Historically, prior to the establishment of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in the early seventies, recognised the evolving legal practice of the Government of Dubai, and responded by creating the Office of the Legal Advisor to the Government of Dubai. The mandate of the Office was to undertake a variety of legal matters relating to the Government of Dubai.

The Office of the Legal Advisor to the Government of Dubai, under the authority of Mr. Hamdi Abdul Rahman Abdul Majeed, contributed to the Government of Dubai legal work. The functions and duties of the Office included reviewing legislations, contracts, and agreements to which the Government or any other Government entities were parties to. This is in addition to licensing the advocacy and legal consultancy profession including foreign legal consultancy firms in the Emirate of Dubai.

In 2008, and in line with the economic and developmental growth of the Emirate, which necessitated the development of the legal work, and to meet the evolving demands of the Emirate, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, enacted the decision to establish the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department to be one of the Government Departments attached to H.H The Ruler's Court, and appointed His Excellency Dr Lowai Mohammed Belhoul as the Director General. The Department was established with the aim of providing various legal services to the Government and Government entities in the Emirate of Dubai, as well as supervise and manage all legal matters required to meet the demands of the economic and social developments within the Emirate through a robust legislative regulatory framework.

Development of the Legislative Legal Framework

The Department's powers were initially derived through the enactment of Law No. (32) of 2008. This primary legislation conferred the powers to perform various duties including exercising the Department's powers relating to local legislation in the Emirate, issuing bylaws and explanatory notes, and offering legal opinion relating to legal inquiries submitted by Government entities. Moreover, the Department represents the Government and all other Government entities in all matters relating to federal legislations and external treaties, and retains a prominent role in revising federal legislations as a result of being a member of various federal committees, such as the Technical Legislations Committee, the Special Committee to Study the Free-Trade Agreements, and the National Committee of the World Trade Organization. The Department has continued to develop the legislative work in the Emirate until June 2014 when the Supreme Legislation Committee was established in the Emirate of Dubai, presided by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, to be the competent authority in all matters relating to legislation.

Judicial Representation of Government Entities

The Department is charged with the responsibility to manage all matters pertaining to disputes against the Government or Government entities, by receiving complaints and claims against Government entities with the aim to reach an amicable settlement. In addition to this, the Department represents the Government and Government entities in all disputes and claims before the competent judicial authorities, reconciliation and arbitration centres.

Regulating the Advocacy and Legal Consultancy Profession

Pursuant to its establishment law, the Department was delegated the powers to regulate the advocacy and legal consultancy profession in the Emirate of Dubai. The primary function of this regulation includes licensing advocacy and legal consultancy firms operating in the Emirate. Furthermore, the Department maintains lists of registered individual advocates and legal consultants on the roll. The Departments responsibility extends to qualifying members of the profession by offering professional training courses, programs, and workshops in all areas of law.

Provision of Support and Legal Services

Since its inception, the Department has remained focused on providing legal support to the Government and all Government entities in the Emirate, ensuring all needs are met and to enable them to be at the forefront of all economic and social developmental sectors. To carry out this function, the Department is responsible for reviewing contracts and agreements in which the Government and Government entities are parties to. Furthermore, the Department provides legal support and assistance on complying with the contractual terms and conditions of engagement during the negotiation period to ensure its compliance with the relevant legislation in the United Arab Emirates, to ensure all Government interests are protected in this regard.

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