x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

New class to break gender barrier in law

Dubai has opened the way for Emirati women to be appointed judges and prosecutors in the emirate.

DUBAI // Dubai has opened the way for Emirati women to be appointed judges and prosecutors in the emirate. The Dubai Judicial Institute, which trains law graduates to become prosecutors or judges, will start accepting female students for the first time since it was established 12 years ago. Dr Jamal al Sumaiti, director general of the institute, said 30 places were available for this year's course, which starts in October. He said there were 75 shortlisted applicants, men and women, competing for the places.

"We have not yet decided which of the shortlisted applicants to select, nor have we decided on the number of women out of the shortlisted applicants we will be admitting," Dr Sumaiti said. A decision will be made soon, he said. The applicants had taken a written test on general points of law and the top scorers were shortlisted. "We want to know if they know the basics before admitting them," he said.

Dr Sumaiti spoke on Tuesday at a graduation ceremony for 27 assistant prosecutors who swore the oath of office before Dubai's Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Dr Sumaiti said the institute's role had grown beyond simply providing professional training for members of Dubai's legal and judicial community. "We have taken on the responsibility of promoting legal awareness on a larger scale."

After the ceremony, Dr Sumaiti said the judiciary had to specialise to deal with emerging financial and electronic crimes with increased complexity. "The judiciary is moving increasingly towards specialisation. This is a global trend and it is only natural to do so," he said. He cited the establishment of the real estate courts in Dubai as an example of specialisation. He announced the publication of the first book in the institute's judicial studies series, The UAE Judiciary's Role in Governing Business Relations. He also expressed pride in the institute's role in providing training to various government departments in Dubai.

Dr Sumaiti commended graduates for showing the "highest level of commitment" during their year of training. "I urge them to sustain the same level of commitment and continue to develop their professional competencies, living up to the leadership's expectations," he said. hbathish@thenational.ae