Judicial System in Abu Dhabi
Table of Contents
The judicial system in the UAE is functioning in a twofold legal frame work which includes local judiciary and federal judiciary. The relationship between the two systems is regulated by articles of the UAE Constitution (Articles 94 to 109). All emirates have Courts of First Instance and Courts of appeal, either federal or local, in addition to the Sharia Courts which mainly deal with the matters of personal status, such as marriage, divorce and inheritance, among others. The primary source of legislation is Sharia (Islamic Law), based on the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet.
The judicial system in the country, both in its local and federal forms, has presented an excellent model for rule of law and separation of powers over years. The system has significantly contributed to the community safety, economic and social stability, public accountability and administrative transparency and efficiency.
Laws and Decrees
The development of laws in the UAE started with the birth of the UAE Union in 1971. A series of federal and local laws were developed with the purpose of regulating relations and ensuring the stability of transactions and the safety of society.
Federal laws are issued under the provisions of the UAE Constitution. Before becoming a law or a bill, draft law is prepared by the Cabinet and submitted to the Federal National Council, the fourth authority in the hierarchy of federal authorities, for its review, recommendations and amendments, if any. The bill is then submitted to the President of the country for approval and presentation to the Federal Supreme Council, the highest constitutional authority in the country for ratification. After the ratification by t he Council, the President signs it and issues the law.
Ordinary decrees are issued after approval by the Cabinet and the President, in accordance with their respective powers, and tare published in the Official Gazette. Ordinary decrees are used for matters vested in the President under the Constitution, including international treaties and appointments of some public officials.
Cabinet decisions are used for matters which do not require a law or a decree, but which is beyond the authority of an individual minster or the head of an institution. They are issued to regulate the work of government and to ensure the ministries and other institutions perform their functions according to the mandate.
The process of issuing local laws in Abu Dhabi emirate begins with the Executive Council referring a draft law to the National Consultative Council. As per Article No.6 of Law No. (2) of 1971, the Executive Council should present all local draft laws to the Consultative Council during its gathering to discuss the make recommendations. The draft law is then submitted to the Ruler of the Emirate to sign it and issue as a law.
Local Judicial System
According ot the UAE Constitution, each of the seven emirates has the right to either join the federal judicial system or to maintain its own judicial system. The local judicial authorities in each emirate can look into any judicial matters not assigned to the federal judiciary under the provisions of the Constitution. The jurisdiction of local judiciary covers 80 per cent of the country’s area and nearly 75 per cent of the nation’s entire population.
Abu Dhabi Courts
Abu Dhabi Courts were formed under the Law No (23) of 2006 which restructured Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD). Abu Dhabi Court System follows three stages of litigation, Court of Cassation. The courts report to the Judicial Council. Each court is presided over by a President supported by a number of judges and administrative staff.
The federal judiciary in the UAE began in 1973 with the issuance of the Federal Law No. (10) of 1973 establishing the Federal Supreme Court. The federal judiciary comprised the Federal Supreme Court, Federal First instance Courts and Federal Appeal Courts.
Federal Supreme Court
The Federal Supreme Court is the highest federal judicial authority in the country and Abu Dhabi is the seat of federal Supreme Court (Court of Cassation). The Federal Supreme Court consists of a President and a maximum number of five judges appointed by a decree issued by the President of the UAE, after approval by the Supreme Council. The rulings of the Federal Supreme Court are final and binding on all.
Source: Morison Menon
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