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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

UAE is serious about fighting injustice

Dubai Labour Court launches initiative to offers free legal consultation for workers

Chief Justice of Dubai Labour Court, judge Jamal Salem Al Jaberi. Courtesy Omar Askar
Chief Justice of Dubai Labour Court, judge Jamal Salem Al Jaberi. Courtesy Omar Askar

The justice system is meant to protect the interest of every individual on every level of the social ladder. Justice is supposed to be blind of its supplicants: rich or poor, young or old, powerful or without influence. Yet, the expenditure and complexities of a legal case or the pursuit of a claim can mean that many low-income people are too often shut out from the fullest benefits of the rule of law.

To ensure that equity is observed in the service of the well-being of every member of society and therefore of our civil society as a whole – the Government is aware that everyone who needs legal counsel should have access to advice, including those in the lower and lowest economic rungs. It is with this aim in mind that Dubai Labour Court launched the Oun initiative, which offers pro bono legal advice for low-paid residents. That’s not all. As The National reported yesterday, work is under way to provide full, free-of-charge legal services for workers through another initiative, known as Sanad.

These changes are not confined to one location. Last year, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department also offered a lifeline to many across the emirate by paying law firms a flat rate – either Dh15,000 or Dh20,000, depending on the type of case – to represent those who cannot afford representation. Each applicant is means-tested to prove their eligibility for assistance, while payment to the law firm depends on the lawyer seeing the case through to the verdict. The system is also intended to speed up legal procedures, as well as to make them easier to navigate.

No country or jurisdiction can claim that justice is always fully served –human judgement is ever bound to err. Nevertheless, we work as hard as we can towards just ends. That is all we can do. And that is precisely what our courts strive for. Through their initiatives, they hope to ensure that as best as possible no one is locked out of the system. What can be more commendable, in the pursuit of justice, than that?