The following article was originally published for BSA in Arabian Business and discusses the implications of the Dubai Courts' specialised money laundering court.
In August, Dubai Courts announced the establishment of a specialised court, focused on combating money laundering, within the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal. The move, which seeks to strengthen the integrity of the financial system in the UAE, follows the establishment of the Executive Office of the Anti-Money Laundering & Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
BSA Associate Hadiel Hussein, answers some important questions on the new court.
- Why is it important to have a specialised court to combat money laundering?
By definition, a specialised court is one with exclusive jurisdiction over a particular field of law. Its panel is usually comprised of a number of judges and presided over by a judge with expertise in the relevant field.
Financial crimes are sophisticated in nature; hence, their analysis/adjudication requires the integration and involvement of judiciary members that are eloquent and knowledgeable in financial crimes.
In a jurisdiction such as the UAE, which is considered to be a hyper-connected, pro-business hub and a global leader in innovation, it is fundamental to comply with internationally recognised anti-money laundering regulations and standards and to ensure their implementation in its financial, regulatory, and judicial systems. This can only be attained with the establishment of specialised courts that are capable of implementing such laws and adjudicating upon such crimes.
- What impact will this court have on Dubai's economy?
There is no doubt that there have been remarkable initiatives on a federal and Emirate level in the past couple of years driven towards enhancing and honing its regulations and laws in order to comply with international standards relating to anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism.
From an economic perspective, such initiatives facilitate business/trading between UAE companies and foreign entities, which consequently ensures the effectiveness of the UAE's financial system and mitigates the time involved in conducting required due diligence. The refined integrity and increased efficacy of both its regulatory and judicial systems would make the UAE a more attractive market for foreign investors.
On a larger scale, such initiatives would categorically improve the UAE's ranking from an international calibre and perspective, such as its ranking with Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- What is its value from a legal perspective and to the UAE's legal infrastructure?
The importance of these specialised courts is the diversification of expertise of judiciary officers in the UAE's legal system, and the refinement of quality and consistency of court judgments promulgated in relation to money laundering.
To conclude, the establishment of such specialised courts complements the UAE's adopted strategy in relation to combatting money laundering and is a vital step towards achieving an integral financial, regulatory, and judicial system.
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