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Tort Law in the United Arab Emirates Essay


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the leading economic hubs in the Middle East. Most of the countries in this region are associated with bureaucratic regulations aimed at controlling business, legal, and employment practices. Despite the complexity of this country’s legal system, its structure and legal principles are easy to understand. In the recent past, new laws and provisions influenced by the changes experienced across the world have emerged in this country.

Such developments have resulted in more liberal regimes, thereby creating the best environment for doing business. A proper understanding of the UAE’s legal system is something that can empower or make it possible for many individuals to achieve their potential. The research paper presented below gives a detailed analysis of tort law in the UAE. The key areas of discussion include the country’s civil law provisions and the major conditions and damages awarded compensation. The paper concludes by examining the applicability of tort law in the aviation sector.

Tort Law in the United Arab Emirates

Modern laws have emerged in such a way that they focus on the changing needs of the targeted citizens. The concept of tort has been applied in different jurisdictions to support the effective and applicability of civil law. Bartsch defines tort “as a civil wrong” (65). Such malpractices usually cause property damage or injure different people. Under civil law, tort is a powerful basis or ground for initiating legal proceedings.

The main objective is to ensure that victims receive appropriate compensations for injuries or damages suffered. The UAE has managed to develop appropriate regulations and guidelines to support the demands of citizens who get injured or have their property damaged. In order to understand the nature of tort law in this country, it is necessary to begin by analyzing the existing civil law provisions.

Civil Law Provisions

Islamic and European legal ideologies have informed most of the provisions and laws embraced in the UAE. The country’s civil law is similar to the ones applied in different countries across Europe, including Germany and France. The introduction of commercial and civil codes within the UAE legal justice system is something that has continued to support the needs of many citizens. The outstanding purpose of the existing civil law in this society is to ensure that emerging disputes are resolved amicably. Those who are injured due to other people’s misbehaviors should receive appropriate and timely compensation (Hage and Akkermans 19).

The emergence of these provisions is something that has been catalyzed by the need to make the UAE a leading tourist destination that provides equal opportunities to all companies and entrepreneurs planning to invest in the country.

According to the UAE’s legal system, civil law requires that a person who has been injured (or has his or her property damaged) should be ready to initiate the targeted lawsuit. Such an individual will file something called a complaint. Whenever the targeted case has a criminal aspect, the government will make the most appropriate decision and provide timely advice. The reason why this is the case is that criminal activities are viewed as offenses against the government. The nature of civil law in this country empowers individuals to file their complaints accordingly and trust that the offender will be prosecuted and provide the relevant compensation.

Since civil law differs significantly from criminal law, a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not) is what the plaintiff requires to prove his or her case (Ulrichsen 29). This makes it possible for the trial judge to arrive at the best verdict and protect the rights of different citizens or investors. In the UAE, civil law has been subdivided further into these several categories: tort, contract, family, and property. The discussion below focuses on this country’s tort law.

UAE Tort Law

The UAE civil law seeks to support the needs of all citizens. The country’s tort law focuses on wrongdoings associated with misbehaviors, omissions, or actions (Ulrichsen 30). Such malpractices can usually result in the loss of life, injury, or property damage. In this country, torturous liabilities will have to fulfill these key elements: a causation, damage, and fault (Bartsch 82). This is also based on the causal factor, such as omission or an act. Tort law in this country is outlined under the Civil Transactions Law, Federal Law No. 5 of 1985. The key articles include 124, 282, 283, and 286-298.

Under these provisions, monetary compensation is taken seriously in order to meet the needs of every injured party or citizen. The three major categories outlined in this country include strict liability, intentional tort, and negligence. Kotecha indicates that intentional tort is any purposeful wrongdoing aimed at causing expected injury, abuse, or harm (58). Some of the common examples under this category include fraud, infliction of emotional stress, false imprisonment, battery, abuse, and invasion of a person’s privacy. Those who want to receive compensation after going through any of these torts should be able to argue his or her case diligently.

UAE tort law indicates that negligence is usually unintentional in nature. There are four critical elements that judges and plaintiffs should put into consideration. The first one is that of duty whereby the defendant is expected to have acted in an ethical, acceptable, or reasonable manner. The second one is called causation. This means that the loss or injury the plaintiff is facing should be as a result of the breach of duty on the defendant’s part. The third one is called breach of duty (Kotecha 82). This means that the defendant failed to act reasonably or responsibly. The final element is that of damages. These might be property or monetary losses. Other damages identified depending on the nature of the case can be identified.

