In the Emirate of Dubai, a Special Tribunal has been established to determine appeals on disputes arising from the sale of inherited residential property by an heir to an inheritance. The Special Tribunal was established by the Resolution of the Ruler of the Emirate, Resolution No. 8 of 2021.

The Decree No. 23 of 2020[1] Regulating the Sale by Heirs of Residential Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai states as follows;

“A Tribunal will be formed by a resolution of the Ruler comprising experts and specialists in the legal, financial, and real property fields. The Tribunal will consider all applications, claims, or disputes that arise among heirs regarding the decisions issued or actions taken by the Dubai Land Department or the MBRHE”.

According to Article 8 of the Decree, the Ruler of Dubai has formed the Special Tribunal by Resolution No. 8 of 2021 to resolve all disputes on inherited residential property in the Emirate of Dubai.

An appeal to the Special Tribunal on inherited property dispute shall be filed within ten (10) working days from the date on which an aggrieved heir becomes aware of the contested decision or action of the Dubai Land Department or Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (MBRHE)

In this write-up, we shall be discussing the Special Tribunal’s power and jurisdiction to sit on disputes arising from the sale of inherited residential property.

Composition of the Tribunal to sit on appeals arising from inherited property disputes

According to the Resolution[2], the Tribunal will comprise a chairman, and members experienced and specialized in legal, financial, and real property. The Chairman and other tribunal members will be appointed by a Resolution of the Chairman of the Judicial Council.

Jurisdiction of the Tribunal to sit on appeal arising from inherited property disputes

The Tribunal will have exclusive jurisdiction to do the following;

  • Consider and determine the applications, claims, and disputes arising among heirs as a result of the sale of inherited residential real property;
  • Consider and determine the appeals filed against the decisions or the actions taken by the Dubai Land Department or the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment[3];
  • Sell inherited residential real property by auction where partitioning is not possible or where the partitioning would result in any prejudice or it will significantly decrease in the value of the inherited residential real property;
  • Deposit sale proceeds of the inherited residential real property into the Dubai Land Department account to enable the Dubai Land Department to share it among the heirs based on their respective stake in the residential real property; and
  • Consider at its discretion and as it deems appropriate other civil disputes among heirs regarding residential real property and resolves such disputes among them.

The Tribunal, when exercising its exclusive jurisdiction on inherited property disputes, must adhere to the provisions of the Decree and the relevant procedures, time frames, rules, and conditions prescribed by the Tribunal.

Under the Decree, the Tribunal will approve the regulatory procedures, rules, and principles that will guide its proceedings when considering and determining the claims, disputes, and applications that fall within its jurisdiction.

Exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal on inheritance property disputes

Under the provisions of Resolution No. 8 of 2021[4] all courts and Judicial Authorities, including the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts and other special tribunals, are not to entertain any applications, claims, or appeals that fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal and are before the Tribunal after the effective date of the Decree.

The Courts and Judicial Authorities in Dubai are mandated to cease proceedings on applications, claims, or appeals filed before them before the establishment of the Tribunal that fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal. Instead, they are mandated to send such applications, claims, or appeals to the Dubai Land Department. The Dubai Land Department will then present them to the Tribunal to deliver the relevant orders and judgments in respect thereof.

Furthermore, Courts and Judicial Authorities in the Emirate of Dubai must discontinue any execution of delivered judgments, or any partially executed judgment, on matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. The execution departments must stop executing these judgments/decisions and refer the judgment to the Dubai Land Department, which presents them to the Tribunal to determine the execution procedure.

From the above, the Tribunal in the Emirate has the jurisdiction to adjudicate over the sale of inherited residential real property excluding any other court.

Under its exclusive jurisdiction to sell inherited residential real property, the Tribunal shall observe the rules and procedures stipulated in Federal Law No. (11) of 1992 and its Regulatory By-law. The Tribunal shall ensure that none of the heirs to the inheritance, especially the elderly, minors, unmarried, divorced, widowed female, or persons with disabilities, suffers any harm due to the sale. The Tribunal shall also conduct a study on the case being considered, according to the Decree provisions.[5] It will seem like the Tribunal is also saddled with the same responsibilities as that of the Dubai Land Department under Decree No. 23 of 2020[6] .(link to my article………

Powers of the Tribunal when resolving disputes on sale of property of an inheritance

According to the Resolution, the Tribunal will exercise its powers pursuant to the legislation in force in the Emirate, the provisions of Islamic Sharia, custom that does not contradict the legislation in force, public order, or public morals, and the principles of natural justice, truth, and fairness.[7]

Tribunal shall have the powers[8] to;

  • restrict the auction for the sale of inherited residential real property to the heirs.
  • consider and determine ordinary and summary applications;
  • issue interim and summary orders and decisions.
  • offer mediation and reconciliation among heirs to disputes;
  • seek help from experts and specialists as it deems appropriate,
  • Take any other action the Tribunal considers appropriate and required to enable it to perform its duties and functions under this Resolution.

Finality of judgments or decisions of the Tribunal on inherited property disputes

Pursuant to the Resolution[9] , the judgments and orders delivered by the Tribunal will be final, irrevocable, and not subject to any form of appeal. The competent execution court will execute the judgment in the Emirate in accordance with the rules on execution of its judgment.

In the Emirate of Dubai, the Tribunal is the apex judicial authority to determine all disputes arising from the sale of inherited residential property by an heir to an inheritance. Therefore, the Tribunal may be the last hope of an heir to an inheritance who feels aggrieved by the decisions of the Dubai Land Department and feels he or she has a genuine case. However, if the applicant does not present to the Tribunal an official document issued by the Dubai Land Department to the applicant that an amicable settlement could not be reached among the heirs by the DLD, the Tribunal may refuse to admit or register the applicant’s case or application.[10]

For more information, contact experts like HHS Lawyers in Dubai on the sale of inherited real residential property.

  1. Article 8
  2. Article 2 Resolution No 8 of 2021
  3. Article 3 (a) (2)
  4. Article 6
  5. Article 3(b) Resolution 8 of 20
  6. Article 4
  7. Article 9
  8. Article 8
  9. Article 4