According to the legal system’s history, the cornerstone of current law in Dubai was formed in 1970. The Civil Court was founded when the Law of Forming Courts was approved. The Court of Appeal was established under the same statute. This was followed by Law No. 2 in 1979, which established the Supreme Court of Appeal. Simultaneously, the Court of Appeal witnessed the annulment of former provisions listed in the Statute of Forming Courts by another law.
To comprehend the appeals procedure in Dubai Courts, it is necessary first to grasp the tiers of courts.
Levels of Courts in Dubai
There are three levels of courts in the UAE so that if one is not satisfied with the verdict, they can appeal in the next level court and challenge the decision by substantiating their claim with more proof. Below are the details.
- The first level, Court of First Instance consists of both federal and local courts. The Court handles the first degree of litigation for personal status, civil, criminal, commercial, labor, and administrative cases. The Court scrutinizes the claim statements of either party and validates documents. It functions as a public conflict manager and responder, guaranteeing that people’s rights are always respected.
- The Court of Appeal is also a federal and a local court. It is the second level of legal action. A petitioner who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of First Instance may appeal to the Court of Appeal for civil and criminal statutes.
- The Federal Supreme Court hears federal matters, whereas the Court of Cassation handles municipal cases. The Court of Cassation is the supreme or the highest body for resolving litigations judged by the Court of Appeals. The Court is also responsible for the interpretation, regulation, and enforcement of the laws. The Court of Cassation’s ruling is legally binding and final, and it cannot be challenged further.
The hierarchical process for Appeal has been mentioned in the Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 and amendments by the Law No. 10 of 2014 for Civil Procedural Law. The process starts from the Court of First Instance. If one is not happy with the judgment, they can appeal at the Court of Appeal and then the Court of Cassation.
Appeal Process in Dubai Courts
Below are the processes for appealing in different courts.
Appealing at the Court of Appeal
The litigant first needs to approach the Court of First Instance for litigation. If the person is not satisfied by the ruling of this Court, they can appeal to the Court of Appeal only if convicted by the Court of First Instance. If there is no conviction, the complainant cannot appeal to the next higher Court even if they accept the legal decision explicitly or implicitly.
There is also a time limit to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The litigant can appeal within 30 days of the issuance of the court ruling by the Court of First Instance in standard cases. In case of urgent matters, the plaintiff gets only ten days from the issuance of the verdict from the lower Court to appeal to the Court of Appeal. One critical element to remember is that if the petitioner does not comply with the time restriction, they forfeit their right to appeal.
Other noteworthy points are:
- The Court of Appeal has three judges, with one of them presiding over the proceedings.
- The case could be civil, criminal, administrative, commercial, or personal law related.
- The Appeal is usually about the points of law and facts. In case the factual matter is disputed, the Court can ask the parties to submit fresh evidence.
- The law of the UAE is only applicable to all proceedings. In the absence of any applicable statute of UAE, the decrees and announcements made by the Ruler of Dubai prevail. According to Federal Law No. 35 of 1992, criminal cases are regulated by the Criminal Procedural Law.
- Only cases with a civil suit of AED 20,000 or more are eligible for the Court of Appeal jurisdiction. If the value is less than AED 20,000, the plaintiff needs to take permission from the Court before filing the Appeal.
- The process involves the submission of the papers to the Court of Appeal. The Court then asks both parties to comment. Counter appeals are welcome, too, only when filed before the first date of hearing. Once the Court hears both sides, it reserves its judgment.
In most cases, the judgment passed by the Court of Appeal is executable and final.
Appealing at the Court of Cassation
If the litigant is dissatisfied with the ruling of the Court of Appeal, they have only sixty days from the judgment date to appeal to the Court of Cassation. The Appeal, however, is subject to certain terms.
- Complainants have the right to appeal exclusively on legal grounds. For example, if the law has been broken or misconstrued.
- To appeal to the Court of Cassation, the monetary worth of a civil claim must be greater than AED 200,000. There is no minimum claim value in criminal cases.
Other significant points include:
- The Court is led by a Chief Justice and four additional judges.
- Civil, commercial, criminal, and personal lawsuits are heard by the Court.
- The Court of Cassation’s decision is published in the court gazette and serves as a future reference.
- Listening to both parties and validating their submissions in Court is part of the process. The Court of Cassation may issue a final decision or refer the matter back to the Court of Appeal for additional consideration. In the latter scenario, the parties who have been wronged have the right to appeal to the Court of Cassation on a question of law.
The process of appealing to higher courts is immensely sophisticated, necessitating a complete awareness of the legal procedures, related laws, and regulations. If you are an aggrieved party and planning to appeal, it is prudent to seek legal advice from a lawyer. The power of the right legal advice is indisputable and crucial to ensuring compliance with the UAE rules and regulations.