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The Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Start-up Ecosystem in the UAE: Recent Developments
Afridi & Angell, September 2019

In the lead up to the Expo 2020, the UAE government has taken a number of measures to promote economic diversification, foster growth, and stimulate the region’s innovation environment. The government’s push to develop the private equity, venture capital, and start-up eco-system is a central component of this agenda...

SCA Issues Guidelines for Financial Institutions on Anti-Money Laundering
Afridi & Angell, August 2019

The past year has been a busy one for AML compliance in the UAE. In October 2018, Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations (AML Law) came into force. It contained features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and brought UAE laws in line with international AML standards...

Proposed New DIFC Data Protection Law
Afridi & Angell, July 2019

The DIFC Authority has proposed the enactment of legislation (the Proposed Law) to replace its current Data Protection Law, DIFC Law 1 of 2007 (as amended) (the Current Law). The Proposed Law is the subject of Consultation Paper 6 of 2019, which is presently posted on the DIFC website for public comments to be provided by 18 August 2019...

Dubai Development Authority - UBO Requirements
Afridi & Angell, July 2019

The Dubai Development Authority (DDA) (previously known as the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) and the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA)) is the regulator of entities licensed to conduct business in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Outsource City, and other clusters regulated by the DDA...

New Economic Substance Regulations in the UAE
Afridi & Angell, July 2019

A previous inBrief dated 30 April 2019 discussed a law recently enacted in the BVI, the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018, which introduced economic substance requirements in the BVI. This article will discuss a similar measure recently promulgated in the UAE...

New UAE Regulatory Policy for the Internet of Things
Afridi & Angell, July 2019

Along with the prediction that the continued growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform our everyday lives and how we do business, we can also anticipate that the increased number of connected devices will bring about additional challenges, including greater security and privacy-related risks...

DIFC Courts Pierce Veil of Incorporation in Employment/Marital Dispute
Afridi & Angell, July 2019

The DIFC Small Claims Tribunal (SCT), a branch of the DIFC Courts, has in a rare (if not first of its kind) judgement, pierced the corporate veil of a DIFC incorporated company to look into its shareholding and key individuals in the case of AS World Group Holding Ltd. Vs Anna Calkins [DIFC SCT 116/2019]. Overview of dispute AS World Group Holding Ltd (Claimant), filed proceedings against Ms...

Keeping up with the Trend: The New DIFC Insolvency Law
Afridi & Angell, June 2019

Introduction The latest in the series of insolvency regime reformations in the Middle East is the new Dubai International Financial Centre insolvency law; DIFC Law 1 of 2019 (the New Law). Subject to article 1(4) of the New Law, the New Law repeals and replaces DIFC Insolvency Law 3 of 2013 (the Old Law). Article 3 of the New Law states that it applies in the jurisdiction of the DIFC, meaning that it applies to all DIFC incorporated entities...

The New DIFC Employment Law: Key Changes
Afridi & Angell, June 2019

On 12 June 2019, the Dubai International Financial Centre (the DIFC) announced the enactment of DIFC Law 2 of 2019 (the New DIFC Employment Law) to replace the existing DIFC Law 4 of 2005 (the Old DIFC Employment Law). The New DIFC Employment Law is to come into force on 28 August 2019 and will directly affect almost 24,000 employees based in the DIFC...

A Closer Look at Payment Orders under the UAE Civil Procedure Law
Afridi & Angell, June 2019

Several significant changes to the UAE Civil Procedure Law (Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 as amended) came into effect in February this year. An overview of these changes, brought about by Regulations promulgated pursuant to Decree by Law No 10 of 2017 and Cabinet Resolution No. 57 of 2018 (the Regulations) can be found in our inBrief of 12 February 2019...

Is Arbitration an Exceptional or Alternative Form of Dispute Resolution?
Afridi & Angell, May 2019

The enactment of the UAE’s first standalone arbitration law (Federal Law No. 6 of 2018; the Arbitration Law) introduced some important changes to arbitration in the UAE, such as recognising the enforceability of interim awards and significantly streamlining the enforcement of arbitral awards. However, the requirements for establishing a valid arbitration agreement (i.e...

Implementation of Passporting Regime for Domestic Funds
Afridi & Angell, May 2019

On 11 March 2019, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) issued a joint press release announcing the enactment of legislation enabling the implementation of a “passporting” scheme to facilitate UAE-wide promotion of domestic funds...

New Regulations Offer Welcome Guidance to Anti-Money Laundering Law
Afridi & Angell, May 2019

UAE Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations (AML Law) came into force at the end of October 2018...

