Enforcing English Judgement

Enforcing English Judgement

Enforcing English Judgement 

Recently, the UAE Ministry of Justice (MoJ) issued a letter to Dubai courts stating that the MoJ considers the recent UK High Court decision in Lanker Energy Trading enforcing a UAE judgement, as having satisfied the element of reciprocity under UAE law in evaluating enforcement of English court judgements in the UAE. The requirement of reciprocity is found in Article 85 (1) of UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018 to have now been met and to encourage Dubai court judges to find the same.

While the MoJ letter signals a step in the right direction for increased enforcement of English court judgements by the Dubai onshore courts, it begs the question whether UAE onshore courts should consider whether the UAE courts maintain exclusive jurisdiction over the matter and whether foreign judgement contradicts UAE laws or public order.

This move is important to Dubai onshore judges in viewing the enforcement of English court judgments more favorably in following the principle of reciprocity exhibited by the English courts to ensure the continuity of enforcement of judgments between the two countries.

Three Main Messages:

1.  The MoJ Letter encourages Dubai onshore judges to find that one element of enforcement under UAE law (reciprocity) has now been met, given the binding decision of Lenkor in the UK courts.

2.  In the absence of a bilateral enforcement treaty between the United Kingdom and the UAE, enforcement of English judgments in the UAE remains subject to all required elements for enforcement under Article 85 of Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018. In addition to reciprocity, this includes exclusive jurisdiction and consistency with public policy (among others).

3.  MoJ Letter is an important signal by the UAE Ministry of Justice toward promoting enforcement of English court judgments in the UAE.

No bilateral enforcement treaty exists between the UAE and the United Kingdom on matters of mutual recognition and enforcement of court judgments. However, the  2006 UK-UAE Judicial Assistance Treaty does not address enforcement of judgements and focuses strictly on judicial documents and the taking of evidence by means of letters of request or commissions. The Treaty clearly states that each country ‘’shall grant each other mutual judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters to the highest degree possible in accordance with their domestic law.” (see Art. 4.1 of the 2006 UK-UAE Judicial Assistance Treaty). Hence,  UAE onshore judges must consider each element of domestic law when considering enforcement of foreign judgments (including English court judgments). Such elements are found in the provisions of Article 85 of Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018 on the Implementing Regulation of Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 on the Code of Civil Procedure (as amended).

Under Article 85, a foreign court judgment may be enforced in the UAE if all of the following criteria are met:

*   “Judgments and orders delivered by a foreign country may be ordered to be executed in the State under the same conditions as prescribed in the law of that country for the execution of judgments and orders issued in the State. [Art. 85(1)] […]

*   The Courts of the State are not exclusively competent in the dispute in which the judgment or order was rendered and the foreign Courts that issued it are competent in accordance with the rules of international jurisdiction established by their law. [Art. 85(2)(a)]

*   The judgment or order is issued by a Court in accordance with the law of the country in which it was issued and duly ratified. [Art. 85(2)(b)]

*   The litigants in the case in which the foreign judgment was delivered were summoned and were duly represented. [Art. 85(2)(c)]

*   The judgment or order has the force of res judicata in accordance with the law of the Court issuing it, provided that the judgment has acquired the force of res judicata or provided for in the same judgment. [Art. 85(2)(d)]

*   The judgment does not conflict with a judgment or order rendered by a Court of the State and does not contain anything contrary to public order or morals. [Art. 85(2)(e)].”

For any further inquiries, please contact our litigation partner, Abdelmajeed Zwairi at: azwairi@maslaw.com