Real estate—United Arab Emirates—Q&A guide
Real estate—United Arab Emirates—Q&A guide

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Real estate—United Arab Emirates—Q&A guide
  • 1. How would you explain your jurisdiction’s legal system to an investor?
  • 2. Does your jurisdiction have a system for registration or recording of ownership, leasehold and security interests in real estate? Must interests be registered or recorded?
  • 3. What are the legal requirements for registration or recording conveyances, leases and real estate security interests?
  • 4. What are the requirements for non-resident entities and individuals to own or lease real estate in your jurisdiction? What other factors should a foreign investor take into account in considering an investment in your jurisdiction?
  • 5. If a non-resident invests in a property in your jurisdiction, are there exchange control issues?
  • 6. What types of liability does an owner or tenant of, or a lender on, real estate face? Is there a standard of strict liability and can there be liability to subsequent owners and tenants including foreclosing lenders? What about tort liability?
  • 7. How can owners protect themselves from liability and what types of insurance can they obtain?
  • 8. How is the governing law of a transaction involving properties in two jurisdictions chosen? What are the conflict of laws rules in your jurisdiction? Are contractual choice of law provisions enforceable?
  • 9. Which courts or other tribunals have subject-matter jurisdiction over real estate disputes? Which parties must be joined to a claim before it can proceed? What is required for out-of-jurisdiction service? Must a party be qualified to do business in your jurisdiction to enforce remedies in your jurisdiction?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to real estate in United Arab Emirates published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: October 2020).

Authors: Afridi & Angell—Shahram Safai; Rahat Dar; Anna White

1. How would you explain your jurisdiction’s legal system to an investor?

The United Arab Emirates is a civil law system. The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates sets out the main rules of the political, legal and constitutional organisation of the United Arab Emirates.

Article 1 of the Constitution provides that the United Arab Emirates is a federal, independent and sovereign state consisting of the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The Constitution is flexible and allows the emirates to exercise authority in certain matters.

Article 116 provides that the emirates shall exercise all powers not assigned to the federation by the Constitution.

Article 122 provides that the emirates shall have jurisdiction in all matters not assigned to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federation.

The emirates of Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain follow the federal judicial system.

However, at the local level, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Courts in Dubai and the RAK Courts in Ras Al Khaimah maintain their own independent judicial departments, with jurisdiction in matters that are not assigned to the Federal Judiciary in accordance

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