The Foreign Law

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Diversity of cases between conditions and challenges..

Everyone knows that the UAE is home to many expatriates from all over the world, they live and settle, and they may come to it married, or they may marry after settling there.

While the other party in the marriage may be of the same nationality or of another nationality, so we are faced with a number of manifold and varied possibilities that raise different questions about the law that should be applied in personal status disputes that one party registers against the other before the UAE courts.

In those disputes in which the UAE court considers thorny issues such as divorce, guardianship, custody, expenses, visitation rights and inheritance disputes as well, sometimes we find ourselves before cases in which more than one law is contested for application before the court.

Therefore, we will assume here that we are in circumstances in which foreign legal application is valid as an exception to the general rule related to the application of UAE law before UAE courts.

Any resident of the UAE has the right to request the application of the national law of his state, which is what the UAE law here calls “foreign law.”

And the first question that imposes itself…Does this law actually exist, and can it be proven…?

In the past, before the issuance of the Federal Personal Status Law in 2005, the UAE courts were striving to apply foreign law without the requirement to prove it by the party who wants to apply it.

Now, the one who has to prove the existence of the law is the party who is demanding its application, so do not assume that the court knows about the existence of a personal status law in a country and that it has to implement it on its own, it is a matter that is not subject to the knowledge of the judge as much as it is subject to actual verification before the court.

The party wishing to implement its national law (foreign law for the UAE) must submit this law, complete and undivided, and a certified legal translation certified by the official authorities.

Provided that this law is presented before a court of first instance, for example, it is not permissible for one of the parties to demand the application of a foreign law, and then submit a copy of this law before the court of appeal, because this is a violation of the principle of litigation at two levels, which is one of the rules of the UAE public order.

The issue of the application of foreign law is a complex and diverse issue that differs in different cases and according to the circumstances of each individual case, and according to the issue that we are examining the law that should be applied to it, so for example after marriage, his circumstances will differ from a stateless person or another multinational person.

For example, the conditions for applying a foreign law to a matter such as “the validity of the marriage contract and its conditions” differ from the issue of “divorce” and “the division of estates and wills.” and an Emirati citizen who acquired his nationality after marriage will have different circumstances than a stateless person or another multinational person.

Therefore, we will be very careful to always provide ongoing and connected legal research on our website for this complex issue with its diversity of cases, which is of interest to many expatriates who reside in the UAE.