Amendments to Classification Requirements for Engineers and Contractors in Abu Dhabi
Afridi & Angell, May 2019

Background Companies licensed to conduct engineering or contracting activities in Abu Dhabi must be classified by the Contractors and Consultants Classification and Engineers Registration Office at the Abu Dhabi Department of Town Planning and Municipalities. The applicable regulations setting out the classification requirements are not new and date back to 2009, although implementation was delayed until 2014. Subsequent to the 2009 regulations, new regulations were introduced in 2018...

ADGM Grows Up: Issues First Fines
Afridi & Angell, May 2019

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the financial free zone which began operations in 2015, has now come of age. On 14 April 2019 Mr Alexander Guy, Senior Executive Officer and Director at Eshara Capital Limited, had the uncommon honour of becoming the first named person to be fined by ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority. Eshara Capital, in its corporate capacity, was also fined in connection with the same contraventions...

BVI Companies - Economic Substance Law
Afridi & Angell, April 2019

British Virgin Islands (BVI) companies are commonly used in the UAE by investors to hold real estate properties and/or shares in UAE companies. Investors need to be aware of a recently enacted BVI law, the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018 (the Law), which introduces economic substance requirements in the BVI...

Directors' Duties in DIFC
Afridi & Angell, April 2019

Introduction On 12 November 2018, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) introduced a suite of new legislation concerning companies operating in or from the DIFC. This consists of DIFC Law 5 of 2018 (the Companies Law), DIFC Law 7 of 2018, the Companies Regulations and the Operating Regulations...

Health Data Confidentiality on a Rise in the UAE
Afridi & Angell, April 2019

Recent events, including the investigations into Facebook’s handling of its users’ personal data, have highlighted the realization that personal data is, in today’s world, one of the most valuable resources for any business and that businesses not only collect and store their customers’ personal data but also use and even sell it for profit...

Ultimate Beneficial Ownership Regulations
Afridi & Angell, April 2019

The DIFC Authority has issued the Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) Regulations, which took effect on 12 November 2018 (the Regulations). The Regulations require entities currently registered with, or to be registered with, the DIFC Authority to keep and maintain a UBO Register and (if applicable) a Register of Nominee Directors, setting out the details of the UBO and Nominee Directors respectively...

New Tawazun Economic Program Policy Guidelines Issued
Afridi & Angell, April 2019

The UAE has had an offset program for the better part of 30 years. It was originally conceived as an inducement for investment in industrial ventures in the UAE that would contribute to the diversification of the UAE’s economy. This underlying purpose continues today. However, the offset program, as originally devised, looked for development in non-military and non-hydrocarbon sectors...

New Administrative Fines Imposed by the UAE Insurance Authority
Afridi & Angell, March 2019

On 6 January 2019, UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 7 of 2019 Concerning the Administrative Fines Imposed by the Insurance Authority was published in the UAE Official Gazette, which lists a total of 204 items that are considered to be violations by the Insurance Authority and their corresponding penalties...

Merger Clearance Matters
Afridi & Angell, February 2019

Introduction The United Arab Emirates (the UAE) promulgated legislation to specifically address the regulation of competition (being Federal Law 4 of 2012, or the Competition Law) several years ago but until recently, it has been the case that the requisite implementing regulations and processes were not in place. This is no longer the case...

Significant Changes to Civil Procedure Code
Afridi & Angell, February 2019

Introduction Significant changes to Federal Law No 11 of 1992 (the Civil Procedure Code) will soon be coming into effect. These changes are introduced through regulations (the Regulations) issued under the Civil Procedure Code and will come into effect on 16 February 2019. The Regulations were promulgated pursuant to Decree by Law No 10 of 2017. These Regulations will amend the Civil Procedure Code where applicable...

New Long Term Residency Visas
Afridi & Angell, February 2019

What’s happened? After much media coverage, Cabinet Decision 56 of 2018 (the Decision) has been gazetted which introduces new long term residency visas to, amongst others, the following four categories of persons in the UAE:1. investors;2. entrepreneurs;3. individuals with specialised talents and researchers in various fields of science and knowledge; and4. honours students with promising scientific potential...

New Promotion Regime for Domestic Funds
Afridi & Angell, January 2019

In late November 2018, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) announced that they had reached agreement on facilitating the licensing of domestic funds by each authority for promotion across the UAE. This is a potentially significant development...

Federal Penal Code Amendments
Afridi & Angell, December 2018

In the latest development in an eventful year, Federal Decree-Law 24 of 2018 introduces amendments to the Federal Penal Code, originally enacted as Federal Law 3 of 1987. The amendments are designed to make the Penal Code consistent with other recent federal legislation and current federal enforcement policies. Only ten provisions of the statute have been affected, out of the more than 400 total articles contained in the statute...

