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Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has acknowledged the international trust entrusted in the Abu Dhabi Courts operating under a pioneering judicial and legislative system, with the issuance of a historic judgment by a high court in England, affirming that the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court is the correct forum for hearing a family dispute between a British couple resident and domiciled in the emirate.

The British High Court issued its judgment confirming that the Family Civil Court in Abu Dhabi is competent to hear the family disputes between the British couple residing in the emirate, following a disoute over the jurisdiction between the English courts and Abu Dhabi courts.

In his judgment, Justice Edward Hess affirmed that the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court has been established with a view to giving assurance and maintaining rights of expats based on the law provisions and the universally recognised principles of justice. Therefore, the British Court contends that the Abu Dhabi court, not the English Court, is the appropriate jurisdiction to hear the divorce case.

This judgment has been rendered following the jurisdiction issue raised before the British Court in relation to the divorce proceedings issued by the wife, as the husband argued that the Abu Dhabi court was the best jurisdiction to deal with the divorce, given the fact that the couple is domiciled in the UAE.

The High Court in England issued its ruling upholding the jurisdiction of the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court to hear the divorce case, and stressing that the embryonic court has been set up with a view to giving assurance to non-Muslims and expats living in the UAE that they will be dealt with in a way which is commensurate with existing norms of non-Muslim countries.

It is worth noting that the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court was established under Law No. 14 of 2021 regarding civil marriage and divorce in Abu Dhabi, which provides, for the first time in the Middle East, a family law based on international best practices; and upholds the freedom of individuals and their right to marriage and divorce, noting that the law allows unilateral divorce, gives equal access to divorce for husband and wife, and equally treats male and female in terms of and civil inheritances and testimony before the court.