Published: Mar 21, 2019

First Foreign Arbitration Award Recognised and Enforced in Sharjah under New UAE Enforcement Regime

We are pleased to announce that for the first time under the new, amended UAE procedural law, a foreign arbitration award has been accepted for recognition and enforcement before Sharjah Court.

As of 16 February 2019, the Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018 concerning the Executive Regulations of Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 on the Civil Procedure Law (the “Cabinet Resolution”) came into force in the UAE. The Cabinet Resolution amended the procedure for enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards. The biggest departure from the old procedural law is that enforcement has now become more streamlined and cost efficient, specifically, the recognition and enforcement proceedings are now filed directly with the applicable Execution Court and are not subject to a full length trial as before. The merits of the foreign judgement or award will still not be assessed and the Execution judge will review the judgment or award in accordance with the criteria listed in Article 85(2) of the Cabinet Resolution, which is copied out below for guidance:

  1. That the Courts of the State do not have exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute on which the judgment or order has been issued, and that the Foreign Courts that issued the same have jurisdiction according to the rules of International Jurisdiction prescribed in its Law.
  2. That the judgment or order has been issued by a Court in accordance with the Law of the State in which the judgment or order has been issued and duly certified.
  3. That the Parties to the Lawsuit on which the foreign judgment is issued had been required to appear and were properly represented.
  4. That the judgment or order has acquired the legal effect of res judicata according to the Law of the issuing Court, provided that a certificate shall be furnished indicating that the judgment has acquired the legal effect of res judicata, or where the same is already stated in the judgment itself.
  5. That the judgment neither conflicts with a judgment or an order previously issued by a Court of the State nor involves anything that violates the public order or morality.

Importantly, the Cabinet Resolution expressly provides in Article 88 that international treaties and conventions ratified by the UAE will not be prejudiced by the Cabinet Resolution. Accordingly, the substantive exceptions to enforcement set forth in the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958 (“New York Convention”), which has been ratified by the UAE, are applied in respect of enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in the UAE alongside the procedural requirements set forth in Article 85(2) of the Cabinet Resolution.

In March 2019, Sharjah Court recognised the foreign arbitration award as being capable of enforcement under the Cabinet Resolution and we are now proceeding to execute the foreign award against the judgment debtor.


Key Contacts

Omar Omar
Partner, Head of Transport & Insurance

Thomas Snider
Partner, Head of Arbitration

Yasser Madkour
Associate, Transport & Insurance

Adam Gray
Associate, Transport & Insurance