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Lighthouse - March, 2017.

Enforcement of DIFC Judgment in Ras Al Khaimah Courts

On 12 December, 2016 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Dubai International Financial Centre (hereinafter referred as “DIFC”) and Ras Al Khaimah (hereinafter referred to as “RAK”) Free Trade Zone Authority, RAK Investment Authority and RAK International Corporate Centre to enhance the efficient enforcement of the Judgment and / or Orders pronounced by the DIFC Courts.

Enforcement of DIFC Judgment in RAK Courts
Ras Al Khaimah aka RAK is one of the seven Emirates in United Arab Emirates. It is also one of the three Emirates which has their own Court System. The jurisdiction of these courts is set out in the UAE Constitution and the UAE Civil Procedure Law. Further, RAK Court has an independent legal system like the Dubai Courts and the entire proceedings in the Court including the documents to be submitted the Court are to be in Arabic Language.

The DIFC Courts are established under the Dubai Law No. 9 of 2004 and is an independent Common Law Judiciary based in the Dubai International Financial Centre with jurisdiction governing civil and commercial disputes. Further, unlike the other courts in the UAE, the language used in the proceedings of DIFC Courts is in English.

With the signing of this MoU, the companies that comes under the authority of RAK, can have the disputes resolved by the DIFC Courts and can enforce the English Judgment issued by the DIFC Courts through RAK Courts. However, in order to enable this provision the Agreement entered into by the parties shall explicitly contain the clause for DIFC Jurisdiction. All the RAK Government bodies, companies, Investors and individuals shall utilise this provision in their Agreements.

Registration of Will
Previously in May 2016, the Dubai Government had framed a new rule allowing all Non Muslim expatriates to register their Will in Dubai. In order to provide these services, the Government has even formed the Will and Probate Registry, a public entity of the Dubai Governement and an ancillary body of the DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA). This rule had been designed to protect the assets in Dubai.

However, pursuant to the new MoU signed between DIFC and RAK authorities, the above facility has been extended to those who have assets in RAK. The party who has asset in RAK can share the details with the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry about their shares, they own in any company or partnership firms in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. They can also attach the business licences also to the Registered Will.

The DIFC Wills and Probate registry may share these information pertaining to the business licences and / or property with the RAK authorities like RAK Free Zone Authority, RAK Investment Authority, and RAK International Corporate Centre. Since, only the DIFC Courts have the exclusive jurisdiction over estates and succession for Wills which have been registered with DIFC Wills and Probate Registry, if the Testator passes away, the appointed executor may approach the DIFC Court for a Probate Court Order appointing him as the executor and allowing him to execute the Will, administer the estate and distribute assets to the beneficiaries. The probate order thus issued by the Court shall contain the powers and duties of the executor in relation to the deceased’s succession.

Further in order to carry out the execution of the Will, the executor shall present the “Execution writ” by the DIFC Courts to the Ras Al Khaimah Courts. The authorities as mentioned in the above paragraphs shall execute the Will without any delay on accordance with the applicable laws of RAK. However, there shall be applicable fees to be paid in this regard.

Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the ruler of the RAK Emirate, while signing the MoU has stated that “We understand that we live today in a World where not everybody speaks Arabic Language. We are proud of our language, but we are human beings. ……What we want to do is allow businesses, people who live here, to feel comfortable that they can speak as well in English”. Sooner or later the words of Sheikh Saud Bin Sagr Al Qasimi would come true since the three above mentioned Authorities are there to support the transformation and improving the business environment and thereby attracting foreign investors and business entities to Ras Al Khaimah.

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