As part of the Dubai Government's ongoing endeavour to promote well-functioning justice, the Dubai Courts recently established a dedicated Inheritance Court. This is pursuant to Decision No. 6 of 2022 issued by the Dubai Judicial Council on 15 April 2022, establishing and Inheritance Court with effect from 1 September 2022.
This is a continuation of a previous initiative that simplified the three levels of litigation and simplified procedures to reduce case times.
The Inheritance Court
We set out below a brief discussion of the nature of the Inheritance Court, its jurisdiction, objectives, and judgements.
- Nature - the Inheritance Court is distinguished by its distinct formation, as it consists of three judges - a First Instance judge, an Appellate judge and a Cassation judge sitting as the Chairman.
- Jurisdiction - the Inheritance Court has exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute related to inheritance. This includes an assessment of the estate, the liquidation of the estate, and the distribution of funds to the heirs. The jurisdiction extends to any civil, real estate or commercial actions arising from the estate. The Inheritance Court will also deal with any incidental requests related to the removal or inclusion of an heirand settlements between heirs by way of gifts, arising from the estate or indivisibly linked thereto, provided that the value in question shall not be less than AED 500,000.
- Objectives - the main objectives of the new Court are stated to include:
- preserving social and family ties and protecting them from rivalries that may arise due to inheritance
- combining all claims and requests related to or arising from the estate in one case before one judicial authority
- simplifying litigation procedures
- accelerating the adjudication of inheritance claims without prejudice to the requirements of justice
- establishing a branch of the judiciary specialized in inheritance claims, able to adjudicate not only those cases but all cases and requests that derive from them
- extending procedural flexibility in inheritance cases, which require innovative judicial solutions.
- Judgements - judgements of the Inheritance Court are distinct from judgements of the ordinary court in terms of the following:
- The judgments are final and unappealable (except by a petition for reconsideration in accordance with the conditions prescribed by law).
- The Court can revoke its judgement in accordance with the rules and procedures stipulated by law.
- Judgements are executed without the need for service, and no complaints or grievances are accepted in respect thereof.
- An order may be issued to stay the execution of a judgement by a decision of the court in the event of submitting a petition for reconsideration or a request to reverse the judgement if the court deems the same sufficiently serious.
Given the special nature of inheritance claims, these new measures are designed to preserve family ties to the maximum degree. One way in which this is to be achieved is by presenting numerous opportunities for reconciliation between the parties. These are available before going to court by providing alternative dispute resolution services such as conciliation, reconciliation, and mediation, and also during the case preparation stage.
As a precondition of the case being considered by the Court the parties must obtain a legal opinion from the preparation judge, whose role it is to promote settlement, offer solutions and give guidance designed to highlight the benefits of avoiding time consuming, costly and potentially emotionally damaging litigation if at all possible.
These new measures should support the proper functioning of justice and thus they constituted a key element of the Dubai Government's approach to litigation in the Emirate.
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