Only Emirati lawyers will be allowed to present cases in the country's courts starting March 1.
Although such limits are already in place in the appeals courts and some other speciality branches, expatriates were able to present in the courts of first instance.
After March 1, non-Emirati lawyers will only do work outside the courtroom. Although many Emirati lawyers, mostly in personal affairs, have called for such a move, some see it as impractical and believe the rule will be repealed before the end of the year.
"We are the ones who will get tired. How will I distribute myself between criminal, appeals, commercial and federal?" said the attorney Hamdan Bu Debes.
"I am against this decision. We all live and work in one country; I wish everyone can present equally."
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is also moving towards specialised courts; those dedicated to intellectual autonomy cases and media case are expected to be activated soon. The department is also introducing more solutions for disputes outside of court, such as a commercial arbitration centre, which is expected to be launched soon.