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Afridi & Angell | September 2022

The issue of the Dubai Law No. 4 of 2022 regulating Virtual Assets in Dubai (VA Law) issued in March 2022 created a lot of buzz and further strengthened Dubai’s position as a global hub for digital assets. The VA Law also established the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) which was tasked with creating a legal framework for virtual assets sector ...

Afridi & Angell | August 2022

All entities (free zone limited liability companies and branch offices) registered under the jurisdiction of Dubai Development Authority (DDA) are required to file their most recent audited financial statements along with a summary sheet (to be generated through their AXS portal account) on or before 31 October 2022. Entities are required to make these filings through their respective AXS portal accounts ...

Afridi & Angell | June 2022

By Bashir Ahmed, Saurbh Kothari and Dimple Soni 7 June 2022 Last year we had reported that the Federal Tax Authority (the FTA) has started to impose penalties on entities that have failed to submit their economic substance notifications by the set deadline of 30 June 2020 for the financial period ended on 31 December 2019, and the economic substance reports by the set deadline of 31 December 2020 for the financial period ended on 31 December 2019 ...

Afridi & Angell | March 2022

The new year, 2022, will be the year in which cryptocurrencies gain more legitimacy worldwide through government regulation, oversight and further acceptance. Indeed, in December 2021, the Dubai World Trade Centre announced that it will become a crypto zone and a regulator for cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets - including digital assets, products, operators and exchanges. In September 2021, the country of El Salvador officially recognized Bitcoin as legal tender ...

Afridi & Angell | February 2022

The UAE Ministry of Finance announced on 31 January 2022 the introduction of Corporate Tax (CT) commencing from June 2023. In the latest UAE initiative to diversify government income, UAE CT will build upon the tax infrastructure established following the introduction of a Value Added Tax regime in 2018.   UAE CT is a Federal tax and will therefore apply across all Emirates, with the Federal Tax Authority responsible for administration and compliance of the UAE CT regime ...

Afridi & Angell | February 2022

What is Fintech? The term fintech refers to the technologising of the financial industry. Fintech has become ever more recognized in the past few years, especially amidst COVID-19 in which demand for cashless payments and quick transactions have increased. Fintech exists in our daily lives from online banking to blockchain and to cryptocurrencies ...

Afridi & Angell | January 2022

It is now common knowledge that after January 2, 2022, issuing a cheque that is dishonoured for the lack of funds is no longer going to be a criminal offence in the UAE (for a primer on the changes made to the law, clickHere). But what of ongoing complaints and criminal cases regarding cheques that were dishonoured prior to January 2? Circular No. (9) of 2021, issued by the Dubai Public Prosecution Department on 19 December 2021, helpfully clarifies how such cases are to be handled ...

Afridi & Angell | December 2021

As promised, this is a more detailed discussion of the new Labour Law, which takes effect on 2 February 2022. For an initial snapshot, see myInBrief Dated 21 November 2021. In that earlier inBrief, I discussed what I thought were the most significant departures from previous law, including the new rules on termination of contracts with notice, on end-of-service gratuity, on overtime, and on non-compete clauses. Some of those earlier remarks are further developed below ...

Afridi & Angell | December 2021

This inBrief examines the latest amendments to the Bankruptcy Law (Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2016, as amended) introduced under Federal Decree Law No. 35 of 2021 (the New Law) and their impact on the personal liability of the board of directors and managers of bankrupt companies. The New Law came into effect on 1 November 2021. In contrast with earlier amendments to the Bankruptcy Law (such as Federal Decree Laws No. 23 of 2019 and No ...

Afridi & Angell | November 2021

The long-awaited Labor Law has been published in the Federal Official Gazette and is scheduled to take effect on 2 February 2022. The new Law, Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021, replaces the previous 1980 statute in its entirety. The new statute does not constitute a fundamentally different approach to labor relations in the UAE, but it does introduce important reforms.   I will discuss a few of these in this note and save a lengthier discussion for a future inBrief ...

Afridi & Angell | November 2021

Drawing a cheque which is dishonoured due to insufficient funds will not be a criminal offence after 2 January 2022, when Federal Decree No. 14/2020 (the Decree) comes into effect. Here is a quick primer on the changes that the Decree will introduce.   The highlight of the Decree is the decriminalisation of the act of drawing a cheque which is dishonoured due to insufficient funds ...

