Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments In The UAE

abdelaziz Managing Partner

The enforcement of a foreign judgment is meant to be a judicial procedure under which the foreign judgment is given an executive power in the country where enforcement is needed.

So, it becomes effectively enforceable at that country as it is enforced in the country where the judgment is rendered.

The rule in the UAE is that foreign judgments are not enforced in the country by the force of law. However, when trading relations grew on a large scale among different citizens in the world, most legislations permitted the enforcement of foreign judgments on its soil after ensuring that such verdicts are not undermined by any defects that may preclude the enforcement. The UAE Civil Procedures Law arranged the execution of foreign verdicts in articles 235 to 238. However, if there are treaties concluded between the UAE and the concerned countries to enforce verdicts and foreign orders between them, such treaties shall prevail instead of the rules mentioned in the Civil Procedures Law to which we have referred hereinabove.

It is important to indicate here that article 235 of the same law establishes the reciprocity principle; the UAE judge does not allow the foreign verdict to be enforced unless the other country allows the UAE verdicts to be enforced in its territory to the same extent and limits. If the law of the foreign country does not recognize the executive power of the UAE verdicts, the plaintiff in this case must file a new claim. Therefore, foreign verdicts may not be enforced until some conditions have been ensured, including the foreign courts’ competence to hear the dispute, the incompetence of the UAE courts in hearing the case, the verdict must be passed by a competent court in that country, litigants in the case in which the verdict was passed must have been notified to appear before the court        and be duly represented, the verdict must be final, conclusive and not appealable through usual proceedings of appeal, it must not contradict with any previous verdict order passed in the country and finally it should be in contravention to discipline or public order in the UAE.

As for the procedures taken in enforcing foreign verdicts under the Riyadh Agreement for the enforcement of foreign verdicts in the GCC countries along with several other Arab states, the enforcement of foreign verdicts was regulated in article 13 of this agreement. As for the procedures taken by that who wants to enforce a foreign verdict in the UAE, he should take the usual procedures of filing cases, according to article 235 of the UAE Civil Procedures Law. This means that it shall have the same fees decided by the court and the usual course of litigation before the courts of first instance, appeal and cassation.

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