ABU DHABI // The UAE will continue to establish its own distinct legal system, the president of the Federal Supreme Court told 32 of his counterparts from across the Arab world yesterday. "This is an opportunity for us to show the progress we have made in adopting new laws that address and reflect our nation," Dr Abdul Wahab Abdul said on the sidelines of the first Conference for the Heads of Supreme Courts in the Arab World, which brought together court presidents and 60 other judicial representatives.
The UAE penal code and many civil laws are based on the Egyptian legal system, and many Egyptian judges fill the Emirates' benches. In recent years, Emirati judges have been pushing for "made-in-the-UAE" laws to create a distinct judiciary. The forum is touted as a way to strengthen co-operation between courts in the Arab world. Several closed-door sessions will discuss issues ranging from cross-border problems to cyber crimes.
The Federal Supreme Court is mandated by the Constitution to deal with all matters related to state security and disputes between emirates. It also serves at the supreme judicial system for Umm al Qaiwain, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras al Khaimah operate independently of the federal courts. Any crime in these three emirates pertaining to state security, such as passport fraud or terrorism, are tried in federal court.