Confidentiality Under Renewed Focus
Afridi & Angell, December 2018

The UAE federal government has recently issued a raft of important legislation. The raft addresses and updates areas of law that are key to businesses in the jurisdiction. Amongst this legislation is Federal Decree-Law 14 of 2018 concerning the central bank and the organisation of financial institutions and activities (the New Banking Law)...

New Anti-Money Laundering Law
Afridi & Angell, November 2018

The new anti-money laundering (AML) law of the UAE took effect at the end of October 2018. Containing features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the new law introduces subtle but important changes to the AML landscape in the UAE. The new law was enacted as Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018. The previous AML law was Federal Law 4 of 2002, as amended by Federal Law 9 of 2014, and the implementing regulations that were promulgated pursuant to Cabinet Resolution 38 of 2014...

The New Foreign Direct Investment Law - United Arab Emirates
Afridi & Angell, November 2018

News of a new federal law on foreign direct investment in the UAE has many people asking: “Does this mean I can now form a new company with majority foreign ownership?” The answer is the same as previously, “No, not yet”. Companies incorporated in the UAE require a minimum of 51 percent UAE ownership. As an exception to this rule, 100 percent foreign ownership is permitted in free zones. The new law may lead to further exceptions in the future...

Application for an Anti-Suit Injunction: Dismissed
Afridi & Angell, November 2018

In an order dated at the end of 2018, the DIFC Court accepted that a party seeking an anti-suit injunction against proceedings in a foreign court must show that proceeding before the foreign court is or would be “vexatious or oppressive” to that party...

Netting Arrangements in Qualified Financial Contracts Made Enforceable
Afridi & Angell, October 2018

For decades, banks and other counterparties in the UAE have obtained financial services from foreign financial institutions. Industry bodies, such as the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), the International Capital Market Association and the International Securities Lending Association, have developed standard documentation for these kinds of transactions...

New Services by Dubai Rental Disputes Centre
Afridi & Angell, October 2018

Launch of the New Rental Good Conduct Certificate Service On 8 October, the Rental Disputes Centre in Dubai launched the Rental Good Conduct Certificate service. This service is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the world. We set out below what the service will provide and how to access it...

ADGM Announces Tech Start-Up Licensing Regime
Afridi & Angell, October 2018

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (the ADGM) recently announced the launch of a commercial license specifically catered towards tech start-ups that allows entrepreneurs to obtain an operational license in the ADGM and access to a Professional Services Support Program aimed at allowing entrepreneurs entry to a community of businesses, financial services and professional advisors...

Dubai Relaxes Rules on Filing Appeals Before the Court of Cassation
Afridi & Angell, September 2018

Earlier this year, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, issued Decree No. 28 of 2018 concerning the Acceptance of the Civil Petitions before Dubai Courts (the Decree). The Decree was issued by His Highness to address the procedures in filing appeals to the Court of Cassation. The Court of Cassation is the highest court in Dubai. Article No. 173 of Federal Law No...

Qatar Sanctions - New Developments
Afridi & Angell, May 2018

The political dispute between Qatar and its neighbors escalated with the announcement by Qatar that it would impose a ban on goods from the four boycotting countries, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. As we reported earlier, these four countries imposed a trade embargo on Qatar. The measures that were introduced prohibited the direct shipment of goods and the direct transport of passengers to or from Qatar and closed the land border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia...

Cautious Optimism on 100 per cent Foreign Ownership
Afridi & Angell, May 2018

Recent media reports have suggested that 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies in the UAE will now be permitted. The reports are based on a government press release regarding a UAE Federal Cabinet (Cabinet) meeting held on 20 May 2018. The press release states that the Cabinet announced changes in the system of foreign ownership in the UAE allowing global investors to own 100 per cent of companies by the end of the current year...

The UAE Federal Arbitration Law: A First Look
Afridi & Angell, May 2018

The approval of the long awaited Federal Law on Arbitration by the Federal National Council was announced earlier this year...

Legal Reforms in Abu Dhabi
Afridi & Angell, May 2018

Abu Dhabi has introduced new rules governing the functioning of the Emirate’s judiciary. The new rules appear in Abu Dhabi Law 13 of 2018, which amends Abu Dhabi Law 23 of 2006 on the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. The new provisions largely address internal matters related to the functioning of the courts, such as the composition of panels of the courts and the accountability of judges. But two features could be of more general interest...

