How to find the right lawyer in the UAE?

 

Anyone who is looking for a lawyer in the United Arab Emirates for the first time might ask himself a several very important of questions:

– Where to start (which Emirate)?
– Which lawyer do I need in my particular situation (criminal, civil, family, labour)?
– What to look for in a lawyer? (Price, quality, experience, nationality…).

Finding the right lawyer to handle your matter is critical in saving the time and money, as well as achieving a favorable result. It is advised to talk to several different lawyers before choosing the right one. First of all, it is better to look for someone that you feel comfortable with, the same nationality or speaking the same language, who better understands you. You should foresee a long-term relationship that can facilitate your ongoing needs.
Lawyers in the UAE do not necessarily have to be UAE nationals. All lawyers must be licensed to practice law in Federal courts and be under the supervision of an accredited law firm.

The best way to find a good lawyer is to:
– Do a thorough web search. Look online, check lawyer’s websites and forums, look everywhere you can. Attentively read all the testimonials you find from the real people.
– Ask in your Embassy/Consulate to recommend you any trusted local lawyer.
– Ask for references from your friends or colleagues who have had own experience with the certain law firms.
– Get referrals from the UAE courts or local Legal Department personally or through surfing on relevant websites.
– Make research and visit the nearest Law offices in your area.
– Ask the right questions while meeting with every lawyer you visit.

Important Tip:
Once you have chosen a lawyer, ask to sign a legal fees agreement and make sure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to, how you will be billed, and how your retainer will work. You might be paying hourly or a flat fee. Find out what it covers exactly. Don’t be shy to ask questions. Do not hire a lawyer who will not give you a legal fees agreement. This is not negotiable.
Be clear on what you expect, what the lawyer can do for you, and what the lawyer thinks it will cost. Lawyers cannot give exact estimates of the entire trial expenses, but they should be able to give you an idea.

The Law: Working Hours During Ramadan

What is Ramadan Hours?

Office work hours during the Holy month of Ramadan are different, with an average of two hours reduced from the daily job schedule, but there may be exceptions.
Under UAE Federal Labour Law, the working hours of all employees shall be reduced by two hours per day during the Holy month of Ramadan. This means that employees should only work 6 hours per day (as the statutory maximum working hours are 8 hours per day).
Ramadan hours apply to all companies in the UAE proper, whether they are based onshore or in a free zone, as well as in the DIFC.

Is it applicable for non-Muslims also?

UAE Labour Law provides that working hours should be reduced by two hours per day and does not differentiate between fasting and non-fasting employees. Therefore, it is applicable to all employees irrespective of their religion or whether they are fasting or not.

Is it a violation if employees are forced to work extra hours?

The authorities do conduct checks from time to time to ensure that companies are compliant with the Labour Law and employees are working according to Ramadan hours. If a company is found in breach of the Labour Law, the authorities (MOHRE) have the discretion to penalise such company. The penalty is in the discretion of the authorities and may be imposed on a case by case basis.
In addition, an employee who is forced to work extra hours has the right to complain to the MOHRE.

Will the salary be deducted for reduced working hours?

No, there should be no reduction in compensation as a result of a reduction in working hours. Employees should be paid at their normal rates as if they are working normal working hours.

There are different laws that govern employment issues for employees in the UAE proper, including free zones, as they are subject to UAE Federal Law. The same for employees in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), that have own labour law separate from the rest of the UAE.

The UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 “The Labour Law” applies to all employees working in the UAE with a couple of exceptions, such as government employees, household servants etc.
Similarly, the DIFC Employment Law No. 4 of 2005 as amended (DIFC Employment Law) applies to employees working only within the DIFC.