New Dubai Courts initiative to slash case times from 305 to 30 days

The C3 court initiative will merge all three levels of litigation in the Dubai legal system.

A new initiative from the Dubai government will merge the emirate’s three courts and slash the time court cases take from 305 days to 30 days, Dubai Courts announced on Monday.

The ‘C3’ court initiative will mean that judges from all three courts – first instance, appeal and supreme court – can hear cases concurrently rather than consecutively. In the past, the courts each head whole trials and issued their own judgments on the lengthy court, often taking almost a year from the time of filing or charge and a judgment.

“The court’s project will merge the three levels of litigation into a single court consisting of three judges each representing a level of litigation,” said Tarash Eid Al Mansoori, director general of Dubai Courts. “

 

Al Mansoori added that the initiative will reduce the time of litigation, simplify the court process, help enforce judgments and slash costs by cutting legal proceedings down to a month.

“With the C3 project, Dubai Courts will be the first court in the world to consolidate the three levels of litigation into a single department to issue peremptory judgments that can be implemented immediately with modern and simplified procedures that will shorten the time of the lawsuit,” he added.

Liberalisation of foreign ownership rules in the UAE – opportunities for the insurance sector’

In a promising step to promote foreign investment, innovation and stability in the economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on 20 May 2018, the UAE Cabinet announced that by the end of 2018 it will grant long-term residency visas to certain investors, professionals and scholars and, under the much anticipated investment law, allow 100% ownership in on-shore UAE companies.

Looking to attract and retain talent, ten-year visas will be available to investors, specialists in medicine, science, innovation and research, and “exceptional students”.  In addition, to support the growing tertiary education sector, five-year residency visas will be available for students studying in the UAE.

There are currently limited details available on the new investment law but based on earlier statements by the UAE Government, full foreign ownership of on-shore UAE companies will be limited to specific sectors, which are still to be approved by the UAE Government.

Impact on the insurance sector

The UAE insurance sector currently comprises thirty publically listed insurers with the top five comprising 59% of the market share in 2017.  Only three of the listed insurers reported losses in 2017 with the sector forecast to grow 12.1% by 2021.

The UAE insurance sector took its first step to ownership liberalisation in 2017 with the issuance of “Cabinetresolution No (16) of 2017 on the amendment of some provisions of the Cabinet Resolution No 42 of 2009 Concerning Insurance Company Minimum Capital Regulations”, which reduced the mandatory ownership by local shareholders in UAE insurance companies from 75% to 51%.

As we reported earlier this year (insert hyperlink to our earlier article on “UAE Insurance Regulatory Round-up 2017”), as part of its long-term regulatory strategy the UAE Insurance Authority continues to raise the prudential standards of the sector, including enhancing insurer’s solvency and reporting requirements.  Given the capital requirements flowing from these regulatory changes and the current market concentration, consolidation of some of the smaller insurers with the “big 5” or a complete exit from the market may be inevitable in the future.

These developments will be of interest to the global and regional insurance players that continue to look for opportunities to increase their premium revenue.   Whilst it remains to be seen whether insurance will be one of the sectors identified in UAE investment law, further foreign ownership liberalisation will underpin the long-term growth and prudential integrity of the UAE insurance sector.

Kennedys will continue to monitor the key regulatory developments affecting insurers and policyholders in the UAE and the liberalisation of the insurance sector.

Abu Dhabi courts fine employers violating labour law up to Dh5m

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi courts have taken stringent action against several employers in the emirate, who violated labour laws, court officials said here on Wednesday.

In some cases, especially in cases of non-payment of wages, the fines reached up to Dh5 million, a senior official from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) said at a press briefing held to highlight the rules and regulations ensuring workers’ rights and welfare.

 

 

The courts handled 22 cases of non-payment of wages during the last 15 months, from January 2017 to March 2018, said Hassan Mohammad Al Hammadi, director of the Prosecution Department. Ninety cases of work-related injuries were registered in 2016, which dropped to 48 in 2017, he said.

“The country has put in place tough punishments for those who violate labour laws, which include jail terms and hefty fines,” Al Hammadi said.

He urged workers to approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, labour courts or mobile courts of the ADJD in the event of any dispute with their employers.

Thousands of workers have benefited from the mobile courts in the emirate, the official said.

“The Public Prosecution has referred a number of companies to the court for failing to pay wages to workers in violation of the Wages Protection System,” he said.

The Wages Protection System (WPS) launched in 2009 ensures that workers’ salaries are wired through banks or money exchange houses to their bank accounts directly.

Al Hammadi said workers do not have to pay court fees. “They don’t have to worry about court fees. They can just report their grievance to the court that will resolve it at the earliest, possibly by the One-Day Court.”

The ADJD launched the One-Day Court for workers in November last year to ensure quicker verdicts in labour cases and reduce delays. The One-Day Court deals with uncomplicated labour disputes between workers and employers, in which the workers seek claims of less than Dh20,000.

Workers can also register their grievances with mobile courts and court offices in workers’ villages in Musaffah and Al Mafraq, he said.

Al Hammadi said President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a law stipulating working conditions for domestic workers, including a regular weekly off, 30 days of paid annual leave and the right to retain personal documents.

The country’s rules pertaining to workers’ rights stipulate decent work conditions and ensure their social protection and access to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and various courts.

He further said that the department is also in the process of constituting a special Public Prosecution and specialised courts for workers, which will settle their cases fast. Special courts to handle crimes against domestic helps will also be set up at the courts of first instance in the emirate.

Al Hammadi asserted that the country has been striving to enact new laws and revise the existing laws for all categories of workers, including housemaids and helpers, to ensure legal protection of their rights and welfare. The UAE has also opened its service centres in worker-sending countries to help the new recruits understand labour laws and terms of their work contracts before coming to the UAE.