New instruments announced by Dubai Courts to expedite and support enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards
On 22 February 2023, Dubai unveiled a new strategic plan that is set to further advance its judicial system towards a world-class model for efficiency and service excellence. The benefits that will be derived by litigants in Dubai, especially those with high-value claims, cross-jurisdictional disputes, arbitration matters, and litigants with potentially insolvent debtors are significant.
The first major development in the strategic plan is the Privatisation of Execution Procedures. Aligned with the procedures of Civil Law No. (42) of 2022, the Dubai Courts will issue a decision to license private companies to provide judgment execution services. By allowing private companies to participate in the execution of judgments, the speed and efficiency of the process are expected to increase significantly. Moreover, to address market competition, private companies may provide innovative approaches to enforcement, which can lead to the development of new technologies and processes that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement actions.
Under the new plan, litigants with high-value claims will benefit from an advanced judicial system that exceeds global benchmarks for speed, efficiency, and service excellence. The new initiatives will expedite the execution of judgments and redesign processes to enforce court judgments, making it easier for judgment creditors to recover their assets. The Electronic Writ of Execution Seal initiative, for example, will facilitate the enforcement of court judgments and potentially arbitration awards through an electronic seal, making the process more efficient and less time-consuming. This can be particularly useful in cases where the judgment debtor is difficult to locate or where assets are spread across multiple jurisdictions.
Cross-jurisdictional disputes can be a challenge, but with the new initiatives, litigants in Dubai can expect an easier and more efficient process. The new plan includes the Smart Requests initiative, which aims to streamline the Writ of Execution procedures, making the process more transparent and easier to track. This will reduce delays and ensure that the judicial system runs smoothly.
Litigants involved in collection claims will also benefit from the new initiatives, especially those relating to recognition and enforcement. The Disclosure Platform initiative, for example, will enable all authorities and officials involved in the execution of a ruling to be notified about the funds and assets of judgment debtors. This will allow officials to track and recover assets, helping to ensure that the judicial system operates at peak efficiency more easily.
Litigants with potentially insolvent debtors can also expect to benefit from the new initiatives. The Sale Notification System initiative creates a system for notifying officials in charge of the execution of a judgment about items confiscated as part of a ruling so that they can be sold within a specified time frame. This initiative will ensure that assets are sold in a timely manner, and that judgment creditors receive the compensation they are owed.
Furthermore, the integration with the Ministry of Interior will ensure that rulings are enforced with the help of police and security departments. This initiative will ensure that enforcement is efficient and transparent, helping to protect the rights of all parties involved in a case. This can be particularly beneficial for foreign investors and litigants who may be concerned about the enforceability of their rights in a foreign jurisdiction and can increase compliance with court orders and help prevent further disputes from arising.
In conclusion, the new strategic plan announced by Dubai Courts is set to benefit litigants in Dubai, especially those with high-value claims, cross-jurisdictional disputes, arbitration matters, litigants with potentially insolvent debtors, and will support procedures for recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards.
Mahmoud Abuwasel is a Harvard graduate practitioner with substantial experience in high-value and cross-jurisdictional disputes and focuses on international arbitration, complex litigation, and tax controversy.