Direct enforcement of ADGM Court judgments and arbitration awards into onshore Abu Dhabi

by White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP

On 11 February 2018, the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts (ADGM courts) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, allowing for the reciprocal enforcement of judgments, decisions, orders and ratified or recognised arbitral awards between the ADGM courts and the Abu Dhabi courts.

The ADGM courts are part of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, an international financial centre for local, regional and international institutions. The ADGM courts were created in 2013, and like the DIFC courts, are located in a financial free zone. The ADGM courts are based on English common law and the Abu Dhabi local courts are based on civil law, similar to the DIFC courts and Dubai local courts, respectively.

The Abu Dhabi Law No. 4 of 2013 (ADGM Founding Law) has not provided an exact method for cross-enforcement of the judgments of the ADGM courts and the onshore Abu Dhabi courts. The ADGM Founding Law, however, itself envisaged, under Article 13, that there will eventually be agreements between the ADGM courts and other courts to facilitate cross-enforcement.

The MoU will allow judgments of the ADGM courts to be recognised and enforced in the onshore Abu Dhabi courts (and vice versa) in a simple procedure described below.

Key Developments Under the MoU

Article 2 of the MoU sets out the pivotal position that allows reciprocal enforcement to occur without re-examination of the merits of the original judgment. It provides a simple process as well as presents a mutual respect for each court by allowing judgments to pass unaffected between the ADGM and Abu Dhabi courts without being subjected to further consideration or scrutiny.

Once an arbitral award has been ratified or recognised by a court of origin, it will be classified as a judgment (as per Article 5 of the MoU).

Articles 6 to 10 of the MoU govern the enforcement of Abu Dhabi courts’ judgments in the ADGM and Articles 11 to 15 of the MoU govern the enforcement of ADGM courts' judgments in onshore Abu Dhabi.

In order to be enforced, the judgment is required to contain an executory formula and be translated into English (for enforcement by the ADGM courts) or Arabic (for enforcement by onshore Abu Dhabi courts) (Articles 7 and 12). After the judgment creditor submits an application to the ADGM courts or onshore Abu Dhabi courts, a judgment will be enforced according to the relevant procedures but without re-examination of the merits of the judgment (Articles 10 and 15).

A New Conduit Jurisdiction?

Litigants will benefit from being able to enjoy a similar mechanism to the one that is currently in place in Dubai (through the DIFC courts and onshore Dubai courts).

The MoU will enhance the Abu Dhabi legal industry in terms of providing a more co-operative cross-court enforcement regime between courts in Abu Dhabi. More importantly, it will open doors for litigants by making it easier and more accessible for them to seek to resolve their disputes or enforce their awards.

Next Steps and the Future

Now that the MoU has been signed, the MoU is immediately in force. Parties can start using the ADGM courts to seek enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards into the Abu Dhabi courts, therefore being able to enforce onshore provided there is the necessary connection with the ADGM courts.

It is yet to be determined how this will evolve and whether it will echo the development of the DIFC courts: for example, whether a Judicial Committee will be created and how conflicts of jurisdiction between the ADGM courts and Abu Dhabi courts will be dealt with.

Hafsa Raza, a trainee solicitor at White & Case, assisted in the development of this publication.

[View source.]

Written by:

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.