Commercial Contracts UAE: Navigating Law and Dynamic Legal Transactions in Dubai and Beyond

Eslam Mobarak
Published 3 weeks ago on 24 June, 2024-128 views
Commercial Contracts UAE and Agency Regulations and Contract Management Laws

Commercial Contracts UAE In today’s changing business world, negotiating and drafting commercial contracts in the UAE is critical to guaranteeing seamless transactions and protecting the interests of all parties involved. This article provides useful information and practical advice for managing commercial contracts in the UAE. Drawing on considerable experience and business and commercial agent legal skills, we will investigate effective techniques for empowering professionals during contract negotiations and drafting. By delving into the subtleties of commercial business contracts in the Emirates UAE, this essay aims to provide readers with the knowledge they need to successfully navigate this landscape.

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Commercial Contracts UAE

To properly negotiate and design commercial contracts in the UAE, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the legal landscape. Familiarize yourself with the UAE Civil Code, Commercial Transactions Law, and other contract-related legislation. Seek legal assistance from skilled individuals who are familiar with UAE regulations to ensure compliance and reduce risks. To successfully negotiate and design commercial contracts in the UAE, you must have a thorough awareness of local laws, clients, and business practices.

By incorporating these strategies into your approach, you will be able to negotiate the difficulties of contract negotiation while also demonstrating your experience as a trustworthy legal consultant. Remember that each contract represents an opportunity to establish solid and long-lasting commercial partnerships. Focus on clarity, fairness, and compliance, and you will establish yourself as a valued thought leader and influencer in the UAE’s dynamic business landscape.

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Key Aspects of UAE Commercial Contract Law

Key Factors of UAE Commercial Contract Law
Key Factors of UAE Commercial Contract Law

The significance of an accurate and valid contract cannot be overstated in economic transactions between parties. Contracts are widely regarded as lengthy and complex legal documents. However, contracts might be brief, basic written papers, or even informal agreements. A binding contract requires a clear offer from one party and a clear acceptance by the other side. While silence is unlikely to imply acceptance of an offer in most cases, it is crucial to note that earlier dealings and transactions between the contracting parties can frequently result in the formation of a legitimate contract. Contracts should include the following:

  • Who are the involved parties?
  • What is the contract’s subject matter?
  • What are the parties’ obligations?
  • When must the commitments be fulfilled?
  • What amount will be paid?
  • How and when will the contract end?
  • What happens if one party defaults?

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How to Sign Commercial Contracts UAE

How to Sign Commercial Contracts UAE
How to Sign Commercial Contracts UAE

Any person can sign a contract unless that capacity has been formally removed from them or is limited by another provision of UAE legislation. A party to a contract may delegate signing authority to a third party via a Power of Attorney. When entering into a contract on behalf of another party:

  • The power of attorney must clearly state that they are acting on their behalf.
  • Only act within their delegated authority.

Failure to implement these two rules may result in the contract being void and unenforceable. Companies, like individuals, can sign contracts; however, it is important to review the company’s constitutional documents to check that the company is legally able to engage in the contract and that the person signing on behalf of the company is authorized to do so.

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Understanding of Commercial Contract UAE

When the meaning of a contract is determined and the text is unambiguous, UAE commercial law will uphold that interpretation. However, if the contract’s wording is ambiguous, UAE law recognizes that the parties’ intention (where possible) is a valuable instrument for incorrectly interpreting the meaning and purpose of the contract. “Good faith” is undoubtedly one of the most significant ideas in UAE contract law, and both parties must adhere to this principle during the pre-contract stage, discussions, contract performance, termination, and even after the contract has expired. The law compels both parties to treat each other fairly at all times while carrying out their contractual obligations.

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Terminating a Commercial Contract in UAE

There are implications for one party terminating discussions unilaterally. If the basic parts of a contract are sufficiently well stated, it is presumed to have been entered into, and remedies for breach are available. If this is not the case, there are no applicable remedies. Regarding the potential influence on third-party rights, under UAE law, a contract may not impose an obligation on a third party but may create a right.

Furthermore, it is permissible for a person to impose the condition that rights be used for the advantage of a third party. Such a condition grants the third party a direct right against the undertaker for the execution thereof. Under UAE law, contracts can be terminated in one of the following ways:

  • The parties specifically agreed to termination terms in the contract.
  • By mutual permission of the parties, provided that the value or object of the contract is returnable and has not altered significantly.
  • Per court order. This occurs when one party fails to fulfill its responsibilities under the contract and the other party decides to cancel it.
  • By operation of law. Depending on the circumstances, a contract may be terminated under UAE law if a force majeure event happens that makes performance impossible.

