In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued Law No. (9) of 2020 regulating family-owned businesses in Dubai. By providing a clear legal framework for family ownership in the emirate, the new Law seeks to protect families’ wealth, enhance the contribution of family businesses to economic and social development and foster the growth of family businesses.
The Law is optionally applicable to existing and new family ownerships, including corporate equity securities and proprietorship. Family ownership in public joint stock companies and movable and immovable property are excluded from this law.
For the family ownership contract to become legally binding, all parties of the contract must be members of the same family and have a single common interest. Furthermore, the contract must clearly define the share of each member, and parties of the contract must own all the legal rights of the monies and assets that are under the purview of the contract. The family ownership contract must also be duly attested by the notary public according to the rules and regulations stipulated in Law No. (4) of 2013 concerning Notaries Public in the Emirate of Dubai.
According to the new Law, the validity of a family ownership contract can extend up to 15 years. It can be renewed for a similar term following the agreement of all concerned parties. The Law also regulates the articles of the family ownership contract, the business’s structure and management, the formation of the board, the authorities and responsibilities delegated to the board and management as well as the management’s powers and limitations.
The Law also defines the responsibilities and authorities of government entities with regard to facilitating the formation of family-owned businesses.
This Law annuls any other legislation that contradicts of challenges its articles. The Law is valid from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.