Abu Dhabi: Emirati lawyers have urged the government to stop expatriate lawyers from litigating in the lower courts. They said the grace period given to them which expires on March 29 must not be extended. They believe that new Emirati lawyers must be given the chance to integrate into the legal system in the UAE.
At the moment, a number of Emirati lawyers are jobless. Currently, expatriate lawyers are allowed to work only in the primary courts.
According to the latest Ministry of Justice statistics, there are 725 registered lawyers in the country.
The number includes 555 nationals, or 77 per cent of the total. There are 170 expatriate lawyers, accounting for the remaining 23 per cent.
A convention of lawyers discussed emiratisation of the law profession and the current situation of expatriates in the primary courts.
The lawyers insisted they did not have any other source of income except their profession.
Emirati lawyers cannot have additional business permits in any economic department except law services, thus limiting their source of income to the legal profession.
Emirati lawyer Ebrahim Al Tamimi stated that the number of Emirati lawyers is 600, excluding the non-practising Emiratis who can always be absorbed into the profession if conditions become conducive.
As expatriate lawyers make up 23 per cent, their absence will have little or no impact on the profession in the courts, he said.
Al Tamimi said the convention ended by recommending implementation of the emiratisation of the profession and encouraging nationals to be involved in this important profession.
Al Tamimi said the lawyers called for a committee to be formed to communicate with law offices and arrange for regular meetings with lawyers, and to preserve the honour of the national lawyers in the courts.
The lawyers also arranged for a meeting with the minister of justice to recommend that the licences of expatriate lawyers not be renewed.