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Thu 7 Jul 2011 12:25 PM

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UAE justice system better than US, study reveals

Gulf state was ranked 13th globally and came first in the region in latest World Justice Project report

UAE justice system better than US, study reveals
FAIRNESS AND TRANSPARENCY: The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2011 rated the UAE as 13th globally on its adherence to the rule of law (Getty Images)

The UAE justice system has emerged as more effective than that in the US in a recent study of 66 countries.

The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2011 rated the UAE as 13th globally on its adherence to the rule of law, seven places above its Western counterpart, which came 20th.

The Gulf state also came first in its own region, beating Jordan, Iran, Lebanon and Morocco on its ability to implement the legal framework.

“Public institutions in the country are well developed and corrupt free, and government officers are held accountable for misconduct,” said the report. “Similarly, the civil court system is very efficient and relatively independent.”

Commenting on the achievement, Minister of Justice in the UAE Hadef Al Dhahiri said the high ranking was evidence of the emirate’s focus on the rule of law and justice.

''The high score is a vote of confidence from a respected international agency in the federal and local judicial system,” he said.

However, in spite of these strengths, the report made clear that the UAE remained weak in other areas, particularly on the formal system of checks and balances.

Jordan, which came second place in the region, was praised for having efficient public institutions, a high level of security and limited corruption.

It also scored highly on civil and criminal justice and effective regulatory enforcement.

Iran’s law enforcement was also viewed as fairly strong, though this was sometimes abused.

Government accountability was seen as weak, and corruption, rife.

Lebanon was praised for guaranteeing civil rights and freedoms among its people whilst being safe from crime, but public institutions were reviewed as inefficient and corrupt.

As for Morocco, the report said it achieved a medium score in most areas, but “generally underperformed its regional peers”.

The index, commissioned by non-for-profit organisation the World Justice Project (WJP), aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent to which nations adher to the rule of law in practice, tracking improvements year on year.

Each country was ranked following an analysis by its own legal experts, who were sent questions about the justice system.

The research focused on four main areas, two of which were the extent to which governments and officials are accountable under the law; and the laws themselves – how clear, well publicised, stable and fair they are, and the extent to which they protect fundamental rights, security and property.

The remaining two principles included the process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, how fair and efficient this is; and the access to justice.

emir 8 years ago

the civil court system is very
efficient and relatively independent, although it
remains inaccessible for many people.

oneill 8 years ago

i don't agree that uae courts has better justice system. a friend whose salary was 2,600 dhs/month was not paid salary for almost a year by the employer due to economic turmoil.she went to court and won her case. she got ruling to be paid only 3,500 dhs compensation! is that fair? passport still with the employer, court could not enforce the justice due her. the court could not even summon the employer for a hearing or ask the employer to return the passport of my poor friend in spite of the decision. they ask her again to file another case against the employer!

Roy Kanz 8 years ago

UAE justice system better than US? We must see in regards to what. Still today banks in the UAE (not all) defy ethics by converting agreed flexible EIBOR mortgages into fixed ones and yet any customer could win their rights. Nevermind many developers who even ignore the STRATA law and the RERA authority.

I adore UAE but I think the giudiciary system has yet to prove better than the US in my opinion.

Joahn 8 years ago

Roy, I agree with you. My bank changed from Eibor+bank percentage to CBR+bank percentage. The problem is that Eibor now is at 1.83% but the bank apply CBR at 4.5%. By introducing CBR the bank have already taken over AED 35,000 on top of the normal interest! I am paying to the bank an extra 2.67%. Is this Justicy? This is complitely wrong! In the U.S. this can not happen! banks can not do it!! I try to negotiate with the bank but was useless and the reply was: pay or jail!
Nobody in U.S. is punished with jail if is not able to pay the bank, but in Dubai a lot of people are punished with jail for this.
The bank has everything in its favour and at its side (UAE law) to secure its own interests, not caring that the crisis has hit the end client worst than everyone else in the market.

Finally also the developer have increased the Service Charges as they wish!! So, I'm working only for bank and developer!!

Honoris Causa 8 years ago

Another patronizing article for UAE that is not taking the reality into account. The justice is probably better in theory but it is so expensive that is not within the reach of normal people. What about that? Beside there are plenty of laws only applied to the citizens but not the corporations who act as they wish with no way to get justice. (Developers, companies, etc...). Is like saying that India is the biggest democracy in the world. Yes people can vote but the level of injustice for the poor, political corruption and the cast system makes it a third world country. UAE justice not a big reform to become better than other countries justice. USA is not the reference in this as far as I am concerned.

mike 8 years ago

ignoring the law has nothing to do with justice. If you have a case, take it up with the courts like the british couple did and win your case.

People signed contracts without doing their due diligence. Is that a failure of the UAE justice system or is it a failure of logic by the people??

EIBOR rates are set by the central bank and are not a law. If you wish to sue, go ahead and sue, prove your case in court and you will win. THAT is the only fact in this discussion, every other point is moot.

Mike 8 years ago

Justice not being implemented is not the same as an unfair judgement being issued.

If you are walking on a snow-covered sidewalk in the US and you fall, you can sue the owner of the house whose sidewalk is on, and you can sue for millions. Is that fair? Your stupidity in walking should not be translated to million in your pocket coming out of the homeowner. Your inability in walking properly should not render someone homeless, but that is the law in the US, is that fair??

As for your friend, there are many, many factors involved in labour cases, so please dont bring that example in here and make it seem as if it is applicable to the general population. I know someone who was in a similar position and he got paid all of his missed salary + a settlement fee + the ticket back home. Your example is rendered useless.

Telcoguy 8 years ago

Well, regarding your mortgage, that is the law here. So yes, under this criteria you can assert that laws are effectively applied here. Assuming the laws would have the same rationale as somewhere else was a serious mistake, as it has been widely discussed here.
If you check the original report (http://www.worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/UAE_CP.pdf), you will see that UAE's top scores are:
-Effective Criminal Justice
-Order and Security
-Absence of corruption
-Access to Civil Justice
-Regulatory Enforcement

The first three I think everybody can agree, but the last two are kind of weird given the below average rankings the UAE has always scored in things like enforcing contracts (World Bank ranking) or all the complaints about RERA you can read in this newspaper.
Maybe someone with a legal background could explain this apparent discrepancy.

John 8 years ago

Mike

What do you understand with a legally bind contract?What does logic got anything to do with it?

N 8 years ago

Well said