Abu Dhabi Global Market, the new financial free zone, has signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi judicial authorities to enable cooperation between the two legal jurisdictions.
The deal, in the form of a memorandum of understanding, is an important step forwards for ADGM as it seeks to lure big global financial institutions to the free zone, reassuring potential members of ADGM that they will operate in a familiar and high-standard legal structure.
ADGM said that the agreement was designed to “establish a framework to enable facilitation of the judicial cooperation procedures by both parties, specifically with respect to the procedures of reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, decisions, orders and arbitration awards, exchange of information, electronic services, education and communication”.
ADGM, under the free zone’s chairman, Ahmed Al Sayegh, has made rapid progress on building an English-language common law system in the new free zone.
ADGM was declared open for business last year and recently admitted its first financial members.
Youssef Saeed Al Abri, the undersecretary at the emirate’s Judicial Department, said: “The coordination and cooperation among the various authorities in Abu Dhabi will serve to raise the level of performance to the highest international standards.
“All these will help Abu Dhabi achieve its objectives as one of the top five capitals in the world.”
“This is a very significant event, which I warmly welcome as ADGM courts develop their full potential as a worldwide judicial system,” said David Hope, ADGM’s chief justice.
Legal experts welcomed the move. Stephen Forster, the head of Al Tamimi & Co’s Abu Dhabi office, said: “This provides a bridge between two very different legal traditions, namely Abu Dhabi’s civil law court system and the ADGM courts, which are modelled on the English common law judicial system.
“It is good to see that the Abu Dhabi judicial authorities appear to be keen to assist the ADGM courts in quickly gaining credibility when they begin hearing cases by addressing the key question of the enforceability of ADGM court judgments by the Abu Dhabi courts,” he said.
Rebecca Kelly, the litigation partner at the global law firm Morgan Lewis in Dubai, said: “This confirms to both the international and local legal community the commitment the ADGM courts and the Judicial Department has to ensure justice for all their respective court users. Cooperation between courts is a concept recognised around the world and this is a very good start to the ongoing development and international recognition of the ADGM courts and the Abu Dhabi courts.”
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