Earlier this year, Kholoud al Dhaheri, the UAE's first female judge, called for more women to hold powerful positions as an example for younger generations. Ms Al Dhaheri would have been delighted by the news that 12 young women were among a record 53 students who graduated last week from the Dubai Judicial Institute (DJI).
Whether female or male, the graduating class of judges, public prosecutors and military prosecutors should dramatically alter the country's judicial landscape in the coming years. The benefits to the UAE's developing legal system may not be evident immediately, but in time, they should be significant.
Having qualified Emirati judges in powerful positions should help to engender a stronger tradition of legal scholarship. Just as important, with wide-ranging courses including economics, politics and human sciences under their belts, this group is well-suited to confront new challenges in the courts. Essam al Humaidan, the attorney general of Dubai and chairman of the DJI, described these changes as a paradigm shift in the country's criminal justice system.
"We have carried out extensive practical and academic preparation to deal with new crimes - such as electronic crimes - and, as a result, we are able to maintain control over the crime rate in Dubai," Mr al Humaidan said. "As prosecutors we are prepared to handle all kinds of situations, especially now that we have been prepared and trained our new graduates to deal with the shift in the crime paradigm."
Amid the excitement, it should be remembered that the legal system in this country is still developing.
In previous years, the UAE has often lacked the capacity to deal with the complex criminal and business cases that are increasingly brought before the courts. The relatively high number of judgements by the UAE's Court of First Instance that are ultimately overturned is also an issue that needs to be addressed. An influx of highly qualified judges and prosecutors should be a catalyst to improve these and other shortcomings in the country's judicial system.