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Ratifying Arbitration Awards in the UAE

Arbitration, as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, has gained significant traction in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But how do you ensure that your hard-won arbitration judgement is not just a piece of paper, but a tangible victory?

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of ratifying arbitration awards in the UAE, shedding light on the legal framework.

1.The Legal Framework:

The foundation for the ratification of arbitration awards in the UAE is the UAE Arbitration Law. It’s important to note that this process must be initiated correctly to ensure the successful enforcement of your arbitration judgment.

2. Initiating the Process:

To commence the process of ratification and enforcement, you must file a “ratification case” (also known as an attestation case) in accordance with Articles 213, 214, and 215 of the UAE Civil Procedures Law No. 11 of 1992. These articles outline the procedural steps to be followed, including serving a notice to the opposing party and allowing them to respond. Lawyers in Dubai specialising in Arbitration can help you out in initiating the process.

3. The Role of the Court:

Unlike the previous system where ratification started in the Court of First Instance, the UAE Arbitration Law mandates that enforcement proceedings begin directly before the UAE federal or local Court of Appeal. This change streamlines the process, making it more efficient.

4. Key Documents:

When filing for ratification, certain essential documents must be submitted. These include:

– The original award or an official certified copy.

– A copy of the arbitration agreement.

– An Arabic translation of the arbitral award if it is not in Arabic.

– A copy of the minutes of deposit of the award in Court.

5. Expedited Procedure:

One significant improvement introduced by the Federal Arbitration Law is the expedited procedure for enforcing arbitration awards. Under Article 55, the Court of Appeal can issue an award’s enforcement order within 60 days from the date the application was filed. This swift process promotes efficiency and ensures that arbitration judgments are enforced promptly.

6. Challenging the Award’s Validity:

The new arbitration law also allows a 30-day window for a party to challenge the validity of the award before the Court of Appeal. This provision adds an additional layer of fairness to the process while still maintaining efficiency.

7. Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Awards:

The UAE is a signatory to international conventions such as the New York Convention on recognizing foreign awards. Therefore, the process for recognizing and enforcing foreign arbitration awards is also streamlined. An application for recognition and enforcement must be filed directly with the Court of Appeal, not the Court of First Instance. The execution judge will ensure that the foreign award complies with UAE law and international obligations.

8. Key Distinctions:

It’s important to distinguish between domestic and international arbitration procedures in the UAE. An arbitration is considered international if it involves parties located in at least two countries at the time of the agreement or if the seat of arbitration or the location of the dispute’s subject matter is outside the UAE. These distinctions affect the procedures for enforcing arbitration awards.

9. The Role of Free Zones:

The UAE has two free zones, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), each with its own arbitration procedures. Parties can choose to opt-out of the Federal Arbitration Law and opt for these free zone arbitration regimes if they agree to it. Understanding the applicable arbitration rules and procedures in these free zones is essential when considering arbitration in the UAE.


In the dynamic landscape of international commerce, ensuring efficient dispute resolution is paramount. When it comes to Arbitration Awards in the UAE, BSB Legal in Dubai stands as the epitome of excellence and reliability. Arbitration, as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, is highly favored in the UAE for its expeditious and confidential nature. BSB Legal, located in the bustling heart of Dubai, has established itself as a leading authority in this domain, offering comprehensive services to address complex commercial disputes.