116 THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UAE LEGAL SYSTEM AND UNIFICATION WITH THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM* Butti Sultan Butti Ali Al-Muhairi** THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UAE LEGAL SYSTEM The understanding of any legal system largely depends on an awareness of its historical background and inspiration; this is particularly true concerning the legal system of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As we shall see, early moves towards modern systems of government and Westernisation of laws brought into focus the conflict between Western laws and the traditional Shari'a. This conflict occurred in the areas of jurisdiction, procedures and substantive laws and it still haunts the federal legal system of the UAE today. The development of the Emirates' legal and judicial systems went through two distinct stages before the existence of the current legal system: (1) There was the tribal system and its customary rules and norms which, hand in hand with Islamic Sharia, fashioned the law and judicial practice; (2) There occurred the process of transforming the traditional system into a modem one. To a considerable extent, however, this transforming process was used to demonstrate the independence of an individual Emirate from its neighbours as well as to effect the change away
Arab Law Quarterly – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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