Analysis of Civil Procedural Laws in U.S.A. and U.A.E

By: Shirleen Kaur


Laws are generally divided into two major heads i.e., substantive law and the procedural law. Both the heads are considered together as one is purposeless without the other. The former contains the rules and regulations, characteristics of laws with bare acts of those laws. While the latter one gives an approach on how to implement substantive laws. Essentially, the judicial structure is divided into two kinds of case matters: civil and criminal. Hence, a study of Civil Procedure is basically a study of the procedures the substantive statues that are not criminal.


United Arab Emirates (UAE) has arisen to be one of the main powerhouses in economically aspect in Middle East. With time has also recognized the need of modernizing its laws as the growth of commercial contracts continues to increase as well. Despite that the ambiguous global changing nature of the world cannot be brushed aside when it comes to emerging markets, Dubai’s economic and dynamic cultural growth. These factors cannot be strengthened if legal and regulatory framework has not been developed and continue to develop sufficiently to encourage substantial internalized local and international enterprise in Dubai. It is well established that there is immense analysis done while deciding willingness to set up international businesses. Legal and regulatory framework has a major role to play in it as most pf the decision is based on their suitability of country’s legal framework. American philosophers have a major part in making civil procedure to be especially substantial. The civil procedure rules are so important as it is correlated to larger American norms. This loyalty for procedural to be ideal in due process explains how USA law makers have faith in individualism promoting a requirement for legal framework to proclaim that every claimant will get individualized justice. Consequently, this even reflects what is the USA’s cultural view regarding civil disputes. They follow the approach that there is supposed to be a winner and losers whenever a dispute arises rather than having a negotiation resolution approach.

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United Arab Emirates was affirmed as independent, united and a sovereign state comprising seven emirates. Relevantly, just like Indian legal system is based on Indian Constitution likewise, UAE legal system based on its the constitution. UAE legal system is a dual nature as it has local and federal courts together with a Supreme Court. “Civil Procedure Law” has been issued under Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 which is followed accordingly by the UAE courts to adjudicate all the civil matters.

  • Sources of civil laws in UAE

The main ideas and beliefs of the United Arab are taken from the Sharia law. Although, most laws entail a combination of European and Islamic notions of the civil law whose source is that the Egyptian legal code created within the 19th and 20th century. The adoption of civil law by variety of states within the area exhibits the French influence.

In Addition, having a specific legal legislation for all the agencies particularly of labour law, company law, and intellectual property, United Emirates has over the time recognized commercial and civil codes. This formation has facilitated some expansion in civil legal systems to be more structured and complete. Every new structure may affect someone in some way or the other as a consequence, it can be interpreted as inflexible sometimes. This rigidity has brought the same to some extent when it comes to establishing the job work linked to numerous countries within the geographic region. The UAE functions under a civil law system and acts are the first source of law.

The other thing that may differentiate the legal system of UAE from other countries would be that the Judgments of the higher courts don’t seem to be obligatory on the lower courts (although they could be a beneficial guide and often cited for backing of a position). Each case is set on its own advantaged and facts.


All court proceedings in UAE courts follow Arabic language. If there are any non- Arabic documents that are to be filed in the Court, needs to be converted into Arabic by a professional translator certified by the Ministry of Justice.

Correspondingly, the system within the UAE is fundamentally investigative in nature. In each case, the judge would prefer investigating the facts (generally through an expert allocated by Court) and apply the law to detailing of the facts of the case in reaching their judgment. There has never been a discussion of introducing a jury trial. All proceedings in UAE civil cases are supported with the written pleadings of the parties and reinforced by all the documentary evidence admitted. In general, there is no oral hearing in civil cases. There is a common practice which is prevalent for both the federal and also the Dubai courts to refer the matters to court-appointed experts for appropriate conclusions of fact in order to help in variety of expertise areas.

Even though, the judgement is followed, but importantly the concept of cease-and-desist order isn’t practiced in UAE. However, if after a while evidence is further submitted, the court may grant extension of the time supported by the request of the parties concerned treated as the additional submissions made by parties.

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The temporary remedies that are provided in UAE, are orders such as prohibiting the defendant from leaving the UAE or an order with relevance of surrendering of the passport by the defendant. These interim reliefs may be sorted if the claimant believes that the defendant might leave the concerned jurisdiction.

After a judgement is given, the judgment holder will start execution proceedings, and once this process is initiated, the debtor of the judgment shall receive a notice and they shall be expected to pay the debt, and if it isn’t fulfilled within the prescribed time then further execution proceedings commences. Then there are chances that the court may order attachment and sale of the concerned debtor’s property and even attachment of shares, bonds, stocks etc. In exceptional rare cases, imprisonment may also be passed for stricter approach to condemn violations.

Unlike India, there is no provision mentioned in UAE law regarding mandatory and prohibitive injunctions.  The applying for an attachment order of debtors’ assets is the only method that resembles to an injunction given in Indian Courts.

  • In the matter of Commercial disputes in UAE, they are resolved through either Litigation or Arbitration. The UAE is signatory to the UN convention on for the interest related to foreign arbitral award. Apart from arbitration, concepts which comes under the umbrella of arbitration such as conciliation and mediation are not that developed which means that these methods are not practiced like that in India. Although ADR may be considered a useful method for
    resolving the commercial disputes, but the need has not been recognized under UAE laws as no statutory framework exists which enforces ADR at large scale as a most vital method for resolving commercial disputes[1].Bottom of Form


Civil proceedings in the United States district courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The substantial purpose is “to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” [2]These rules were first adopted by order of the Supreme Court in 1937 and came into effect in 1938. The latest amendment of Civil Regulations was in 2020.

