The Government of Dubai, Legal Affairs Department has implemented preventative action against Unlicensed Legal Services in the Emirate of Dubai
The Government of Dubai, Legal Affairs Department (“Department”) has initiated combative investigations into all claims of unlicensed legal services in the Emirate of Dubai, as a preventative attempt to protect members of the public from persons who are not qualified or authorized to provide professional legal advice or services in the Emirate of Dubai.
The Department as the regulator of the legal profession is mandated by its Establishing Law (Law No. 32 of 2008) to investigate all reports of unlicensed legal service providers and take action against any unlicensed practice of law in the Emirate. The Department has the responsibility to protect the public by taking action against those who illegally offer legal services or misrepresent themselves as authorized to provide legal services in the absence of acquiring a licence from the Department.
The Department has identified and acted on reports of over 62 unlicensed legal service providers in the Emirate, comprised of companies and individuals that are engaging in unauthorized legal services. The unlawful solicitation of clients and offering of legal services by an unlicensed entity or individual is in direct breach of the law. The Department shall not tolerate any contraventions of the laws and shall impose heavy sanctions and punish all those found to be engaging in unlicensed legal services.
The Department is aggressively working to crackdown against any entity or individual found to be engaging in the practice of law, advertising or otherwise holding out to the public their ability to provide legal services as an unlicensed entity. The use of marketing material that would mislead the public and give the expectation that the company or individual has expertise in the field of law or advertising/marketing the company’s services as an alternative to a law firm or lawyer is considered to amount to an offence.
The crackdown conducted by the Department is supported by the Department of Economic Development (“DED”), the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) and various other free zone licensing authorities to speed up action against unlicensed entities. The Department with the enforcement support of the commercial licensing authorities aims to work towards safeguarding against any unauthorized practices of law, by imposing sanctions of monetary fines, suspension of commercial activity and in some cases closure of the offices. The crackdown is aimed to protect the public against any negligent unauthorized legal service providers.
H.E. Dr Lowai Mohammed Belhoul, Director General of the Legal Affairs Department, said
“The legislation in force supports the Government’s efforts to fully regulate, protect and develop the legal profession. It allows the Department to monitor the standard of legal professionals and aims to enhance the confidence of the general public and the business community by providing greater protection from unauthorised individuals and firms”.
The Department has established an online directory of advocates and legal consultants to enable all persons seeking legal services to verify that the firm or individual is authorized to provide legal services.