Update following our recent publication where our Dubai team and their local counsel successfully applied to the Dubai Courts for the recognition and enforcement of a judgment issued by the Courts of England & Wales in on-shore court Dubai. The opponent filed an appeal sought to overturn and dismiss the recognition and enforcement decision issued by Dubai commercial court of first instance on the grounds that the recognition and enforcement decision has misapplied the UAE civil procedures law and is contrary to the conditions expressly set out by Article 85 of the Executive Regulations of the UAE’s Civil Procedures Law. Above all, the Opponent stressed on the plea that there is no enforcement reciprocity of judgments between UAE courts & UK courts which is an essential condition that Dubai court of first instance had to take into consideration before issuing the recognition and enforcement judgment. However, the court of appeal accepted our defence and rules as follows.
Upon reviewing the reasons of appeal, it is established [by the appeal court] from the documents submitted that the ratification and enforcement application sought to ratify and enforce a judgment issued by the Courts of England & Wales before Dubai courts and such judgment and application before Dubai courts has fulfilled the conditions set out in Article 85 of the Executive Regulations of the UAE’s Civil Procedures Law as amended because the UK judgment had acquired the power of res judicata according to the Courts of England & Wales. The UK judgment was issued from an authorised court (Courts of England & Wales), which had sole jurisdiction over the matter and that Dubai courts did not have the exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate the case. The litigants in the UK were summoned to attend the hearings and were correctly represented in the UK court proceedings. The court added that the UK judgment issued does not include what breaches the public morals and is not contrary to public order in the UAE, hence the appeal court reconfirms the first instance court decision that ruled to recognise and enforce the judgment issued by the Courts of England & Wales before onshore court Dubai.
The Dubai court of appeal emphasised - the plea made by the appellant that the UK judgment is unenforceable in the UAE due to the absence of reciprocity in the enforcement of judgments between UAE courts & UK courts, and is hereby dismissed by this Appeal court because reciprocity is not a statutory condition required to enforce a foreign judgment before UAE courts. It is established from the documents and judgments presented by the defendant that the UK courts did not refuse to enforce judgments issued from UAE courts where those judgments have fulfilled the conditions set out in the law to be enforced in the UAE. As such, given the foregoing, this appeal court rules to dismiss the appeal and reaffirms the recognition and enforcement decision issued by Dubai commercial court of first instance and obliged the appellant to pay the court fees and expenses, ruling to dismiss the applicant’s appeal sought to stay and dismiss the ongoing execution proceedings.
Speaking about the appeal judgment, Senior Associate Abdalla Eisa said, “This favourable appeal court judgment has provided judicial interpretation and clarity with regards to the Dubai courts position in respect to the reciprocity condition in the enforcement of foreign judgments before Dubai courts, as the appeal court has confirmed that reciprocity is not a statutory requirement to enforce a foreign judgment before UAE courts. This is a significant judgment as it provides more clarity and guidance to the enforcement and recognition process before onshore court Dubai as we have seen at times in practice that it was required to provide additional documentation supporting the recognition and enforcement application which at times included fulfilling the reciprocity and enforcement condition which now, after this appeal judgment, it is clear that it would no longer be required condition to fulfil.
Speaking about the appeal judgment, Partner Nick Carnell said, "this appeal decision re-affirms Dubai’s reputation as a leading global centre for the legal profession and a key global dispute resolution hub. We note that this recognition and enforcement order by the Dubai Courts will pave the way for more recognition and enforcement of judgements between the UAE and England & Wales and follows judgement in Lenkor Energy Trading DMCC v Puri  EWHC 75 which saw the English Courts recognising and enforcing a judgement issued by the Dubai Courts.”