  • Sources of laws in USA: US Rules has composed the complex laws to specifically talk about how “it exists in different forms at every level of the government. To start with laws in US exist not only in the statutory form, but also the common laws that are formed through the judiciary.” [3]

Therefore, what distinguishes the sources of laws in USA in simple terms can be covered within the following.

  1. Constitution of USA and its Statutes
  2. Common laws
  3. Executive action
  4. Administrative directive
  5. Law of equity

Thus, the abovementioned sources of US laws identify the fabric of its governance in the society,

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Constitution and statues: “A constitutional law in USA constitute unique forms of various states. Constitution as it can be understood are the laws of the people, which is different from ‘statues’, constitution cannot be changed or amended, however, changes to statues can be amended in accordance to change in the society. Moreover, statutory is held responsible by the US congress at the federal level,” [4]

Administrative and Executive laws come from different sources referred in Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) and the federal US government respectively.

Common Law and equity laws: these laws are looked upon as providing common platforms of opinions that should be able to make sure that all parties leave during trial proceedings.


Legal action plays a broader role in the United States than any other countries. US system of rules provide constructive remedies to parties and is well recognized for its confrontational nature.

American procedural law has advanced class action measures that have no counterparts in the procedural law of Civil-Law authorities and go well beyond the practices of most other Common-Law authorities. As a consequence of an administration of intricate legal procedures that is so distinctive of the American legal system, regular citizens are less capable of handling their disagreements on their own, and more reliant on upon engaging the services of lawyers. Many think, for instance, disputes over auto accidents and the acquisition and sale of homes and apartments should be figured without lawyers. Yet, in most states in the Unites States the unsolved practices that now functions are the simple matters that could force people to turn these problems over to lawyers.

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Generally, in all civil cases, suits filed are initiated by the plaintiff where cases are decided by a judge or if any significant suit is presented then juries may be involved. As similar to other countries, punishments of civil nature cases are almost always of a monetary nature and not of imprisonment. Defendants’ liability has to be established by the plaintiff after and according to “preponderance of evidence”.

Sometimes, the charges against the defendant may constitute both a civil charge and a criminal charge if the particular wrongful act consisted of both a private injury or a public offense.

Generally, below mentioned stages are followed in a civil suit including the process followed within those stages:

  • A lawsuit is initiated by the plaintiff filing a complaint.
  • A reply is filed by the defendant against the complaint.
  • A scheduling order is then issued by the judge arranging out a timeline for case proceedings which may include the initiation of trial.
  • Motions by the parties and other pleadings may be filed.
  • A jury is then selected to begin the trial proceedings.
  • After hearing both the parties, a decision is then given by either by the jury or the judge.
  • The aggrieved party after the decision may file for an appeal in the appellate court which may prefer for further appellate review.


After comprehending UAE and USA laws, it can be realized that both countries’ civil laws are fundamentally different from one another. Laws which are applicable in UAE might not be similar in US. For an instance, if we take administrative laws prevailing in both nations, in US, administrative laws are regulated under code of federal regulation, on the other hand in UAE, the civil code is defined in each state in a separated form. Nevertheless, the UAE follows Sharia law, an Islamic law having it relevance in administrative laws or civil code. Thus, there can be seen a significant difference in both nations and their prevailing administrative laws.

The constitution and the statue in US are considered to be supreme due to which it can be said that it can be held responsible by the US congress at the federal level. Whereas, in UAE in that regard, the Federal Supreme Court is supreme. Although interestingly UAE and USA common laws are somewhat in forms and few parts similar to one another. As an example, UAE common law legislation has an influence of English common laws and in USA common laws, the definition of liberty is also paramount.

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Another similarity is related to media laws in specific, wherein UAE, the judiciary plays a substantial part in order to provide a solution relating to disputes of any in a civil nature and relevantly in USA such media laws are considered to be form of civil laws under the common heading of ‘common’ and ‘equity’ laws in the society specific to media regulation.

The hesitancy of civil laws of USA to imply good faith into agreements while negotiating amongst two commercial parties is widely known and mostly based on the traditional doctrine. The doctrine Is called doctrine of freedom contract in similarity with English Common Law. In contrast to USA, civil law in countries such as the UAE, they follow fulfilling obligations in such a manner that is consistent with good faith recognized as a fundamental part of the contract.


The civil law of UAE follows an interrogative approach which is usually applied by the bench. The courts follow litigation to be entirely court-driven where they have the control over hearing schedules, appointment of experts and so on. The judge hearing the case have absolute discretion in any case for the final decision. As far as the UAE courts are in question, they do not particularly adhere to traditional common law standards of evidence, for instance the “likelihood test” in civil claims or the “beyond reasonable doubt” in criminal matters.

USA can be said to be more liberal country so most of its laws also classify themselves in the same bracket. Subsequently, if we consider societal sphere and their cultural domain between these countries there would be quite a disparity. That being said, nearly all of the laws that are applicable in USA might not be applicable in UAE. However, with a few similarities to common laws, it just indicates that common laws are universal in nature. The major difference even so would be few laws which would UAE laws in general to not strengthen be it due to societal, cultural, or traditionally not applicable.

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[1] International Journal for Legal Research & Analysis, Pavan Kumar,R, June 2021

[2] Fed. R. Civ. P. 1.

[3] Jennings, 2005, p. 20

[4] Jennings, 2005, p. 20