Once you have started to transact business in the UAE, various other laws and regulations will be relevant. Some examples include:

Employment Legislation

There are legislative and other requirements governing the employment of Emirati and expatriate labour in the UAE. These relate to such matters as labour clearances and also impose certain rights and obligations on both the employer and the employee. To some extent, these differ as between expatriate employees who are brought into the country by their employer and those who are employed locally.

Enforcement of your Commercial Rights

The UAE has civil courts, which deal specifically with civil and commercial matters and are governed by strict rules of procedure. The courts of Dubai do not form part of the federal court system but do apply the federal Civil Procedures Code.

Although contracts prepared in languages other than Arabic are enforceable before the courts, all pleadings and supporting documentation must be prepared in or translated into Arabic. There is a right of appeal against judgments in certain circumstances.

Specific advice should be taken on the potential length and cost of any action prior to commencing proceedings in the UAE.

In addition, arbitration should be considered as an alternative means of dispute resolution. The Chambers of Commerce & Industry in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have established commercial arbitration centres.

Government Contracts

Companies doing business with official bodies should note that there are strict regulations affecting government contracts. Also, government bodies operate various standard forms of contract, such as construction and consultancy contracts, which follow international practice but are adapted for local usage. Standard forms of contract also vary between the different Emirates.

Trademarks, patent and copyright

During the 1990s the federal government promulgated three pieces of legislation: the Trademark Law, the Patent Law and the Copyright Law. The Ministry of Economy is responsible for maintaining the Register of Trademarks and the Ministry of Finance and Industry is responsible for registering patents.

Federal intellectual property laws on copyright trademarks and patents were promulgated in 2002, providing intellectual property rights more comparable with accepted international standards.


Sponsorship by a company of expatriate personnel and visitors to the UAE imposes obligations on that company, and its authorised representatives or managers, as to the conduct of such persons. There are various regulations concerning the issue, renewal and cancellation of visas and labour cards. Great care must be taken not to infringe such regulations and UAE based employees must respect the customs and laws of the UAE.


Both federal and individual Emirate legislation regulates the protection of the environment in the UAE. The important aspects of environmental legislation were clarified during 2002 by a number of Executive Orders. Both new and current business undertakings should review their activities to ascertain whether they are required to hold government issued environmental permits or otherwise comply with the regulations.

Real Estate

Although the UAE Civil Code includes a number of provisions dealing with land ownership, leasing, co-ownership of floors and apartments and the creation and operation of owners' associations, it did not address the underlying issue of the ownership of property by non-UAE nationals. It has therefore been left to each of the individual Emirates to legislate on real estate matters. The Dubai property law (Law No. 7 of 2006) provides the general rule that property ownership in the Emirate shall be restricted to UAE and GCC nationals (and companies).


Elison Inc.

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