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Types of courts in Dubai

There have been some landmark developments in Dubai in terms of law and regulation in various sectors including civil, commercial, companies, intellectual property, immigration, maritime, industrial, banking and employment law. Dubai has its own judicial system, independent of the other emirates.

There are three primary sources of UAE law, namely federal laws and decrees (applicable in all emirates), local laws (laws and regulations enacted by the individual emirates), and Sharia’h (Islamic law).

Stages of Litigation
Dubai’s judicial system is known to implement justice in Dubai through precision and promptness in judicial procedures. Dubai’s courts comprise a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal and a Court of Cassation. Each of these courts have separate circuits namely:
  • Civil Court
  • Commercial Court
  • Criminal Court
  • Labour Court
  • Real Estate Court
  • Personal Status Courts
It is to be noted that the Personal Status Courts follows Sharia'h principles for marriages and divorces, succession, personal status etc. Dubai Courts has also ruled that witnesses are not a pre-requisite at the Personal Status Courts to obtain 12 types of personal status certificates. These include request for income certificate, marriage and divorce power of attorney, guardian appointment certificate, no-objection certificate for minors to start business, embracing Islam certificate, name changing certificate, family reconciliation certificate, dowry collection or concession, child nursing validation or concession & giving children their mother's nationality. Non-Muslims are required to respect Sharia law in Dubai and conduct themselves accordingly.
The DIFC Courts are an independent common law judiciary based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) with jurisdiction over civil and commercial disputes in or relating to the DIFC. For disputes involving companies based in DIFC, litigants on modest incomes can apply to get pro-bono (free legal advice) from a fund set up by the DIFC Courts. You will need to download the initial form from the DIFC Court's web