UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zaid Al Nahyan has issued Federal Law no. 10 of 2014 (the “New Law”) which amended several articles of Federal Law no. 11 of 1992 (the UAE Civil Procedures Law).
The New Law was issued in the Federal Gazette (No. 572 dated 30 November 2014). The New Law comes into effect on 1st March 2015.
This article provides an overview of the key amendments enacted by the New Law, most of which have strengthened and streamlined aspects of civil procedure in the country.
Service and Notification
Amendments to Article 8 of the Civil Procedures Law are extremely important because many subsequent articles in the law that deal with the limitation period for taking certain procedural steps start ticking from the date of service. This can have severe consequences in cases of appeals to the Cassation Court because, for example, the notification of the decision which is being appealed can be made by sending an SMS to the person affected and it is deemed to be sufficient even though the mobile phone may be switched off. It is clear that in these circumstances there will be future regulations or directives to prevent potential abuse of the very wide provisions of Article 8.
Article 25 of the Civil Procedures Law clarifies the jurisdiction of the Federal Court and expressly gives it jurisdiction over all disputes that are of a federal nature.
Article 30 of the Civil Procedures Law now gives the small claims court jurisdiction over all claims below AED 500,000, raising the previous threshold of AED 100,000.
Commencement and lodging of claim and appeals:
Article 42 of the Civil Procedures Law now allows for the commencement of claims electronically in addition to the delivery of the statement of claim to the Case Management Office. Further, Article 162 permits the same in relation to the lodging of an appeal; however in case where an appeal is being lodged to the Court of Cassation it must be done with the Case Management Office of the court of jurisdiction by reason of Article 177.
Article 45 now requires, by reason of subsection 1, the lodging with the Case Management Office of the claim submitted electronically. Subsection 2 obliges the defendant to submit its defence within a limited period without identifying what that period is. We presumes that at a later stage,there will be directives or regulations to identify what the relevant limitation periods should be.
The new amendment makes important changes to the procedures relating to attachment orders.
Article 252(2) of the Civil Procedures Law now regulates the previous practice of landlords entering premises to seize movables belonging to the tenant as well as the subtenant in the event of default and expressly permits for the seizure of movables belonging to the tenant.
Article 253 now adds that in cases where movables are to be seized, the person applying for the attachment order is required to provide a comprehensive and detailed description of the item he wishes to seize.
However, it is not clear how a landlord exercising his right to an attachment order would have available to him the detailed description of the movables before he enters the premises.
Article 3 of the New Law amends Article 42 of the Civil Procedures Law which establishes the Court Management Office and sets out its function and composition.
Article 4 of the New Law cancelled Articles 12 and 47 of the Civil Procedure law for reasons of convenience and practicality.
The changes made to the UAE Civil Procedures Law by the New Law are significant and welcome, particularly those that relate to service. The changes will make service quicker and easier, but further regulations will be needed to clarify the full extent of the changes.