The Execution of UK Judgments in the UAE is Finally Allowed

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On 13 September 2022, a Circular was issued by the International Cooperation Department of the UAE Ministry of Justice on the confirmation of the reciprocity of enforcing the UK court judgments in UAE. As per the Circular, the reciprocity requirement stated in Article 85 of the Executive Regulations of the UAE Civil Procedures Law of 2018 has been finally met by the English High Court’s decision in Lenkor Energy Trading DMCC V Puri [2020] EWHC 75.

In such Judgment, the High Court confirmed that final and conclusive foreign judgments for debts passed by competent courts may be enforced in England by filing a claim on such matters, which are also subject to public policy. It also confirmed that should the enforcement of an English court judgment be sought in UAE courts, these courts deem an English court judgment as a debt instrument between the involved parties without relying on a judicial review of the merits of the claim.

Moreover, and in the lack of a bilateral treaty for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments between the UAE and UK, UK claimants have been facing many difficulties trying to enforce English court judgments in the UAE. As a result, many companies failed when examining the UAE-UK Treaty on Judicial Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, which has been sanctioned on 31 May 2007 in the UAE.

On another note, the enforcement of the English courts’ judgments was very complicated prior to the issuance of the aforementioned Circular. A very common defense by local debtors when objecting to the implementation of English courts’ judgments in the UAE was allowed in the lack of reciprocity in recognition and enforcement of English courts’ judgments in the UAE.

From our point of view, we believe that the Circular will have a quite beneficial influence on the legal and business markets in the UAE as it gives more comfort to UK investors. In addition, this Circular is expected to encourage foreign investors to submit to the jurisdiction of English Courts in their contracts instead of UAE courts.