Guidelines for Registration of Practitioners

Academy of Law’s Register of Practitioners

As from 30 June 2015 Part I (firms) and Part II (practitioners) can register on-line in the Academy of Law’s Register of Legal Practitioners:

Please click here

Entry on the Academy of Law’s Register of Legal Practitioners is governed DIFC Courts Order No. 1 of 2016 (in Respect of Rights of Audience and Registration in Part II of the Court’s Register of Practitioners) and DRA Order No. 1 of 2016 (in Respect of Rights of Audience and Registration in Part II of the Academy of Law’s Register of Practitioners), as amended or superseded from time to time. This note is to provide guidance.

DIFC Courts Order No. 1 of 2016 in Respect of Rights of Audience and Registration in Part II of the Courts’ Register of Practitioners

DRA Order No. 1 of 2016 in Respect of Rights of Audience and Registration in Part II of the Academy of Law’s Register of Practitioners

The Register and Rights of Audience

The Academy of Law’s Register of Legal Practitioners (“The Register”) is in two parts:

Part I. Law firms only

Issuing and conducting proceedings involve practical steps which progress a case. Thus, only practitioners who are authorised by their firm (and listed as such under Part I) can issue and conduct proceedings by inter alia (a) signing Statements of Truth; (b) corresponding with the Registry regarding a case or the progression of a case; and (c) corresponding with opposing lawyers.

Secretaries, court clerks and other individuals from a firm registered in Part I, who are not themselves authorised to issue and conduct proceedings in the name of the firm, may transmit documents to the DIFC Courts and that transmission (whether by email or delivering to the Registry) is not to be treated as issuing or conducting proceedings for the purposes of the Register of Legal Practitioners.[1]

Entry in Part I shall be in the name of a firm. The firm shall provide a list of practitioners employed by the firm and who are authorised to issue and conduct proceedings on behalf of the firm. Every lawyer authorised by a firm to issue and conduct proceedings on its behalf may appear before the Registrar or Deputy Registrar for hearings without the need for registration in Part II.

The Dubai Legal Affairs Departments CLPD requirement for all legal consultants registered with both the LAD and the Academy of Law s is to attend the Mandatory training course of the Academy of Law. This applies to legal consultants registered with the Academy of Law in both Part I and Part II. 

Part II. Individuals with rights of audience before the DIFC Courts

Entry in Part II can only be in the name of an individual.  The applicant must provide a declaration as to whether:

  • they have at least five (5) years post-qualification experience immediately preceding the date of application as an Advocate in Courts, Arbitrations or Tribunals; OR
  • they have at least two (2) years post-qualification experience immediately preceding the date of application as an Advocate in Courts, Arbitrations or Tribunals

and attach a schedule of their oral advocacy experience. The schedule should highlight the lawyer’s experiences in oral advocacy and outline the current practice of the practitioners and a lists of (representative) cases and interlocutory motions and descriptions of the of the practitioners involvement in each. The schedule will serve as a basis for the interview.

A practitioner who has at least 2 years’ experience as an Advocate in Courts, Arbitrations or Tribunals may be admitted to Part II to appear and plead before a Judge at hearings on any matter other than a Court of First Instance trial, an appeal to the Court of Appeal, an application for injunction or an application to strike out a claim or a defence (including for want of jurisdiction).
Individuals applying for registration in Part II – the procedure will be as follows:

  • Registration in Part II of the Register will be provisional until the individual concerned appears before a judge.
  • the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or Legal Conduct Officer shall attend the first hearing and either: (i) confirm the applicant’s registration as permanent; or (ii) refuse the registration.
  • should the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or Legal Conduct Officer be minded to refuse registration, they must provide reasons for the refusal in writing.
  • in the event of refusal of registration following the first hearing, the individual concerned may lodge a written and reasoned appeal with the Chief Justice if they are not satisfied with the decision of the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or Legal Conduct Officer.

