‘Oops!... I Did it Again’: New Restrictions on Foreign Counsel in UAE Arbitrations
8 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 16, 2017
In September 2017, the UAE Minister of Justice passed the new Executive Regulations to the UAE Legal Profession Law no. 23 of 1991. The 2017 Regulations restrict the ability of foreign counsel to appear on behalf of arbitrating parties in UAE-seated proceedings. Article 2 of the 2017 Regulations provides that arbitral tribunals shall not accept the representation of arbitrating parties by persons who are not registered on the Roll of Practising Lawyers in the UAE. Article 17 provides that only UAE nationals can be registered on the Roll of Practising Lawyers. Hence, only UAE lawyers can appear on behalf of the parties in UAE-seated arbitrations. The 2017 Regulations come at a critical time when the UAE arbitration community has not yet recovered from the shock of Article 257 of the Federal Penal Code. While there are potential solutions to the restrictions imposed by the 2017 Regulations on foreign counsel, it is fairly early to predict the potential consequences that may follow. Other than Article 2 of the 2017 Regulations being amended, the promulgation of the long-awaited draft UAE law on arbitration could effectively repeal the effects of Article 2.
Keywords: United Arab Emirates; UAE; Legal Profession Law; Arbitration Law; arbitration; foreign counsel; attorney; lawyer; appearance of foreign counsel
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation