Abu Dhabi on Wednesday announced the launch of a dedicated English-language Notary Services Office, which has been heralded as a first for the region.
The new office was formed following a resolution from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, in his capacity as head of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.
The centre aims to open up access to keyservices – such as documentation and certification procedures – for non-Arabic speakers and enhance the emirate's status as a leading global destination to do business.
Yousef Al Abri, undersecretary of the judicial department, hailed the move as a “pioneering step towards simplifying legal documentation procedures”, state news agency Wam reported.
He said it will remove language barriers facing non-native speakers for services such as authenticating company contracts, finalising boards of directors decisions, power of attorney decisions and legal declarations made in English, and will help to attract further foreign investments.
The office aims to reflect the capital's multicultural society and support economic development, in line with Abu Dhabi's efforts to ensure the country's legal services are open to all.
In December 2021, a family court for non-Muslims opened in Abu Dhabi as part of efforts to advance the judicial system.
The court hears all cases related to marriage, custody, divorce, paternity, inheritance and personal status.
Sessions are held in Arabic and English to ensure foreigners understand them and to improve judicial transparency.
Legal procedures based on Abu Dhabi’s civil family court system were brought into force across the UAE in February.
In November 2018, Abu Dhabi announced it would require plaintiffs in civil and commercial cases involving non-Arabic-speaking defendants to translate case files into English.
Previously, all court documents were presented in Arabic only and defendants had to translate them to learn the details of cases against them, a potentially expensive process.