Decree No. 29: Transforming Judicial Conflict Resolution in Dubai

Decree No. 29: Transforming Judicial Conflict Resolution in Dubai

On April 8, 2024, his highness Sheikh Mohamad bin Rashid al Maktoum enacted decreeNo. 29/2024 Judicial Authority for Resolving Jurisdictional Conflicts Between DIFC Courts and Judicial Authorities in Dubai (“New Law”). This law supersedes Dubai Law No. 19/2016 (“Previous Law”) and aims to enhance and disambiguate the judicial framework within Dubai. Under the New Law, a dedicated committee will be formed to authoritatively determine the appropriate judicial body to adjudicate disputes (“Judicial Authority”), particularly where a conflict of jurisdiction between the DIFC courts and another judicial body arises.

  • The Judicial Authority will be formed of 7 members:
  • 1. The President of the Court of Cassation of Dubai Courts – Chairman
  • 2. Vice President of DIFC Courts – Deputy-Chairman.
  • 3. Secretary-General of the Judicial Council in the Emirate – member.
  • 4. President of the Court of Appeal of the Dubai Courts – member
  • 5. President of the Court of First Instance of the Dubai Courts – member
  • 6. Two judges from DIFC Courts selected by the President of DIFC Courts.

The table below highlights the key differences between the New Law and the Previous Law.

Key ChangesPrevious LawNew Law
Renaming and reformation of Judicial Committee Established the Judicial Tribunal for Dubai Courts.Renames and redefines the previous body to the Judicial Authority for Resolving Jurisdictional Conflicts between DIFC Courts and Judicial Authorities in Dubai. This change reflects clear delineation of power and clearer authority to resolve jurisdictional disputes.
Scope of Jurisdiction Focused on jurisdictional disputes but lacked clarity on processes and specific competences.Clearly delineates the competences of the newly formed Judicial Authority, specifying its ability to determine the appropriate judicial body for disputes and enforcing judgements.
Enforcement and Finality of decisions Provided some guidance on enforcement but was less specific about the finality and binding nature of decisions.Explicitly states that all decisions issued by the Judicial Authority are final and unappealable, reinforcing that all decisions will be binding across all judicial bodies.
Financial Obligations Lacked specific provisions regarding financial deposits or security for initiating claims.Implementsa cash guarantee requirement of AED 3,000 that must be deposited when filing a claim and will only be refunded if the claim is accepted.

Where a conflict of jurisdiction arises, litigators may request the Judicial Authority to determine the appropriate judicial body to consider a lawsuit, claim or enforcement of a judgement. The Judicial Authority will then meet at the request of its chairman. Decisions are reached either unanimously or by a majority vote of the members present. In the event of an equality of votes, the chairperson of the meeting will cast the deciding vote. Under the Previous Law, only the chairman’s vote would cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. However, the new law modifies this provision to allow the chairperson of the meeting (who would be the Vice President of DIFC if the chairman is not present) to cast the deciding vote.

When a request to the Judicial Authority has been made, several immediate actions will be triggered: (i) all related lawsuits and claims will be suspended until the Judicial Authority comes with a decision, (ii) execution procedures will be paused, (iii) and all relevant limitation periods stipulated in the applicable legislation will be halted. It is important to note that any previous claims for jurisdiction guidance will now be addressed by the Judicial Authority, in accordance with the stipulations of the New Law.

Under the Previous Law, a claim may have grounds to be heard in either the DIFC Courts or to Dubai Courts, based on contractual stipulations and other factors. In practice, we generally analyse the merits of each dispute to recommend the jurisdiction that most favourably aligns with our client’s interests, ensuring that cases are adjudicated in the jurisdiction that best supports the desired outcomes for our clients The Judicial Authority will now hold full discretion in dictating where a dispute will be heard, any decision issued by the Judicial Authority shall be final and may not be appealed by any means of appeal.

The New Law has now been officially published in the Official Gazette of the Emirate of Dubai, making it enforceable as of the day following its publication. All existing implementing regulations under the Previous Law will remain in force unlessthey conflict with the New Law, in which case the New Law will prevail.

If you have any questions about how this affects dispute adjudication or the process for submitting a claim to the Judicial Authority, please contact:

Abdelmajeed Zwairi:

Karam Al Dali :