Strict liability, on the other hand, is any tort that occurs without the intent to damage or injure. This is usually applied in cases focusing on hazardous activities or engagements. For example, a company might have produced goods that eventually affect the welfare or health of their consumers (Hage and Akkermans 73). This means that the targeted corporation should have mitigated such adverse effects before they could take place.

Tort Law’s Conditions and Damages Awarded Compensation

The UAE tort law recognizes issues of property, loss of opportunities, reduced profits, and consequential damages. The existing provisions also acknowledge limitation of penalty and liability clauses. With this understanding, there is always a need for defenders to provide appropriate compensations to individuals who have lost their property or have been injured. The explanatory note outlined in the Civil Code recognizes damages.

Several conditions are required for a tort case to stand (Ganotra par. 4). As described above, issues such as causation, duty, breach of duty, and damage are considered before a judge gives an award. Attorneys also consider and monitor such conditions to ensure that appropriate determinations are made.

Another important condition that the involved parties consider is the nature of the case. In the event of an injury, the victim should not have contributed to it by his or her act (Ulrichsen 29). This is the case because the victim’s activities might have aggravated the injury or damage. Under such circumstances, the judge might be required to reduce the compensation amount and rule against the outlined damages (Hage and Akkermans 86). This means that the judge will have to make appropriate considerations in order to arrive at the right ruling.

When the targeted injury or property damage is a responsibility of two or more individuals, they will both be liable and might be required to offer equal or joint compensations. In the event of death, close relatives or spouses should be rewarded accordingly (Ganotra par. 6). This means that such people should be aware of the facts of the case and file it in accordance with the country’s tort law. However, an agreement is needed to ensure that the right third party receives the required payment.

Individuals who sustain injuries or have their property damaged are required to receive appropriate compensations in accordance with the UAE tort law. In the event of a sustained injury, the judge handling the targeted case will consider a number of issues. The first one is that of physical damages (Edwards 73). The issues to consider will include the amount of expenses incurred during hospitalization, moral damages, and emotional feelings. Those who are unable to work following an injury should be able to receive appropriate reimbursements.

There are numerous damages that judges can award compensations in accordance with the UAE tort law. The first one is any form of injury recorded after a civil offense committed by a company or an individual. This is expanded further to include issues such as emotional trauma, physical pain, moral injury, and abuse. There is a unique condition that exists whenever individuals are pursuing compensation for moral injury. Bartsch indicates that compensations for moral injury or related cases are unavailable to third parties (102). However, the existence of an agreement between the litigants and defendants can overturn this requirement.

Any death identifiable in accordance with the country’s tort law should be compensated. Some of the issues to consider when focusing on this area include the nature of the wrongful act or behavior, the role of the victim in the recorded injury, and the individuals who should receive compensation. There is a need for the judge to make relevant considerations in an attempt offer an appropriate ruling. Property damage is an area that litigants and attorneys always take seriously (Edwards 83). Those who are affected should receive appropriate payments in order to pursue their goals. This is the case because damage on private property can result in reduced profits or loss of livelihoods. The wrongdoer should, therefore, be required to compensate for the lost property.

Whenever paying for damages in the UAE, defendants might be compelled to do so in installments or regular amounts. The judge might indicate a minimum deposit that is acceptable to the victims.

Damages will always be estimated in the country’s currency. However, the prevailing conditions can guide the judge to consider other measurements whenever necessary (Edwards 87). The compensation should also be equal to the missed profits or losses provided that there is no criminal connection. Whenever the identified damage is direct, compensation will always be automatic. It will also be payable even if it resulted from an unlawful act or not.

Tort Law and Aviation in the UAE

In the UAE, the issue of tort law has been extended to address the challenges encountered in the aviation industry. It is agreeable that passengers affected by air crashes should receive adequate compensation. This will include individuals who get injured and those who lose their lives. Additionally, property damage is an area that is covered by the UAE tort law. The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is the organization responsible for this country’s aviation sector (Al Nowais par. 7).

This agency supported the passage of the Civil Aviation Regulation Part VI – Chapter 3 to ensure that air crash investigations were conducted diligently to identify who should be responsible for a particular accident or incident. Although the findings might be inadmissible in administrative and judicial proceedings, they guide the sector to impose superior policies and prevent crashes in the future. Nonetheless, stakeholders take the issue of liability seriously whenever focusing on tort law in this country.

The Montreal Convention of 1999 has been put in place to streamline issues of liability when it comes to air crashes and the loss of lives, property, or injuries. The UAE signed this convention in 1999, thereby being able to support the needs of individuals who get injured or lose their lives following an air crash accident or disaster. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the liable party is identified and compelled to provide the relevant compensations.

