His Excellency Dr. Lowai Belhoul, Director General of the Department, affirmed that the Department is continuously seeking to raise the efficiency and skills of legal consultants registered with the Department, and said that this reflects on the quality of the legal services they provide, helps the Department preserve the legal reputation of the Emirate by making it a hub for those seeking legal services.
Dr. Lowai told "Emirates Today" that in order to achieve that, the Department took steps such as the launch of the CLPD which aims to provide continuous learning, unify the legal culture of legal consultants and raise the standard of legal services provided in the Emirate with a view to keeping pace with the all levels of development in the Emirate. The CLPD also seeks to achieve the highest levels of trust among recipients of legal services of which reinforces Dubai's image as a global hub for such services.
Dr. Lowai explained that the Department, in cooperation with a group of academic institutions and large legal firms in the Emirate of Dubai, is applying the Programme to 2279 legal consultants, in the first phase. Since its launch in 2015, 99% of legal consultants have participated in the Programme. The introduction of the Programme came due to the diversity in the legal profession where a need was identified to inform legal consultants, through training programmes, on the laws and other legislation in force in the Emirate and the developments in legal work to ensure the quality of the services they provide. The second phase of the Programme will be addressed to advocates and will be provided in coordination with the relevant entities.
Dr. Lowai said that during the launch of this Programme, which is the first of its kind in the Arab region, the Department was keen to benefit from the developed countries' best experiences in raising the skills of legal consultants in order to make them aware of the latest legal updates related to their work.
Dr. Lowai explained that CLPD is mandatory for all legal consultants registered with the Department as they cannot renew their registration without having completed it. Moreover, if any one of them fails to register in the Programme, his name will be submitted to the CLPD Committee to consider any sanctions to be taken against him.
Dr. Lowai added that the requirements of the Programme stipulate that each Legal Consultant registered on the roll in the category of practising Legal Consultant will be required to obtain sixteen (16) CLPD points on a yearly basis. At least eight (8) of those points must be obtained by completing Mandatory CLPD Activities. To obtain those points, Legal Consultants are required to attend four (4) training courses set by the Department, with each course lasting for two (2) hours. A further eight (8) points should be obtained from the Accredited CLPD Activities selected by Legal Consultants from among the Department's accredited activities, so long as one accredited activity shall be no more than four (4) points.
Dr. Lowai said that at the end of every training workshop, legal consultants will be required to fill in satisfaction surveys and give their feedback about the subjects to be added to the Programme. Based on that, the number of courses, compulsory training hours and modules will be decided for the next year. He added that the Department ensured that the first year of the Programme included eight hours for modules covering Code of Ethics, Commercial Companies Law, UAE Legal Framework and Civil Transactions Law whilst the second year allows legal consultants to select four from seven courses so that each of them can choose convenient modules related to his/her work.
In the next phase of the implementation of the Programme, the Department will provide the training material online to afford legal Consultants the flexibility to access the training material at a time and place convenient for them .
Dr Lowai also explained that in addition to undertaking mandatory training , the Department is accrediting different training activities provided by accredited external training entities to allow legal consultants choice in to undertaking some of those activities in order fulfill their CLPD obligations.
Aiming to spread the CLPD culture, the Department offers (8 non-mandatory points) as part of the Programme, to be provided by approved external entities. External entities must meet certain professional standards and training capacities to be accredited by the Department. The Department also aims to reinforce the concept of professional specialisation of legal consultants to raise their skills in their particular field.
Dr. Lowai also revealed that there are currently, 2,297 legal consultants registered with the Department practising in legal consultancy firms. Of that number, 45% of legal consultants are Arabs, while 55% are from other nationalities.
He added that currently, there are 66 nationalities represented in the total number of legal consultants. The majority, 676, of them are British followed by 513 Egyptians , 120 Indians , 97 Lebanese, 94 Americans, 90 Sudanese, 89 Jordanians, 89 Australians, 60 Syrians, 46 Canadians, and 41 French in addition to other nationalities.
The Department is implementing the CLPD Programme through the Legal Professional Development Centre located in the Hudaiba Building. The Centre was fitted out with essential equipment to create a technologically sophisticated educational environment to ensure all training and development needs of the legal profession were met. . The Centre encompasses a variety of different sized room suitable for seminars and multi-purpose training uses.. A comprehensive legal library is also on site allowing advocates and legal consultants access to information and legal resources.