Dubai Courts on the Recognition of Foreign Judgments: “Recognition” or “Enforcement”? – that’s the Problem!

“Recognition” and “enforcement” are fundamental concepts when dealing with the international circulation of foreign judgments. Although they are often used interchangeably, it is generally agreed that these two notions have different purposes and, ultimately, different procedures (depending on whether the principle of de plano recognition is accepted or not. See Béligh Elbalti, “Spontaneous Harmonization and the Liberalization of the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Japanese Yearbook of Private International Law, Vol. 16, 2014, p. 269).

However, in legal systems where this fundamental distinction is not well established, the amalgamation of the two notions may give rise to unnecessary complications that are likely to jeopardize the legitimate rights of the parties. The following case, very recently decided by the Dubai Supreme Court, is nothing but one of many examples which show how misconceptions and confusion regarding the notion of “recognition” would lead to unpredictable results (cf. e.g., Béligh Elbalti, “Perspective of Arab Countries”, in M. Weller et al. (eds.), The 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention – Cornerstones, Prospects, Outlook (Hart, 2023) pp. 1983-184ff).


Van Den Eeckhout on CJEU Case Law in PIL matters

Written by Veerle Van Den Eeckhout, working at the Research and Documentation Directorate of the CJEU

On 29 April 2023, Veerle Van Den Eeckhout gave a presentation on recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The presentation, now available online, was entitled “CJEU case-law. A Few Observations on Recent CJEU Case Law with Attention for Some Aspects of Logic and Argumentation Theory.” The presentation was given during the Dialog Internationales Familienrecht 2023 at the University of Münster. This presentation builds upon a previous presentation of the Author, “Harmonized interpretation of regimes of judicial cooperation in civil matters?”, which is now also available online.


English Court Judgment refused (again) enforcement by Dubai Courts

In a recent decision, the Dubai Supreme Court (DSC) confirmed that enforcing foreign judgments in the Emirate could be particularly challenging. In this case, the DSC ruled against the enforcement of an English judgment on the ground that the case had already been decided by Dubai courts by a judgment that became final and conclusive (DSC, Appeal No. 419/2023 of 17 May 2023). The case presents many peculiarities and deserves a closer look as it reinforces the general sentiment that enforcing foreign judgments – especially those rendered in non-treaty jurisdictions – is fraught with many challenges that render the enforcement process very long … and uncertain. One needs also to consider whether some of the recent legal developments are likely to have an impact on the enforcement practice in Dubai and the UAE in general.

The case

 1) Facts 

The case’s underlying facts show that a dispute arose out of a contractual relationship concerning the investment and subscription of shares in the purchase of a site located in London for development and resale. The original English decision shows that the parties were, on the one hand, two Saudi nationals (defendants in the UAE proceedings; hereinafter, “Y1 and 2”), and, on the other hand, six companies incorporated in Saudi Arabia, Anguilla, and England (plaintiffs in the UAE proceedings, hereinafter “X et al.”). The English decision also indicates that it was Y1 and 2 who brought the action against X et al. but lost the case. According to the Emirati records, in 2013, X et al. were successful in obtaining (1) a judgment from the English High Court ordering Y1 and 2 to pay a certain amount of money, including interests and litigation costs, and, in 2015, (2) an order from the same court ordering the payment of the some additional accumulated interests (hereinafter collectively “English judgment”). In 2017, X et al. sought the enforcement of the English judgment in Dubai.



Last minute registration welcome: “The HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention: Cornerstones – Prospects – Outlook”, 9 and 10 June 2023, University of Bonn

Just a quick note to assure you that last minute registration is welcome. All information is available here.

Friendly reminder: Lecture on Private International Law and Voices of Children, organized in cooperation with

This is a friendly reminder to our co-organised event on next Thursday, free admissions can be registered here.

Online event

When making decisions, adults should think about how their decisions will affect children. Recent years have witnessed, in private international law cases and legislation, the protection of children is increasingly mingled with gender, indigenous issues, refugees, violence, war, surrogacy technology, etc. This is evidenced by the US Supreme Court 2022 judgment Golan v. Saada, the Australian case Secretary, Department of Communities & Justice v Bamfield, the 2023 German Constitutional Court decision, the Chinese Civil Codethe Australia Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Amendment (Family Violence) Regulations 2022, and developments at the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH Children Conventions) and the United Nations (Convention on the Rights of the Child and its additional Protocols).

On this International Children’s Day, let us join this CAPLUS webinar in cooperation with and American Society of International Law Private International Law Interest Group to hear voices of children in private international law.


Recent Article from Uniform Law Review

Just late yesterday, Uniform Law Review  published an interesting article that is of significance and relevance to comparative law and conflict of laws. It is titled EE Clotilde, “The reception of OHADA Law in anglophone Cameroon: appraisals and proposals” The abstract reads as follows:

This article assesses the extent to which the law under the Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA) has been received in anglophone Cameroon after 26 years of existence, with specific focus on the Fako judicial division.1 With regard to the tenets of qualitative research, it is observed that, from the viewpoint of the legal reception technique, it is indisputable that OHADA law has been infused into the English-speaking legal system in Cameroon through legal techniques of transposition. Through the use of interviews and questionnaires as our research tools, it is revealed that this reception remains limited because most judicial actors still find it difficult to implement legislation that they have not yet mastered. Linguistic issues and the difficulties faced in accessing the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration based in Ivory Coast in Abidjan on OHADA-related matters are serious obstacles to its effective implementation. This situation has been worsened by the poor articulation of clichés that tend to radically oppose OHADA law compared to common law principles. This article tries to deconstruct the ideas received as it shows some of the similarities in the substantive law under the two systems and consequently advocates on this basis the idea that efforts be made to familiarize common law jurists with the content of OHADA law. The article recommends that linguistic issues be tackled by OHADA lawmakers right from the stage of legal drafting by using drafting techniques that will reduce the feeling that the common law is being neglected. For uniform acts yet to be translated, the translation process should associate experts in comparative law to enable the use of appropriate legal language in translation from French into English. Only such efforts will entice the common law African countries that are still hesitating to join OHADA law and, by so doing, will render investment in Africa more attractive.