Published: Sep 15, 2022

Reciprocity in Enforcement between UAE judgments and English Judgment

On 13 September 2022, the Head of International Cooperation Department in the UAE Ministry of Justice (“MOJ”) issued a letter (“MOJ Letter”) to advise the Dubai Courts that pursuant to Lenkor Energy Trading DMCC v Puri (2020) EWHC 75 (QB) (Lenkor), the UK Supreme Court decided to enforce a judgment issued by Dubai Courts and accordingly such judgment constitutes a precedent that binds all English Courts according to the English legal system.

The MOJ therefore seeks, in its letter, from Dubai Courts that this to be taken into account when considering applications seeking to enforce judgments and orders that are issued by English Courts in order to enhance the application of reciprocity principle between the UAE Courts and the English Courts. The MOJ further concludes that the reciprocity principle between the UAE Courts and the English Courts has now been adopted by the English Courts in light of the UK Supreme Court judgment referenced above.

Our Comment

The reciprocity is a pre-condition that the UAE Courts, pursuant to Article 85 of the Executive Regulation of the UAE Civil Procedures Law, shall verify and acknowledge between the UAE judgments and any foreign judgment sought to be enforced in the UAE before an enforcement order is granted. In practice, the substantiation of reciprocity condition between the UAE Courts and the English Courts has been always a challenge. As such, the Dubai onshore Courts have concluded in many cases that no evidence has been adduced to substantiate the reciprocity condition between the UAE judgments and English Judgment.

It is therefore our view that the MOJ letter dated 13 September is a well positive and advanced step in favour of the enforcement of English judgments by the UAE onshore courts and specifically Dubai Courts. However, the MOJ letter (and its analysis of law) does not legally bind the UAE Courts which may still require the applicants seeking to enforce English judgments in the UAE to submit the necessary evidence which proves that the reciprocity is established between the UAE judgments and English judgments. Still, the MOJ Letter. in any event, would bear a persuasive value that would be considered by the UAE Courts and should be seen as a great step in favour of enforcement of English judgments in the UAE.

How can we help?

If you are having any queries related to the New Decree and Statute and their implications, please feel free to contact Naief Yahia or Mosaab Aly.


Key Contacts

Naief Yahia

Partner, Head of Litigation - Dubai