Non-Muslims get their own personal status court

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 15 December 2021: Youssef Saeed Al Abri, Under-Secretary of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), inaugurated a court specialising in personal status cases for non-Muslim foreigners, as part of the executive procedures introduced to implement the law governing non-Muslim personal status matters in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, promulgated by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The step aims to provide a flexible and elaborate judicial mechanism to settle family disputes for non-Muslims, so as to enhance the Emirate’s position and global competitiveness as one of the most attractive destinations for expertise and skills.

In his opening speech, Al Abri explained that the establishment of the first specialised court for non-Muslim family matters is part of the continuous efforts being made to further develop the judicial system of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Judicial Department of Abu Dhabi, to work continuously to keep up with all changes and developments in order to assert its leadership in the judicial field.

The new specialised court will be competent to hear cases related to non-Muslim personal status matters and all related forms and procedures will be bilingual (Arabic and English), in order to facilitate the understanding of legal proceedings by foreigners and to strengthen transparency of the judicial system, Al Abri added.

He stated that the Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims, which is applied by the Court, is the first of its kind in the world to apply civil principles in the regulation of family matters, as it addresses the smallest details regarding non-Muslim family issues, and provides a modern judicial umbrella for foreigners to resolve disputes in a flexible manner in accordance with international best practices.

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