ABU DHABI // More than a third of cases referred to federal courts in the past six years were resolved before making it to the courtroom, a senior judge told a conference on conflict resolution yesterday. Judge Obeid Mohammad Ibrahim, a senior judicial inspector at the Ministry of Justice, said dispute resolution had been part of the UAE's judicial process since 1999, when Sheikh Zayed, the late founder of the nation, decreed that mediation between disputing parties was required before cases were referred to court.
Within three months of the decree, dispute-resolution departments were operating at all civil, commercial and Shariah courts. "In the event that no reconciliation is achieved, then the case goes before a court," Judge Ibrahim said. "In the past six years, resolutions were found in 18,315 cases, 36.5 per cent of all cases brought before the courts. Dispute resolution reduces the stress on the court, improving the quality of service for cases that can only be resolved by a judge's decision."
The Minister of Justice, Dr Hadef bin Jua'an al Dhaheri, said the two-day conference at the Armed Forces Officers Club would examine reconciliatory justice and alternatives for dispute settlement. "We seek to implement the best practices worldwide," he said, "but in accordance with the requirements and conditions of UAE society. This is part of a strategic plan aimed at reviewing the country's legal arsenal."