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Tuesday 07 May ,2019

In one of its latest publications, the National Archives documents the history of federal legislation in the UAE.

In one of its latest publications, the National Archives documents the history of federal legislation in the UAE. 

History of Federal Legislation in the United Arab Emirates, a book recently published by the National Archives, highlights the legislative status before the establishment of the UAE and in each of the Seven Emirates of the Union, i.e. before the Federal Legislation.

The history of the legislations in the UAE differs from that of other countries, because each emirate had its own political, administrative and legislative entity. Many legislations were issued in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah before the establishment of the UAE, and each emirate had a specific administrative structure devised in accordance with the legislations regulating its government.

The new Trucial States Council was established in 1952 where many basic issues concerning all emirates, such as health and economy were discussed. At that time, there were no regulations governing public life due to lack of disputes. However, some changes started to occur as a result of the development of the Trucial States relations with the world outside and the increased inflow of foreigners into the Emirates. The applicable laws at that time were derived from several sources. For examples, public cases were governed by Indian laws and Mumbai laws. Later, a number of courts were established, and their jurisdictions were set based on importance; thus, the Trucial States Court was founded to serve as the Court of First Instance, and the Supreme Court of the Gulf as the Court of Appeal.

Upon the establishment of the UAE in 1971, jurisdiction over all people, as well as national and foreign institutions – within the UAE boundaries - was transferred to the State. The final jurisdiction transfer agreement provided for a time limit for resolving pending cases, and allowed the appeal of previously issued judgments. The new State has committed itself to recognizing the decisions of the Trucial States Court and the Courts of Appeal.

The book consists of four chapters on the history of federal legislation in the UAE. Chapter 1 contains 8 sections. Section 1 discusses the legislations in the Trucial States, while Section 2 focuses on the legislations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and points out that legislations are divided in Abu Dhabi into three parts: laws, decrees and regulations, including resolutions, decisions, orders, circulars and legislative regulations.

Section 3 highlights the legislations in the Emirate of Dubai where several legislations were issued before the foundation of the UAE. Since the beginning of 1961, most of these legislations were in the form of announcements and circulars regulating the economic and financial situation. The following sections deal with the legislations in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.

Chapter 2 tackles the establishment of the UAE. It consists of two sections: the preparation of the interim constitution and the constitutional amendments.

Chapter 3 is concerned with the legislative authority in the constitution. It has two sections: the first is about granting the Union the legislative competencies and powers, while the second is on distributing competencies in accordance with the ministry formations.

Chapter 4 entitled “Legislations Development” has four sections. Section 1, transfer of local administrations to the federal authority; section 2, establishment of the higher legislation committee; and section 3, establishment of the higher ministerial committee for legislation and the ministerial and technical committees for legislations, and the legislative session.

At the end of the book come the references and appendices, which include the Trucial States flag and passport, along with many other documents that form 27 appendices.

Book: History of Federal Legislation in the United Arab Emirates.

Publisher: National Archives, Abu Dhabi, 2018, 1st Edition, 318 pages.

By: Dr. Abdul Aziz Mustafa Al Khalid.