The first Law Update of 2024 is here, and our first focus of the year spotlights Healthcare and Lifesciences, a sector that is undergoing significant growth and development across the MENA region.
Our focus provides an insight into some of the most important regulatory updates across the region, such as the UAE’s groundbreaking law on the use of human genome, Kuwait’s resolution on nuclear and radioactive materials, the new regulations for healthcare services in Qatar, Egypt’s healthcare regulatory framework, and the impact of the Saudi Civil Transactions Law on the healthcare and life sciences sector … and there is so much more!
Beyond the healthcare pages our lawyers share with you multi-sector insights where you will discover articles on Dubai’s DIFC regulatory framework for startups, Bahrain’s commercial agencies law, and we also shed light on Kuwaiti civil code and the advantages of setting up a joint stock company in Saudi Arabia.Read the full edition
On 29 March 2024, the long-awaited Federal Decree-Law No. 43 of 2023 Concerning the Maritime Law (the “New Maritime Law”) will take effect. Amongst a raft of other revisions to the current version (Federal Law No. 26 of 1981 (the “Existing Maritime Law”)), shipowners, charterers, P&I Clubs and of course, shipping lawyers both in the UAE and from abroad, will be interested in the development of the ship arrest provisions in the New Maritime Law.
Whilst there haven’t been any changes as dramatic as introducing associated-ship arrests, the New Maritime Law has broadened the definition of “maritime debts” with the effect that the grounds for a precautionary attachment (commonly, an “arrest”) over a vessel have been expanded.
Broadly speaking, the Existing Maritime Law permits the arrest of vessels for claims for:
Whilst the New Maritime Law expands or amends some of the abovementioned causes of action in certain respects, notably, allowing arrests for crew repatriation costs and social insurance contributions and not just their wages, it also adds the following causes of action to the definition of a “maritime debt” (as translated):
The New Maritime Law will also entail a notable change insofar as sister-ship arrests are concerned. Under the Existing Maritime Law, a sister-ship is susceptible to arrest if it was owned by the debtor at the time the (maritime) debt in respect of the concerned (“guilty”) ship arose. Under the New Maritime Law, the “target” (i.e. sister) ship must be owned by the debtor at the time of applying for its arrest.
In addition, under the New Maritime Law, vessels chartered under a bareboat charter will be subject to arrest during the period of the charter for debts incurred by the bareboat charterer. The position under the Existing Maritime Law differs in that the claimant is not restricted to arresting the vessel during the period of the charter.
The New Maritime Law will also introduce some uniformity in the provision of counter-security across the various emirates. The Existing Maritime Law makes no provision for a claimant to provide counter-security and so it fell to the courts of the individual emirates to decide whether, and in what form, counter-security was to be required. At present, the courts of certain emirates require a claimant to provide a letter(s) of undertaking whilst others require cash deposits at court. Under the New Maritime Law, it will not be permissible for the court to order an arrest unless it accepts a financial guarantee provided by the claimant for the security and safety of the ship and its crew during the period of arrest. In the event of the judicial sale of the vessel, any amounts drawn down on the guarantee will be considered as “judicial expenses” when the proceeds of execution are distributed. It remains to be seen what method the courts will use to determine an appropriate level of counter-security and whether there will be uniformity across the courts of the various emirates in this respect.
Another significant development in the New Maritime Law is the fact that LOUs issued by P&I Clubs or financial institutions acceptable to the competent court will be accepted as security for the release of vessels from arrest.
Under the New Maritime Law, claimants will have five working days from the date of the arrest to file a case for the validity of the arrest before the competent court in whose jurisdiction the attachment was executed, failing which, the attachment will be considered null and void. Although not prescribed in the New Maritime Law, claimants will also have to commence the substantive claim, if they haven’t already done so, within eight days of the arrest order as provided in the Civil Procedure Code (Federal Decree-Law 42 of 2023).
Our team at Al Tamimi & Company is well-prepared to guide and assist clients in navigating the significant changes introduced by the New Maritime Law in the UAE. Should you have any questions, please contact the team below.