Participants during the legal conference. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As part of its efforts to raise legal awareness, Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department hosted its second conference on the topic ‘Legal Work After COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities’. The virtual conference, which featured a number of government entities and Dubai-based lawyers and legal firms, was attended by more than 1,500 participants.

The event discussed how COVID-19 will influence the future of the legal sector and explored ways to enhance professional excellence in the post-COVID phase. Participants also shared perspectives on ensuring business continuity in the sector, the role of digital transformation in the delivery of justice and other related challenges and aspirations.

Holistic view

In his opening address, Dr Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, said that at a time when many countries are struggling to recover from the crisis, the UAE’s vision and planning has enabled it to overcome the pandemic’s social and economic repercussions, demonstrating its ability to deal with unforeseen crises.

Dr Belhoul pointed out that the changes brought by the pandemic requires the legal sector to rethink its vision and plans. The conference will discuss how the legal community can work together to shape a new future for the profession, enhance excellence and uphold the values of justice and rule of law. Coinciding with the beginning of the next 50 years of the UAE’s development, the Conference will generate insights on how the legal sector can support the vision of the nation’s leaders and the ideals of its founding fathers. With Expo 2020 Dubai set to open new horizons of investment, the legal sector has an opportunity to raise its contributions to the UAE’s efforts to be an exceptional global role model, he said.

Conference presentations

Maha Al Gergawi, Senior Vice-President, Political Affairs, Expo 2020 Dubai, made a presentation on the mega global event’s role in building the future and strengthening the UAE Vision 2071. In her presentation, she said that Expo 2020 gives a new impetus to the UAE’s aspirations for economic, social and cultural progress. Abdullah Rashid, head of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Department at the Ministry of Justice, spoke about the UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering and regulate financial practices and transactions.

In a session titled ‘The DIFC as a Case Study in a Post-COVID-19 Environment’, Jacques Visser, head of the Legal Affairs division of the Dubai International Financial Centre, spoke about how the DIFC’s clear and flexible regulatory framework based on global best practices enabled it to deal with the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic.

In her presentation titled ‘Digital Justice and the COVID-19 Crisis: Development Requirements and Guarantees of Trust and Efficacy’, Dr Juma Obaid Dhaen AlFalasi, Director of Advocates and Legal Consultants Affairs Directorate and Chairman of the Information Security Committee at the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, spoke about digital transformation in the judicial sector. Prof. Dr Muhammad Butti Al-Shamsi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Association For Lawyers and Legal, discussed the issue of ‘The Future of the Legal Profession in the Aftermath of COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities’.

Recognising partners

The Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department honoured leading government entities that support the Department’s vision, strategy and projects. A number of officials of external organisations were also recognised for the support they extended to the Department in carrying out its functions.

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The Department also honoured Zayed Al Shamsi, former president of the Emirates Association for Lawyers and Legal (EALL) and Ali Musabbah Dhahi, former secretary general of EALL and member of the legal profession protection committee, for their cooperation with the department as members of the Association’s Board of Directors. The Department also honoured Yousuf bin Hammad and Abdul Moneim bin Suwaidan for the support they extended to the department — both as members of the Advocates and Legal Consultants Professional Conduct Committee and legal advisors.