Blockchain: Hype vs Reality
Afridi & Angell, April 2018

Over the past 1-2 years, a great deal of information concerning the revolutionary technology that is “blockchain” has been published on many business, legal and technology news sources, and innumerable self-proclaimed authorities on the subject have emerged to contribute articles and presentations (ourselves among them)...

The New UAE Pledge Law - Promulgation of Regulations That Make Registration Available
Afridi & Angell, April 2018

UAE Federal Law 20 of 2016 (Regarding the Pledge of Movables as Security for a Debt) (the Pledge Law) introduced a new regime for registering a pledge over moveable assets which are pledged as security for the repayment of a debt. We reported on this law in our inBrief of January 2017, New UAE Pledge Law Over Moveable Assets, and our Legal Alert of 19 February 2018, The New UAE Pledge Law – Security Registration...

Part-time Work
Afridi & Angell, March 2018

Now that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has issued the new regulations addressing part-time employment, let us take a closer look at what this means. The new measure is Ministerial Resolution 31 of 2018. It does not address part-time work as such, but rather part-time work for someone other than the employee’s regular employer. Before this new measure was promulgated, the Labour Law accommodated part-time work for an employee working for only a single employer...

The New UAE Pledge Law - Security Registration
Afridi & Angell, February 2018

UAE Federal Law 20 of 2016 (Regarding the pledge of moveables as a security for debts) (the Pledge Law) introduced a new regime for registering a pledge over moveable assets which are pledged as security for the repayment of a debt. We reported on this law in our inBrief of January 2017, New UAE Pledge Law Over Moveable Assets. The actual registration of pledges was subject to establishment of a security register pursuant to the implementing regulations issued under the Pledge Law...

UAE VAT Designated Zones Defined
Afridi & Angell, January 2018

The UAE Ministry of Finance released Cabinet decision No. 59 specifying all Designated Zones be effective the begining of 2018 for the purposes of implementing the Designated Zone provisions in Federal Decree Law No 8 on Value Added Tax. The Cabinet has the authority to amend the list of Designated Zones as required...

Certificate of Good Conduct Required for all UAE Employment Visas
Afridi & Angell, January 2018

A new requirement will be introduced shortly that will affect all applications for employment visas. At the start of 2018, a Good Conduct and Behavior Certificate must be submitted along with the other supporting documents when an employer seeks to sponsor a residence visa for a new employee who is not a UAE national. It appears that the requirement will apply throughout the UAE, including the nation’s many free zones...

Changes to Law Allowing Developers to Terminate Off-Plan Sales Contracts
Afridi & Angell, December 2017

Earlier this year, Law No. (19) of 2017 was gazzetted which amends the procedures contained in Law No. (13) of 2008 on Interim Property Registration in Dubai. This law stipulates the procedures which developers must follow if a buyer breaches an off-plan sales contract. The new law is an important development in Dubai and will assist developers who are facing a difficult real estate market and increasing buyer default...

Dawn Raids: Do you have a policy in place, and is it fit for purpose?
Afridi & Angell, November 2017

The term “dawn raid” refers to an unanticipated visit to commercial premises by a regulatory authority. Examples of this could include a squad of policemen entering a warehouse, a team from a financial-services regulator checking trading records at a bank, or an official from the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation entering your office to check the work permits of all employees present there (an increasingly common practice)...

UAE VAT Executive Regulation Update: Free Zone Guidance
Afridi & Angell, November 2017

The UAE Ministry of Finance has announced the Executive Regulation for the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax (UAE VAT Legislation) at a Cabinet meeting on 7 November 2017, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai. It is expected that the Executive Regulation to UAE VAT Legislation will be released this week in draft form on both the UAE Ministry of Finance’s website (www.mof.gov...

The Right to be Forgotten
Afridi & Angell, October 2017

Afridi & Angell has recently successfully assisted two individuals in becoming forgotten. Put another way, we were able to convince the Dubai Financial Services Authority (the DFSA) that the names of the individuals should be removed from public documents available on the DFSA website. These included published regulatory actions (in the form of enforceable undertakings) and DFSA media releases...

VAT registration in the UAE has commenced
Afridi & Angell, October 2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has commenced accepting registrations for Value Added Tax (VAT) through its online portal...

Opportunities in Dubai's Healthcare Sector
Afridi & Angell, October 2017

Dubai is the fastest growing healthcare market within the GCC and is becoming an increasingly attractive sector for investors. In this inBrief article we explain the key drivers behind this growth and set out the options available to investors wishing to enter the Dubai healthcare market...

 

 

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