Dubai Courts establishes first division for inheritance of non-Muslims

Dubai Courts establishes first division for inheritance of non-Muslims

DUBAI, 10th July, 2023 (WAM) -- Dubai Courts have announced the establishment of the first division for the inheritance of non-Muslims and the execution of their wills.

The department aims to enable non-Muslims to execute their wills within a framework that guarantees the application of their personal laws and the management of their probate matters.

This significant step reflects Dubai's commitment to respecting cultural diversity and advancing its integrated and advanced system of services.

Judge Mohammed Jassim Al Shamsi, Head of The Special Court of Inheritance in Dubai, emphasised that this decision aligns with the directives of the wise leadership and the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The establishment of this department aims to facilitate and expedite procedures for individuals, he added.

Al Shamsi noted that Dubai Courts attaches great importance to the probate matters of non-Muslims in the Emirate, ensuring the application of their personal laws and developing litigation procedures to make them enforceable.

Al Shamsi explained that the non-Muslim Inheritance Department specialises in regulating non-Muslim inheritance cases based on specific terms and conditions. To open an inheritance file, applicants must provide a set of documents, depending on their specific request and the available documentation. In the first case, the documents must include a legal notice, an inventory of inheritance, a legal document, or an official document specifying the heirs and their shares.

In the second case, applicants should submit an official document proving the existence of a will issued by Dubai Courts or any other courts within UAE, excluding the Dubai International Financial Centre courts. In the third case, if none of the above documents are available, a judicial ruling proving the death of the deceased and identifying the heirs must be provided. Al Shamsi also mentioned that if the ruling is issued outside the UAE, the file can only be opened after ensuring that the ruling is attested by the Embassy of the UAE - Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Al Shamsi added that if a request to open an inheritance file is based on a will not issued by the courts within the UAE, which is the fourth case, the provisions of Article 18 of Law No. 15 of 2017 concerning the management of non-Muslim inheritance matters and the execution of their wills, as applied in Dubai, are implemented. A lawsuit for the execution of the will is registered, along with a certified copy of the applicable law for the will, whether it is the law of the testator's nationality, or the law specified in the will. The director of the lawsuit ensures the completion of the documents, payment of judicial fees, schedules the nearest session, and notifies all parties mentioned in the will.

Al Shamsi stated that the non-Muslim inheritance Department applies a single-session system, aiming to reach a decision on the request within one session. After the decision accepting the execution of the will is issued, along with the file opening application, it is presented. If further clarification and inquiries are required, a request is submitted to the court president for approval to open the file through the "Wayak" system.

Regarding cases where the court refrains from opening probate files, Al Shamsi stressed that they include situations where a will is issued or authenticated by the Dubai International Financial Centre courts, as these courts have jurisdiction over such matters. Additionally, an accompanying affidavit specifying the heirs, whether they are outside the country or subject to consular jurisdiction, may be considered insufficient in determining all the heirs. In other cases, applicants are permitted to submit a request to the court president through the "Wayak" system for the review and issuance of an approval decision.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, issued Law No. 15 of 2017, which applies to all wills and probate matters concerning non-Muslims in the emirate, including the Dubai International Financial Centre.