The Principle of Reciprocity shall be observed while enforcing English Court judgments in the UAE.

September 23, 2022by Admin0

On 13 September 2022, the UAE Ministry of Justice (MoJ) issued a directive that is seen as a significant stride toward the enforcement of English Court Judgements in the UAE.

Principle of Reciprocity

The directive states that judgments rendered by English Courts may be enforced in the UAE in accordance with the Principle of reciprocity in light of the English Courts’ enforcement of a Dubai Court judgment in the case of Lenkor Energy Trading DMCC v. Puri (2020) EWHC 75 (QB) (Lenkor).

The directive pointed out that the Judicial Assistance Treaty between the UAE and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lacks a clause for the enforcement of foreign judgments and such enforcement may be carried out in compliance with domestic law.

The decision by the UK Supreme Court in Lenkor, which directed that the Dubai Court judgment against the defendant should be enforced against him in England without evaluating the merits of the underlying issue, served as the impetus for the Ministry of Justice’s recommendations. The English Court established in its decision that a final and conclusive foreign judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction may be executed by a claim in England unless such enforcement would contravene public policy.

The enforceability of the judgments of the English Courts is a matter of concern for a large number of businesses as well as individuals in the UAE. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts which function following the common law principles have been recognising English Court judgments. It is expected that the directive by the MoJ would result in such recognition being extended to the courts all over UAE.

However, the enforcement of such judgments would be subject to the provisions of the UAE Civil Procedure Law. Article 85 of the Cabinet Resolution No. 75 of 2021 which provides the Executive Regulations for the UAE Civil Procedure Law deals with the enforcement of foreign judgments in the UAE. It takes into account various factors including the jurisdiction of both the UAE Court as well as the foreign court that has issued the judgment. The said judgments should not be one in conflict with any order or judgment issued by the state and should not be contrary to its morals or public order.

The directive concluded by advising UAE courts to enforce the judgment of the English courts if such enforcement is sought. This recent development is expected to make the execution of the UK judgments in the UAE much easier.

About ATB Legal

ATB Legal is a full-service legal consultancy in the UAE providing services in dispute resolution (DIFC Courts, ADGM Courts, mainland litigation management and Arbitrations), corporate and commercial matters, IP, business set up and UAE taxation. We also have a personal law department providing advice on marriage, divorce and wills & estate planning for expats. Please feel free to reach out to us at office@atblegal.com for a non-obligatory initial consultation.

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