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Considerations in UAE Commercial Contracts Law

Considerations in UAE Commercial Contracts Law
Considerations in UAE Commercial Contracts Law

Consider consideration to be the essential component of a contract; it is the driving force behind the entire structure. To clinch the sale, it all depends on what each party offers to the table. And, you know, sometimes it’s less about the money and more about the other things you promise to do or provide. And some contracts are contingent on certain circumstances occurring. To avoid legal entanglements, all information must be out, especially when it comes to business contract legislation in the UAE. Contracts and promises in the UAE are governed by contract law, a collection of legislation. Consider it the cornerstone of all the obligations and rights that individuals have under their contracts.

Furthermore, the Commercial Code governs all company contracts, contracts involving land or ships are subject to extra requirements, which are outlined in different statutes. In practice, the Islamic-inspired Civil Code specifies the basic elements of a contract and defines what constitutes a binding agreement. As a result, for a contract to be recognized as legitimate under this code, both parties must agree on the key elements, such as what is promised and why it is valid.

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VAT Considerations for Commercial Contracts UAE

The tax-free status of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is world-renowned and a major lure for international firms and foreign individuals, both of which are critical to the region’s economy. Personal income is primarily tax-free, while corporation tax is virtually non-existent, with a few exceptions, such as corporate taxation on oil industry revenues and international bank branches in the UAE. Given the region’s proven oil reserves, which are among the world’s greatest, it’s logical that such a low amount of taxation is possible.

However, the market price and demand for this finite resource are inextricably connected to global economic growth. The steep drop in oil prices in 2009 was caused by the global crisis at the time, and while OPEC may be able to control prices to some extent, this is impossible in practice, as prices have dropped by more than 60% since the middle of 2014. To combat this instability, economic diversification is critical, and the UAE leads the way with its tourism, financial services, and manufacturing industries.

The changing landscape has made it impossible for GCC governments to pay budget deficits with (oil) cash reserves in the long run, and valuable government services and infrastructure projects must be funded. While indirect taxation exists, such as municipal housing costs and tourist and motoring fees, direct taxation is being examined, and the GCC Supreme Council has decided that all GCC countries will impose a VAT on or between January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019.

The legal framework is planned to be in circulation in June 2016, although the Minister of State for Financial Affairs has already indicated that the UAE will adopt a consumption tax (VAT) on January 1, 2018. Other GCC countries are expected to implement this in the following year. Worldwide VAT rates range from 0% to over 25%, and the UAE has stated that it will levy a low 5% on products and services at the point of sale, which is estimated to raise approximately AED 12 billion in the first year.

A low consumption tax appears to have little impact on the “tax-free” environment and is less of a barrier to investment in the region than imposing direct corporate or income tax. However, VAT is widely regarded as a regressive tax, affecting those on lower salaries in relative terms while affecting those on higher salaries in absolute numbers. This can be handled through government-targeted welfare spending and exempting some goods from VAT, as looks to be the case in the UAE, where certain food items, healthcare, and education are expected to be declared exempt for VAT reasons. In a positive light, a consumption tax may reduce consumption and, hence, our carbon footprint, thereby promoting sustainable development.

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Breach of Contract in the UAE Civil Code

Breach of Contract in the UAE Civil Code
Breach of Contract in the UAE Civil Code

In the United Arab Emirates, failing to fulfill one’s duties is commonly referred to as a breach of contract. It occurs when one party violates the terms of the contract by failing to fulfill them as promised. Unfortunately, contract breaches and failures to meet expectations are becoming more widespread. Our corporate attorneys routinely witness this, especially given the recent unpredictability surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The UAE government has put in place some rather robust legislation and regulations to deal with contract violations. These regulations allow those who did not breach the contract to take legal action to reduce their losses. At the same time, they allow those who broke it to explain themselves. So, everyone’s interests are protected.

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New Commercial Transactions Law and UAE Contractual Legal Landscape

On December 15, 2022, the Government of the United Arab Emirates issued Federal Law No. 3 of 2022 regulating commercial agencies (“New Agency Law”), which replaced the current commercial agency law at the time of publication, Federal Law 18 of 1981 (“Old Law”), after 41 years of operation. The New Commercial Agencies Law takes effect six months after its issuance, on June 15, 2023. It makes major changes to the commercial agency framework under the Old Law. It takes a seemingly more equal approach to the principal and its agent. The actual application of the legislation will decide how the new modifications affect foreign principals’ rights and alternatives.

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Understanding UAE Legal Landscape

To properly negotiate and design commercial contracts in the UAE, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the legal landscape. Familiarize yourself with the UAE Civil Code, Commercial Transactions Law, and other contract-related legislation. Seek legal assistance from skilled individuals who are familiar with UAE regulations to ensure compliance and reduce risks.