Afridi & Angell | November 2021

In a decision issued in July 2021, the Dubai Court of Appeal held that an arbitration clause should be construed narrowly, and emphasized that everything that may be waived or prevents its [i.e., the arbitration clause’s] application must be sought. This judgment, which rejected a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Dubai Courts based on the existence of a purported arbitration agreement, was discussed in our inBrief dated 12 September 2021 ...

Afridi & Angell | September 2021

The Decree, which came into force on 20th September 2021, has abolished the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC) and the DIFC Arbitration Institute (DAI). The Decree has taken the local legal and business community by surprise, and has given rise to legitimate concerns as to its impact on arbitration proceedings presently underway ...

Afridi & Angell | September 2021

Parties in the process of arbitrating disputes, thinking of commencing arbitration, or even thinking of including arbitration provisions in a contract have been given a lot to think about, thanks to the changes introduced by Decree 34 of 2021. It is early days yet, and we need to see how matters develop. With that caveat out of the way, here is a rough guide of what Decree 34 could mean for parties in arbitration in the UAE ...

Afridi & Angell | September 2021

The UAE has seen a significant increase in investments and entrepreneurship over the last decade. The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) reported record growth driven by ‘a robust ecosystem, global partnerships and investment in FinTech and Innovation’. This exceptional growth in investments has acted as a catalyst for the increased usage of Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs) in start-up company financings ...

Afridi & Angell | September 2021

The real estate market in Dubai has been making significant improvements in 2021 after the successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the UAE. March 2021 had the highest number of transactions in 16 months as well as the highest number of secondary/ready properties transacted for foreigners in a single month since June 2015. This boom in sales resulted in record increases (23 per cent annual increase between April to June for luxury villas) ...

Afridi & Angell | July 2021

Since our 4 July inBrief on the UAE permitting 100 per cent foreign ownership for certain activities, there have been some significant developments which we will discuss below. List of Strategic Impact Activities The UAE Cabinet has now issued a list of strategic impact activities and the rules for licensing companies that engage in any of the listed strategic impact activities ...

Afridi & Angell | July 2021

The UAE has introduced new administrative sanctions on all entities that fail to comply with the requirements of Cabinet Decision 58 of 2020 concerning the Regulation of Real Beneficiary Procedures (Decision 58 of 2020). Issued on 23 May 2021, Cabinet Decision 53 of 2021 (Decision 53 of 2021) empowers the Ministry of Economy and the relevant licensing authorities in the UAE to administer various penalties on violators of Decision 58 of 2020 ...

Afridi & Angell | July 2021

As most readers will now know either via the press or through other legal publications, the requirement for a limited liability company (LLC) to have at least 51 per cent UAE national ownership was removed on 30 March 2021 pursuant to Federal Decree-Law 26 of 2020 (Decree Law).   Under the Decree Law, local licensing authorities (i.e ...

Afridi & Angell | June 2021

The Federal Tax Authority (the FTA) has started to impose penalties on businesses that have failed to submit their economic substance notifications by the set deadline of 30 June 2020 for the financial period ended on 31 December 2019, and the economic substance reports by the set deadline of 31 December 2020 for the financial period ended on 31 December 2019 ...

Afridi & Angell | April 2021

The past couple of years have seen significant changes in litigation in the UAE Courts. On 31 March 2021, in what appears to be yet another move to modernize litigation in Dubai, the President of the Dubai Court of First Instance issued Circular No. 2 of 2021 (the Circular). The Circular introduces the concept of a ‘pre-trial conference’ into litigation in the Dubai Courts ...

Afridi & Angell | April 2021

The most recent edition of Federal Register, which appeared earlier this month, announces the removal of the United Arab Emirates from the list maintained by the US Department of Treasury of countries that observe the Arab League Boycott of Israel. This fact will substantially ease compliance burdens for American businesses operating in the UAE, although it does not eliminate the compliance burdens entirely. The United States never supported the Arab League Boycott of Israel ...

Afridi & Angell | April 2021

Lifting of US Sanctions The US Government announced the removal of Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism effective as of Monday 14 December 2020. After 27 years of US sanctions, such step restores sovereign immunity for the Sudanese government in US Courts. It is also a critical step in the process of reintegrating Sudan into the global economy and offering a lifeline of international financial aid to Sudan ...

Afridi & Angell | March 2021

The DIFC Court of First Instance has, for the first time in its history, issued a judgement allowing the examination of witnesses resident in the UAE pursuant to two requests for judicial assistance (Letters Rogatory) from the District Court of the State of Minnesota, USA (the US Court). The judgement, issued by Justice Robert French, clarifies the scope of Rules 30.65, 30.66 and 30.67 of the Rules of the DIFC Courts (the RDC) ...

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