number. Limited numbers are given per day,” he said.

Al Mulla referred to a recent case where files were not transferred from one judge who went on leave to the new judge assigned to the case due to the clerk also going on leave.

He suggested that there should be a more specialised ministry in administering the court system. 

“In this context, the Ministry of Justice can be replaced by a ministry specialising in legislative matters whose work is focused on promulgation and interpretation,” he said, adding that changes to the system are necessary to develop the federal legislation.

“This will not only develop the work of the judiciary in the UAE, but also the development of federal legislation that continues to suffer from a major stalemate and which is not in line with the UAE's development in all fields,” he added.

The executive chairman called the proposal “bold” but said the UAE’s wise leadership often takes daring steps to make qualitative leaps.

The UAE’s constitution divides courts into two types, federal courts and local courts.

Federal Courts consider UAE cases such as disputes, domiciliary and transactions filed with the Reconciliation and Settlement Committee, which refers complaints if resolution efforts fail.

Local courts, on the other hand, consider cases and authentications related to disputes among the people.

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