The Long-Awaited Decision has come into Effect! Dubai Courts will Enforce English Court Judgments

The Long-Awaited Decision has come into Effect! Dubai Courts will Enforce English Court Judgments

By Safaa AlMohammad 

On 13 September 2022, the Ministry of Justice of the United Arab Emirates issued a circular to the Director General of the Dubai Courts, confirming that the Dubai Courts will enforce judgments of English Courts based on the principle of reciprocity.

What has changed?

Pursuant to article no. 85 of the Executive Regulation of the UAE Civil Procedures Law, judgments and orders passed in a foreign country were executed in UAE under the same conditions provided by the laws of the foreign state, as long as the conditions stated in the UAE regulations are satisfied.

Upon issuing this decision, UAE Courts will enforce the judgments and orders issued by the English Court, in accordance with the laws in force in both countries, as confirmation of the principle of reciprocity initiated by the English Courts and ensure continuity between the English Courts and the UAE Courts. 

In the letter to Dubai Courts, the Director General of Dubai Courts stated:

We find that the principle has been achieved through the English Courts previously implementing a judgment delivered by Dubai Courts under a final judgment of the UK Supreme Court in the case (Lenkor Energy Trading DMCC v Puri (2020) EWHC 75 (QB)) (Lenkor) which is judicial precedent and a binding principle for all English Courts according to their judicial system.

The confirmation stems from the “Lenkor” decision - the landmark decision of the UAE Court which has been enforced by the English Court and has demonstrated reciprocity between the UAE and English Courts. 

The impact

This is a very encouraging development in terms of the ongoing judicial cooperation between the English and Dubai Courts, which gives more confidence to the creditors to enforce English Court judgments in Dubai Courts. Likewise, creditors will be able to enforce a Dubai Court judgment in the UK. It is still to be seen if the Abu Dhabi Courts will adopt a similar position and issue a clear circular on this.  

According to this article, UAE Courts could refuse enforcement of judgments in cases in which they deem that they had jurisdiction over the substantive dispute. 

Looking to the future, we believe that English judgments in the UAE will be enforced more broadly, demonstrating the principle of the reciprocity and opening the door for new opportunities. 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is providing general information and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. For legal advice on this subject, please contact our specialists.


For more information, or assistance, contact:

Ali Al Zarooni
Managing Partner
T  +971 50 631 4431/ +971 4 354 4444
E  a[email protected]

About Horizons & Co

Founded in 1999, with offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Horizons & Co is one of the UAE’s leading multidisciplinary law firms. Led by prominent Emirati lawyer, Advocate Ali Al Zarooni, the firm’s legal experts come from a range of common-law and civil law jurisdictions, combining international experience and qualifications with expert knowledge and understanding of the UAE and surrounding Middle East region. 

Licensed to practice before all courts, police stations and public prosecutions in the UAE, Horizons & Co provides experienced legal services in all areas of UAE law. They are particularly expert in dispute resolution, specialising in litigation and arbitration. The firm represents major corporate and private clients on a range of complex matters before the differing dispute resolution fora within the UAE.

The firm’s clients include local and international corporations, insurers, financial institutions, developers, contractors, oil and gas companies and Government organisations. Horizons & Co frequently serve as local counsel to international firms on multifaceted civil and commercial disputes. Many international law firms also work closely with Horizons & Co in order to gain an expert insight into all matters pertaining to local UAE laws.

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