x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Supreme Court must push for Emiratisation

The fifth decade of the Supreme Court promises to bring a raft of changes, including the critical Emiratisation of the judicial system.

A nation’s legal framework mirrors the society over which it sits. It is rooted in the country its rules relate to both literally, and more broadly, in the sense that a legal doctrine is designed to respond to the needs of the population it represents. This is why it is both imperative and appropriate for the judicial system to strive for Emiratisation.

The Supreme Court marked its 40th anniversary this week and it has much to celebrate. The UAE’s judicial system is considered by some observers to offer an example in stability, objectivity and transparency to the rest of the region. But there is also an acceptance that more work needs to be done to improve the justice system.

Unlike the public prosecution, which has achieved 99 per cent Emiratisation, the Supreme Court has appointed only four Emirati judges out of 20 in the past decade. However, a draft judicial authority law is likely to change that.

As The National reported yesterday, the new draft law pushes for the Emiratisation of the legal system by giving young Emirati judges and judicial staff the opportunity to get promoted based on their merits rather than their age or years of experience. This will open a previously shut door for younger generations and speed up a process of Emiratisation that has been hindered for four decades by age and experience restrictions.

Having UAE nationals at the top of the legal system is good for the country. The legal system should reflect a nation’s character. No one is able to fulfil this goal better than Emiratis themselves.

The Supreme Court is also looking forward to getting more independence from the Ministry of Justice, by having its own budget and freeing the judiciary from intervention by ministries and external agencies. This is a necessary step, as the independence of the judicial system is an indispensable requirement for the promotion of fair and just rulings and for maintaining public confidence.

The court is also aiming to be more focused on its specialities, including cases that affect national security and stability, forged passports, stamps and currencies, and refer cases to other courts. This will speed up the process of ruling on cases and help in improving the court’s performance.

The fifth decade of the Supreme Court promises to bring a raft of changes to an institution that is developing as rapidly as the country itself.