Under this convention, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are identified as the parties that should provide the relevant payments (Edwards 102). Additionally, an airline company will be liable if the targeted accident was as a result of pilot error or inappropriate maintenance procedures. Manufacturers would also be responsible if a faulty part or system led to a given crash.

According to Article 17 of the above convention, airliners are liable for their acts or omissions resulting in the death or injury of passengers. Damages on property are also taken into consideration whenever pursuing compensations after an air crash. In the event of an accident, the convention ensures that airline operators are liable for substantial or mental damage. In the UAE, several landmark studies have been considered to make appropriate rulings and determinations (Al Nowais par. 6).

For example, the court in Air Transport Associates Inc. v. United States disregarded the use of agreements to address liability issues involving aircraft operators (Al Nowais par. 6). This led to the establishment of better laws to support more victims.

There are several issues that litigants should always analyze carefully. The death of a passenger onboard a plane is an issue that has attracted attention of many scholars and policymakers. Several cases have been considered in an attempt to understand whether compensations are needed and the most appropriate amount. A good example is a 2016 case whereby the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance ruled that an international airline company was not liable for the death of a passenger who had a heart attack (Pearson and Riley 37).

Such a determination encouraged policymakers and attorneys to focus on the importance of implementing evidence-based legal concepts. The ruling made indicated that such a death occurred due to an Act of God (Bartsch 137). This means that better laws might be needed in the future to protect the rights of citizens whose lives might be endangered whenever receiving services from airline corporations.

The Rome Convention of 1952 has been in place to support the rights of third parties whose property or assets are damaged following an event or accident involving a given aircraft. This requirement sets the limits for any form of harm occurring on the ground after a crash. With numerous issues merging in the recent past, the global community has proposed the Ground Damage Convention in an attempt to supersede or modernize the Rome Convention.

Under this new agreement, operators of aircrafts are required to remunerate all casualties on the ground. This is something that involves all aircrafts operating internationally. The convention is a powerful reference point considered in the UAE in an attempt to compensate those who lose property following an air crash (Ulrichsen 62). Experts encourage leaders in this country to continue focusing on emerging international principles in order to meet the needs of more citizens.

The Montreal Convention of 1999 goes further to indicate that passengers whose luggage or cargo is damaged should receive appropriate monetary compensations. The same rule will apply to cargo aircrafts that are involved in accidents. The decision to sign this principle continues to support the needs of many citizens in the country (Pearson and Riley 64). However, numerous challenges usually emerge whenever an accident occurs since there are numerous issues that investigators, litigants, and claimants should put into consideration, including the time and location of the accident, causal factors, liability, and the owner of the carrier.

The UAE Civil Aviation law continues to dictate the operations of registered aircrafts operating in the country, licensing procedures, and maximum carriage requirements. These roles have made it possible for the country to improve the safety of its aviation industry. However, there will be a need to introduce superior rules and laws that resonate with the changing demands of the involved stakeholders (Kotecha 62). The ultimate objective should be to provide adequate support to individuals who get injured or lose their lives following an air crash. Those who have their properties damaged should also receive adequate reimbursements.


The above research paper has presented several examples to explain how tort law is applicable in different areas and situations in the UAE. The purpose of the existing regulations is to ensure that individuals who lose property, get injured, or die are compensated accordingly. The law has been extended to cover aviation liability. The signing of the Montreal Convention of 1999 was a move that streamlined the way victims of air crashes received compensations and payments in this country. In conclusion, there is a need for the UAE to continue examining emerging policies in different jurisdictions in order to ensure that its tort law meets the diverse needs of the greatest number of citizens.

Works Cited

Al Nowais, Shireena. “ The National. 2014. Web.

Bartsch, Ronald I. International Aviation Law: A Practical Guide. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2016.

Edwards, Stanley J. Tort Law. 6th ed., Cengage Learning, 2014.

Ganotra, Smriti. “ Mondaq. 2018. Web.

Hage, Jaap, and Bram Akkermans, editors. Introduction to Law. Springer International Publishing, 2014.

Kotecha, Birju. Q&A Torts. Routledge, 2015.

Pearson, Michael W., and Daniel S. Riley. Foundations of Aviation Law. Ashgate Publishing, 2015.

Ulrichsen, Kristian C. The United Arab Emirates: Power, Politics and Policy-Making. Taylor & Francis, 2017.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Tort Law in the United Arab Emirates." December 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/tort-law-in-the-united-arab-emirates/.


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