United Arab Emirates: Who Can Represent Clients Before Arbitration Tribunals In The UAE?

Last Updated: 19 July 2019
Article by Al Dahbashi Gray

Being an international hub for business, the UAE has always accepted foreign professionals to operate and do business in the country, including international lawyers practicing in the UAE. It is important to note that all foreign practitioners in Dubai (and some other Emirates) are required to register as "legal consultants" if they would like to practice law of any sort in the UAE.

It was a complete surprise when a new bylaw was issued on 25 September 2017 by His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice, by virtue of decision no. 972/20171 relating to the governance of the legal profession in the UAE.

The following extract from Article 2 of the new bylaw created the largest impact:

"Without prejudice to Article 20 of the Law, no person may practice legal profession unless his/her name is listed in the list of lawyers in good standing2. Furthermore, the Courts, Arbitration Tribunals, and the Judicial & Administrative Committees are prohibited from accepting the POA of any person who is not registered as a good standing practicing lawyer.

No Power of Attorney shall be issued including any activity that is restricted to lawyers, or attending or pleading or performing any judicial action before any of the bodies noted in the first paragraph of this Article except for the practicing lawyers in good standing ..."

The way it is written in Arabic, it implies that the list of lawyers in good standing is the list of registered advocates in the UAE ("Advocates")3. As only Emiratis (with a few exceptions) are registered as Advocates and have the right to represent clients in local courts, the new bylaw effectively meant that any arbitration held in the UAE required the involvement of an Emirati lawyer registered as an Advocate to represent clients. Therefore, on this interpretation, any international law firm representing clients in UAE arbitrations without Emirati co-counsel would be required to appoint local lawyers to attend the arbitration proceedings just as they would in matters before the local Courts.

When this bylaw came into effect on 26 September 2017 it unsurprisingly resulted in a great debate within the UAE's legal profession. Many questions were raised, and clarification was sought from the relevant UAE authorities.

On 7 December 2017 the Dubai Legal Affairs Department (DLAD) shed the light to the seemingly- ambiguous Article 2. A letter issued by the DLAD to the DIFC Arbitration Institute clarified that these bylaws do not apply automatically in Dubai as Dubai is one of the Emirates that has its own judicial systems. Furthermore, the clarification noted that all licensed practitioners are considered to be on the list of lawyers in good standing. This meant that the foreign legal practitioners whom have registered themselves as "legal consultants" have the right to represent clients before Arbitration Tribunals.

On 15 June 2018 the new Federal Arbitration Law no. 6 of 20184 came into effect (issued on 3rd of May 2018, published on 15 May 2018 with effective date of one month after publication) and finally cleared all remaining doubts in its Article 33 which noted:

"5. The Parties may, on their own costs, seek the assistance of experts and legal representatives such as attorneys and others to represent them before the Arbitral Tribunal ..."

This simply overrode the bylaws (972/2017) and any debate about the application of Article 2 of the bylaw is now over. During the course of an arbitration in the UAE, parties may choose their legal representatives without restrictions and at their discretion.


1. Ministerial Decision No. 972 of 2017 on the Executive Regulations of the Federal Law No. (23) of 1991 on the Regulation of the Legal Profession

2. List of Lawyers with Good Standing refers to the list of lawyers who are registered with the Ministry of Justice or the relevant judicial body in any of the Emirates that has its own judicial system and accepted as practicing lawyers within the UAE or that specific judicial body.

3. Only Emirati lawyers (with few exceptions) may be registered as an Advocate before the Ministry of Justice and/or Judicial Bodies in the specific Emirates that has its own Judicial System (i.e., Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ras Al Khaimah) there are other lists for legal practitioners who are registered with different regulatory authorities but these are not considered advocates who are allowed to represent Clients before local courts (with exception to the DIFC and ADGM) 

4. The UAE Federal Arbitration Law No. 6 of 2018 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions