Is UAE Arbitration now restricted to local lawyers?
“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 standing. 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 …”
- Agree with analysis that the law is inapplicable – and that the courts in the jurisdiction(s) of enforcement will agree with that analysis;
- Seek to move the seat of their arbitrations elsewhere; or
- Appoint a UAE firm to act as co-counsel.
Since this article was written, the DLAD has issued a clarification (see below for more detail) and so this issue has largely blown over for Dubai arbitrations. In other emirates, the situation may be different.
On 7 December 2017, the DLAD issued a letter addressed to the DIFC Arbitration Institute regarding the above debate. The letter refers to Dubai Executive Council Resolution No. 22 of 2011 on the fees and fines relating to the practice of law and legal consultancy, which gives the power to the DLAD to regulate the legal consultancy profession in Dubai. By virtue of this power, the DLAD confirmed that all lawyers who are licensed in Dubai, including foreign lawyers registered as legal consultants with the DLAD, may appear before any arbitral tribunal in Dubai. The letter also stated that legal consultants visiting the Emirate of Dubai from elsewhere may represent parties before an arbitral tribunal in Dubai.