An individual applying for registration in Part II of the Register should give the Academy of Law not less than 7 days’ notice of their intention to appear before a judge, so that the necessary arrangements can be made to ensure the presence of the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or Legal Conduct Officer. If it is not possible to give sufficient notice, or if no Registrar is available to attend the first hearing, the individual will need to seek permission of the hearing judge to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or Legal Conduct Officer, and the individual’s registration in the Register shall remain provisional until the next hearing, at which the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar or Legal Conduct Officer shall attend and either: (i) confirm the applicant’s registration as permanent; or (ii) refuse the registration.

[1] Registrar’s Direction No. 2 of 2013 Issuing and Conducting Proceedings

The Dubai Legal Affairs Departments CLPD requirement for all legal consultants registered with both the LAD and the Academy of Law is to attend the Mandatory training course of the Academy of Law. This applies to legal consultants registered with the Academy of Law in both Part I and Part II. 

The Mandatory Code of Conduct

All practitioners should abide by the Mandatory Code of Conduct for Legal Practitioners in DIFC Courts

How to Apply

The Part I and Part II registration process is now fully automated. Please click here to make an application.

Supporting documents required for Part I registration:

  • Copy of firm’s Professional License
  • For each lawyer authorised to issue and conduct proceedings on behalf of the firm, please provide the following documents:
    • Copy of their Practising Certificate, or letter of Good Standing from their bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
    • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)
    • Copy of Passport
    • Passport size photo
    • Copy of visa page (for UAE Residents)
    • If the applicant firm is located in an Emirate outside of Dubai, an undertaking letter is required from the firm confirming that:
      • the firm does not carry out any legal consulting or activity or other work in Dubai, as the Company is not permitted to do so under its current license; and
      • The undertaking is being given on the basis that the activity of being registered under “Part 1” and filing cases for the firm’s clients in DIFC Courts does not constitute “carrying on a business in Dubai”.

Supporting documents required for Part II registration:

    • Copy of current Practising Certificate or letter of Good Standing from their bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
    • Copy of Passport
    • Passport size photo
    • Copy of visa page (for UAE Residents)
    • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)
    • Copy of a valid indemnity insurance policy (practitioners outside Dubai)
    • Schedule of oral advocacy experience in either Courts, Arbitration and Tribunals. The schedule should highlight the lawyer’s experiences in oral advocacy and outline the current practice of the practitioners and a lists of (representative) cases and interlocutory motions and descriptions of the of the practitioners involvement in each. The schedule will serve as a basis for the interview.

Renewal

For renewal of registrations please click here to log in to the eRegistry. A username (your full name or email address) and password needs to be entered and then click on ’More’ on the following page.

For Part II renewal, Click on the “My Account” tab
For Part I renewal, Click on the “Administration” tab

Once application for renewal has been submitted successfully, you will receive an email receipt and in the body of that email will be a link to make an e-payment. Payment may also be made by cheque or cash in person at the DRA Offices during the working hours.

Addition or Removal of Lawyer(s) under part I

In order for a practitioner to be added or removed under the firm’s Part I registration “authorised to issue and conduct proceedings on behalf of the firm”, kindly send a letter signed by the managing partner addressed to the Academy of Law by e-mail to registration@draacademy.ae, requesting same.

For additions of Practitioners, the following documents must be provided:

  • Copy of their Practising Certificate, or letter of Good Standing from their bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
  • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of visa page (for UAE Residents)
  • Passport size photo

A firm can add up to seven (7) Lawyers under part I for no additional fees. Any extra addition is USD 100.

There are no fees for removal of practitioners in Part I.

Lapses in Registration

If a part I of Part II practitioner does not renew their application within one (1) months of the expiry date, their registration will be cancelled. The firm or practitioner will need to file a new application for entry in the Academy of Law’s Register of Practitioners along with the applicable registration fee.

Fees for Registration in Part I, II and Renewals

Once the application/renewal forms have been submitted, the user will receive an email confirming that the application/renewal has been received by the Academy of Law and the steps to make payment online with a Visa or MasterCard. Payment may also be made at our offices in cash or cheque made payable to DIFC – DRA Academy.

For the fee schedule please click here