Labour Cases in Dubai
Dubai Labour Court for employers and employees
Legal proceedings associated with labour disputes are expensive, time consuming, and takes a toll on everyone involved. However, when an amicable resolution cannot be achieved, one or more parties can initiate legal proceedings against the other. In Dubai, these cases are heard at the Dubai Labour Court, under the aegis of the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
Here is an overview of labour cases in Dubai, and the stages of resolution.
Overview of labour disputes
When a complaint is raised or an application for a labour dispute is made to MOHRE, the Ministry’s Twa-fouq Department will call both parties and take all necessary steps to settle the dispute through mediation. At this stage, both parties are not obliged to accept any proposed settlement/s.
If an amicable settlement is not reached at Twa-Fouq, the Department will refer the parties to Al Adheed Centre, a satellite office of Dubai Courts. The Centre will draw up a statement of claims and forward it electronically with related documents to the Dubai Labour Court, within 2 (two) weeks of receiving the request. The referred case will be accompanied by a summary of the dispute, evidence submitted by both parties, and the comments of the
The Dubai Labour Court will fix a hearing for the claim, and notify both parties within 3
(three) days of receiving the case. The Court may also request a representative from the Department to explain the contents of their summary before proceedings begin.
At some of Dubai’s free zones, the mediation process must also be completed at the relevant free zone authority before legal action is brought to court.
Common labour disputes
Labour disputes can be either contentious or non-contentious, broadly covering these actions:
Types of claims
Claims for labour related matters in the UAE are largely for monetary payment. An example is an employee’s claim for damages for what he considers to be an unjustified dismissal by the employer.
The labour law of the UAE does not provide for a claim for reinstatement. Actions for injunctive relief, such as breach of post-contractual non-competition clauses, are also likely to be unsuccessful.
The Dubai Labour Court
The Dubai Labour Court is part of Dubai Courts, and is responsible for all disputes arising out of employment relationships in the territory of Dubai and all free zones located in Dubai, with the exception of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
The Dubai Labour Court is split into two separate circuits:
The Minor Circuit:
The Major Circuit
If an employer files a lawsuit, he is obliged to pay the court fees, regardless of the outcome of the claim. The court fee typically amounts to 5% of the total amount claimed, not exceeding Dhs. 20,000.
If an employee files the suit, he is exempt from paying court fees for a claim value of up to Dhs. 100,000. However, if the amount in dispute exceeds Dhs. 100,000, he is similarly obliged to pay 5% of the total amount claimed, not exceeding Dhs. 20,000.
All court fees become payable upon the issuance of a final judgment. These fees will be included in the execution statement, and are to be paid at the conclusion of the case.
In Dubai, each party is responsible for their own legal costs as well as for any disbursements. The exception is a small (nominal) amount that may be awarded to the winning party at the final hearing, at the sole discretion of the court.
Pursuing and defending claims before the Dubai Labour Court can become a significant expense to both parties. It is prudent to factor in this aspect before proceeding with litigation.
All proceedings at the Dubai Labour Court are conducted in Arabic.
The Dubai Labour Court usually conducts a case without the parties having to give statements during a hearing. Instead, each party has to submit their pleadings in writing, including documentary evidence such as employment contracts, correspondence between the parties, and bank statements. All documents for submission to the court must be either in Arabic, or translated into Arabic by a translator who is accredited by the UAE Ministry of
Witnesses are only heard under exceptional circumstances.
Duration and judgment
The length of the legal proceedings depends on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the availability of all parties, and the active workload of the court.
The Dubai Labour Court’s Remote Litigation Service enables quicker resolution for labour disputes with a claim value of less than Dhs. 20,000. Both parties can attend the hearings presided over by a single judge by means of electronic communication, and judgment is usually passed within 24 hours.
Representation by lawyers
Although legal representation is not mandatory at The Court of First Instance, most parties use professional legal services if they are not proficient in Arabic or familiar with Arabic
Engaging a law firm is also important for collating and assessing all documentary evidence, and amending or adapting position as the claim progresses.
Only Emirati lawyers and accredited lawyers from other Arab nations have right of audience in court.
Our team of lawyers aim to deliver results – with the highest chances of success, in the least amount of time..
Operating with a Power of Attorney (officially registered with the Dubai Labour Court), we offer legal representation to employers and employees on either side of a claim.
Contact us for legal services for all labour cases in Dubai.