The Voluntary Legal Services Smart Portal Reflects the Supreme Values and Ethics of the Legal Profession



Defending rights is one of the key values on which the legal profession is based in its human dimension. When a legal practitioner uses all his legal knowledge and experience to advocate for such rights, he is not looking for mere financial gains, but rather is motivated by his deep belief in his values and his commitment to the essence of the profession, which rests on the principles and ethics of justice whose goals are more important than just gaining money.

Stemming from its firm belief in community and humanitarian values associated with the legal profession, in 2018, the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, coinciding with the Year of Zayed, launched the Voluntary Legal Services Smart Portal, which aims to provide voluntary legal assistance to members of the public wishing to obtain a legal service free of charge from licensed advocacy and legal consultancy firms taking part in the initiative. This legal assistance is provided subject to the time slots allocated by the firms to that effect.

To shed light on this initiative, “Al Bayan" prepared this news report which introduces the Portal, its objectives, and its added value to voluntary legal work.

Community Responsibility of the Profession

The beginning was with His Excellency Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, who stated that the initiative, which was launched more than five years ago, echoes the directives of the astute leadership in supporting voluntary work, and underlines the vital role of legal work in social responsibility by involving practitioners of advocacy and legal consultancy professions in voluntary charitable work driven by their belief in the noble values and ethics of the legal profession. This lofty approach enhances the contributions of the UAE in general and the Emirate of Dubai in particular, whether by individuals or institutions, to charitable work in all sectors.

 

His Excellency Dr. Belhoul added that the Portal enables advocacy and legal consultancy firms to participate in the initiative, by registering their details, specifying areas of law and available time slots to provide their free legal services to members from the public. The service applicant may have access to services provided by any of the firms licensed by the Department contributing to this voluntary work, in various areas of law that concern members of society, such as personal status, civil transactions, commercial transactions, and penal code.

His Excellency Dr. Belhoul noted that the mutual cooperation between the Department and its partners who are offering voluntary legal services and are keen to allocate part of their time and expertise to respond to service applicants, translates the significance of institutional partnership in achieving the success of this initiative, and also entrenches the supreme values and ethics of the legal profession at the service of the community.

The flexibility of the service

For his part, Dr. Juma Obaid Al Falasi, Legal Counsel - Director of Advocates and Legal Consultants Affairs Directorate affirmed that the Portal provides an outstanding level of voluntary legal service, which meets the requirements of the 'Services 360' policy, launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of the Executive Council, as the Department was keen to upgrade the technical structure of the Portal to be more interactive, flexible and accommodating to its users, in a manner that achieves voluntary service standards that provide users with quality and efficient service.

Dr. Al Falasi explained that the Portal is fully automated and provides the flexibility that suits service providers and users alike, by allowing service applicants to apply over 24 hours, to opt for the area of law for which they wish to obtain advice, to choose the appropriate language for communication, and select the appropriate appointment from the available time slots offered by the firm that will provide the service, with a view to obtaining the voluntary legal service with ease.

Effective Partnership

In the same context, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Butti Al-Shamsi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Association for Lawyers and Legal, told 'Al Bayan' that one of the key goals of the Association is to enhance the role of the legal profession in achieving its lofty mission to establish the rules of justice, apply the ethics of the profession, and work in a spirit of responsibility whether at the social, national, or humanitarian level.

The Association seeks to achieve this essential goal through collaboration with all its partners, and supporting various initiatives that consolidate the noble community values that give added impetus for the legal profession in the UAE, particularly this initiative that provides a forum for practitioners of the legal profession and contributes to performing an effective societal role through the central entity regulating the legal profession in the Emirate of Dubai. Thus, forming a sustainable partnership in voluntary work that serves all target groups, according to an institutional system that guarantees the provision of voluntary legal service as sought by its applicants.

Strengthening Confidence

Dr. Al Shamsi explained that the voluntary Portal demonstrates the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department's keenness to work with its partners to expand the scope of legal services that provide a suitable justice environment for all segments of society, ensuring the achievement of the mission of justice and the right to defend rights, in a manner that promotes the rule of law in society.

The Portal also supplements the UAE efforts to support voluntary work and contributes to promoting trust in the legal profession and its practitioners among members of society, which is stipulated in the legislation in force in the UAE, particularly Federal Decree Law No. (34) of 2022 regulating the advocacy and legal consultancy Article (2), which stipulates: “Promote the trust in those performing the legal profession and legal consultation profession under the umbrella of specific professional, ethical and behavioral controls", and Ministerial Resolution No. (666) of 2015 on the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct of the Legal Profession in the UAE, which refers to the social role of the lawyer, which imposes on him multiple responsibilities, including his responsibility towards society, as part of which he is supposed to play an instrumental role in defending rights and establishing the rule of law.

The Dubai Endowment Sign

For his part, His Excellency Ali Al Mutawa, Secretary General of Endowment and Minors' Trust Foundation (AWQAF DUBA) underlined the Foundation's keenness to support community initiatives that promote charitable work and foster a culture of giving and sustainable charitable work in society. Al-Mutawa added that the Voluntary Legal Services Smart Portal launched by the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department enabled all members of society to receive free legal advice offered by a group of licensed advocacy and legal consultancy firms.

Al-Mutawa emphasized that the Portal has contributed to raising legal awareness in society and has been providing financially disadvantaged members of the public with legal services free of charge for years. Al-Mutawa reiterated the Foundation's support for the initiative that was awarded the Dubai Endowment Sign in 2019 in recognition for its sustainable community contributions based on the concept of innovative endowment, and thanks to its tremendous community efforts as a role model in the government sector and its valuable humanitarian role in society.

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Photos captions:

Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul:

  • To strengthen the role of legal practitioners in sustainable giving driven by their firm belief in the mission and ethics of the profession.

Dr. Juma

  • The Portal is tailored to suit both service providers and users to provide an outstanding level of voluntary work offered by the Department.

 

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Butti Al-Shamsi

  • We work with our partners to enhance the role of the legal profession to fulfill its lofty mission in upholding the values of social responsibility

His Excellency Ali Al Mutawa

  • The Portal is a sustainable community contribution based on the concept of innovative endowment 



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