Afridi & Angell
  February 8, 2024 - United Arab Emirates

Unification of Federal and Local Judicial Principles: key decisions relating to civil procedure and cheques

The Commission for the Unification of Federal and Local Judicial Principles (the “Commission”) recently issued a number of decisions aimed at harmonising certain “judicial principles”. Since the doctrine of stare decisis is not followed in the UAE, there have been instances of incongruities in the application of law by the UAE courts. The Commission was established under Federal Law 10 of 2019 (the “Federal Law”), recognising a need to avoid such inconsistencies.

In terms of Article 18 of the Federal Law, decisions of the Commission are binding on all on-shore courts of the UAE, including courts of emirates which are not part of the federal judicial system (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ras Al Khaimah) – with the fail-safe that an inconsistency between a judgment and a “judicial principle” recognised by the Commission may constitute a ground for appeal of a judgment which otherwise would be final. Requests for unification of judicial principles can be submitted by the heads of supreme courts in the UAE, the federal public prosecutor, and local prosecutors.

The following are some of the key decisions issued by the Commission.

  1. Scope of Article 667 of the Commercial Transactions Law (enabling direct execution proceedings for cheques dishonoured for insufficient funds) expanded to include cheques dishonoured due to account closure
  1. Federal Supreme Court / Courts of Cassation power to reverse judgments extended to criminal matters
  1. Court of Appeal to decide on the substance of the claim if it declines to grant a payment order

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