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Tailoring Commercial Contracts to Local Culture & Customs

The UAE is a varied country with a rich cultural history. When negotiating and creating contracts, it is critical to consider local clients, practices, and sensitivities. Incorporate cultural elements into your contracts to improve mutual understanding and smoother commercial partnerships. Respecting local standards might help you gain credibility as a trustworthy and courteous business partner.

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Consideration of UAE Islamic Contracts

Given the prevalence of Islamic law in the UAE, it is critical to be aware of and consider Islamic contracts where appropriate. Familiarize yourself with Islamic contract structures and legal ramifications. This knowledge will allow you to alter your negotiation and writing techniques to match Islamic beliefs as needed, as well as demonstrate your experience in meeting the needs of a wide range of clients.

The UAE Ministry of Economy’s media briefing on the Updated CTL stated that one of the legislation’s goals was to strengthen the country’s position as a market leader in Islamic finance. This initiative is represented in Part 6 of the updated CTL, which governs commercial transactions and contracts involving Islamic financial institutions. Article 468(2) of the Updated CTL defines an “Islamic financial institution” as any institution whose articles or memorandum of association state that it conducts its business activities following Islamic Shari’ah norms. This is thought to include both Islamic subsidiaries and Islamic bank windows within conventional banks.

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Updated CTL Legislative Guarantees in the UAE

The updated CTL is a significant legislative achievement in the UAE, and it is part of a larger set of changes aimed at ensuring that the UAE maintains its place as a leading market for Islamic finance by providing a legal infrastructure that supports enterprises and stimulates investment. As previously stated, a number of the modifications are significant in the context of financing transactions, and it will be fascinating to see how market practice and transaction documentation evolve to include the new elements of the updated CTL.

The modified wording in Article 69(2) of the modified CTL specifies that, in addition to several guarantors sharing joint accountability for the repayment of the applicable debt obligation, the debtor is likewise jointly liable with those guarantors. This modification is intended to clarify that the principle of co-extensive liability applies to commercial guarantees, which means that a guarantor’s liability is contingent on the existence and legality of the principal debtor’s liabilities. This is comparable to the position for civil transactions outlined in Article 1080 of Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 governing civil transactions (as amended, the “Civil Code”).

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Specificity and Clarity

Ambiguity in contractual terminology might result in misunderstandings and disagreements. When negotiating and developing contracts, make sure the language is clear and detailed. Clearly explain each party’s rights, obligations, and expectations. Ensure that the terms are explicit, with no space for interpretation. Use succinct and jargon-free language to improve comprehension and avoid confusion.

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Balancing Risk Distribution

Commercial contracts should aim to balance the sharing of risks among the parties. Identify and apportion potential transaction risks based on the respective bargaining positions and nature of the commercial relationship. This strategy encourages justice and fosters confidence between partners, allowing for long-term collaborations.

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Legal Due Diligence & Compliance

Compliance with local and international rules and regulations is critical during contract negotiation and writing. Conduct rigorous legal due diligence to ensure that all contractual provisions comply with legal standards. Stay up-to-date on changing regulatory frameworks and industry-specific recommendations to avoid legal hazards.

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Dispute Solution Mechanisms

Include clear and effective dispute resolution methods in your contracts to avoid future issues. Consider alternate dispute resolution options like arbitration or mediation, which are widely used in the UAE. These techniques can enable faster and more cost-effective remedies than traditional litigation while protecting secrecy.

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What types of construction contracts are used in the UAE?

Construction contracts in the United Arab Emirates can be design-and-build, but they are most commonly standard procure-and-build contracts based on the Federation International des Ingenieurs Conseils (FIDIC) Conditions of Contract for Construction (Red Book).

What is considered a commercial contract?

Commercial contracts are agreements that govern business relationships between persons or corporations, in which they agree to do some actions or refrain from others.

What are the types of labor contracts in the UAE?

According to UAE labor legislation No. 8 of 1980, there are two main forms of work contracts: limited and unlimited. Both types have unique characteristics that must be understood at the outset.

What are the requirements for a contract in the UAE?

Article 129 of the Civil Code defines three key components of a legal contract under UAE law: agreement on the contract’s essential elements (offer, acceptance, intention to create legal relations, and consideration); certainty of the contract’s subject matter; and the contract’s lawfulness.


Commercial Contracts UAE provide a crucial framework for businesses navigating the legal landscape of the United Arab Emirates. Understanding contract templates, the new Commercial Transactions Law, and the UAE Civil Code are essential for forming binding contracts and joint venture agreements. Law firms specializing in these areas offer invaluable expertise, ensuring compliance and facilitating smooth transactions. Mastery of these legal intricacies empowers businesses to thrive in the dynamic markets of Dubai and beyond, securing their ventures within the robust legal structure of the UAE.

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