Navigating Change: Mahmood Hussain on UAE’s Legal Horizon

With Amr Reda

Unlocking the Insights: A Conversation with Dr. Mahmood Hussain, Founding Partner of M&CO Legal, exploring the visionary initiatives driving the UAE’s legal landscape, its strategic alignment with national development plans, and the dynamic support it provides to diverse industries, from digital economy to innovative sectors attracting foreign investment

Delve into the profound expertise of Dr. Mahmood Hussain as he shares valuable insights on the United Arab Emirates’ legal system and its pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economic sectors. In this exclusive interview with LegalcommunityMENA.

Can you explain the United Arab Emirates’ vision and how it has influenced the country’s legal system?

UAE has a great vision and as a proud UAE National, I would attribute its credit to our profound and visionary leaders. Building upon the foundation of ‘UAE Vision 2021,’ ‘We the UAE 2031’ is a strategic initiative designed to further propel the nation’s progress in key sectors, including healthcare, education, tourism, sustainability, and infrastructure. ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision represents a national plan through which the UAE will continue its development path for the next 10 years. The vision seeks to enhance the position of the UAE as a global partner and an attractive and influential economic hub. The legal experts in the UAE express notable enthusiasm for this initiative; as the legal framework has been tailored to bolster the UAE’s global competitiveness while aligning with the national vision. This involves initiatives aimed at optimizing business procedures, reinforcing the rule of law, and establishing a transparent and efficient legal structure. Furthermore, the legal system in the UAE has been modified to align with the goal of economic diversification. The government has implemented a range of legal measures to incentivize foreign investment, streamline business operations, and foster growth across sectors. Thus, proactive legislation about all relevant areas of business, digitization of legal proceedings, timely revision of laws, several judiciary reforms, etc. are examples of how the UAE’s Vision is influencing the country’s legal system.

How has the UAE’s legal and regulatory framework developed to encourage significant local and international enterprise?

The UAE’s legal and regulatory framework is very robust and constantly evolving to adapt to meet the evolving needs of business demands, locally and internationally. Over the years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has implemented strategic measures to cultivate a legal and regulatory framework that fosters substantial local and international enterprise. These initiatives aim to create a business-friendly environment, attract foreign investment, and promote economic diversification. Some of the initiatives are as follows: The UAE has established numerous free zones, some including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), each with its own legal and regulatory framework. These free zones are appealing to foreign companies because they provide many benefits, such as easier business creation procedures, tax advantages, and 100% foreign ownership. The United Arab Emirates has liberalized and opened up several sectors to international investment through the establishment of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) laws. By allowing more foreign ownership in particular industries, these rules aim to simplify corporate procedures and draw in foreign businesses. The UAE’s Commercial Companies Law has been updated to better accommodate enterprises’ needs for flexibility. The revisions permit corporations to introduce diverse categories of shares, employ modern corporate governance methodologies, and simplify merger and acquisition procedures. The UAE has established international arbitration centers, such as the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) and the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center (ADCCAC). These centers offer a dependable and efficient mechanism for resolving commercial disputes, contributing to the overall credibility of the UAE’s legal system. The UAE and its legal and regulatory system are extremely agile; quickly reacting to changing business needs. This affirms the nation’s reputation as a most conducive global business hub. Take any new business trend globally and you can see that UAE is already in action regarding applicable legal and regulatory updates. The most notable example is the UAE’s proactive action in Metaverse and Digital Laws etc.

Can you discuss the UAE’s efforts to incentivize new economic sectors in the knowledge and digital economy?

The UAE has introduced sweeping reforms to drive greater social, legal, and economic liberalization to incentivize new economic sectors in the knowledge and digital economy. Some efforts include as below: To make Dubai a smart city, Dubai started the Smart Dubai project. Furthermore, in Abu Dhabi, Hub71, a worldwide digital ecosystem offers assistance to new and developing technology businesses. UAE Centennial 2071 and We the UAE 2031: The UAE’s goal to become a knowledge-based economy is outlined in these national development plans. To promote sustainability and economic progress. To establish itself as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2031, the United Arab Emirates unveiled a national AI strategy. Together, these initiatives show how committed the UAE is to developing a strong knowledge and digital economy. The nation hopes to draw in investments, foster innovation, and establish an atmosphere that will promote the expansion of these game-changing industries by offering a legislative and legal framework that is supportive.

What are the promising foreign investment sectors in the UAE?

Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Space Industry, Agri-tech and e-commerce, Innovative Education, Fintech (blockchain, cloud computing, and big data), Health sector, Renewable and Clean Energy Sector etc.

How does the UAE’s legal system support these sectors?

As mentioned earlier, the UAE’s legal and regulatory framework is very robust and constantly evolving to adapt to and meet the growing needs of numerous business sectors. UAE’s legal system is most responsive and quickly supports the changing business needs. It is just that all arms of the UAE government work like an orchestra to fine-tune our status as the most preferred business hub globally. My hearty salute to our inspiring esteemed leadership.

About Dr. Mahmood Hussain

A distinguished legal professional and thought leader. Renowned for his expertise in international arbitration and mediation, Dr. Hussain holds the esteemed position of Chairperson of the steering committee of the ICC UAE Commission on Arbitration & ADR for the term 2023-2025. As a seasoned International Arbitrator and Mediator, he brings a wealth of experience, contributing significantly to the resolution of complex legal disputes.