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United Arab Emirates Table of Contents

United Arab Emirates

The Judiciary

Article 94 of the provisional constitution guarantees the independence of the judicial branch under the Supreme Court of the Union. This body consists of a president and up to five judges appointed by the UAE president, following approval by the SCU. The Supreme Court is vested with the power of judicial review and original jurisdiction over federal-amirate and interamirate disputes. It also is empowered to try cases of official misconduct involving cabinet and other senior federal officials.

The provisional constitution also provides for the establishment of union courts of first instance to adjudicate civil, commercial, criminal, and administrative cases. Judgments of these courts can be appealed to the Supreme Court. Local courts in each of the seven amirates have jurisdiction over matters that the provisional constitution does not specifically reserve to the union courts.

The provisional constitution designates the sharia (Islamic law) as the basis of all legislation. Three of the four legal schools of Sunni Islam have adherents in the UAE. Most citizens follow the Maliki legal school, but a minority follow the Hanbali and Shafii schools. The Twelver Imam (see Glossary) legal school of Shia Muslims also has adherents in the federation.

Data as of January 1993