Start a legal consultancy in Dubai: a step-by-step guide

Start a legal consultancy

There is a thriving business community in Dubai, UAE, and with the economy now growing strongly after the pandemic, business owners and managers are looking to expand into new markets, acquire rivals and launch new products. But of course, doing these things can be complicated and will require the assistance of skilled lawyers, who can provide consultancy on all manner of issues that businesses may be facing.

This means that there has never been a better time to establish a legal consultancy in Dubai, UAE. In this article, we will provide a clear guide to how this can be achieved, including:

  • The advantages of starting a legal consultancy business in Dubai, UAE
  • Cost of setting up a legal consultancy in Dubai, UAE
  • Steps to obtain a legal consultancy license in Dubai, UAE
  • Documents required to open a legal consultancy in Dubai
  • Why work with Worldwide Formations

Advantages of starting a legal consultancy business in Dubai, UAE

One of the main advantages of starting a legal consultancy in Dubai, UAE is the growing opportunities there. Businesses of all sizes from multinationals to start-ups are based there, and the number is growing all the time, and they all need legal advice, which means it is possible to start small and build up.

In addition, setting up as a consultancy rather than a traditional law firm means that you will be able to advise legal departments of businesses and create plans that comply with regulatory guidance at a local, state and federal level.

Cost of setting up a legal consultancy in Dubai, UAE

How much it costs to start up a legal consultancy in Dubai, UAE, can vary, depending on the activities you are planning to undertake, how big the size of the consultancy will be, and where it is set up.

For instance, if you are setting up in a free zone, it will cost about AED 20,000-25,000 for the license and the visa. Please note that there are other costs that could be incurred if you need to get any qualifications or accreditations that are required to operate a legal consultancy.

However, Worldwide Formations have access to current prices and can put together a bespoke package for your requirements – giving you a detailed quote for how much it will cost. See our website for more information: https://worldwideformations.com

Steps to obtain a legal consultancy license in Dubai, UAE

While applying for a legal consultancy license requires various documents to be produced or completed, there are certain things you need to do before you start this process.

Firstly, you need to decide on the name for your legal consultancy. The trading name cannot be the same as another business and, if you are planning to use your own name for the business, it has to be your complete name – no initials or abbreviations are allowed. No names that could be deemed offensive or blasphemous are allowed either.

At the same time, the business activity will need to be defined. This must be done clearly because if it is found your consultancy is taking on unlicensed activities – even if it is done unknowingly – it can cause serious problems. Any activity that your legal consultancy undertakes must be specified to ensure you have the correct licenses.

In addition, you will need to decide on the location for your legal consultancy – whether it is in a free zone or mainland. Both locations have advantages, so you need to decide which is right for your consultancy. There are various free zones in the UAE and one of the main advantages is that business owners have 100% customs tax exemption, as well as no limits on how much of the business’s capital and profits can be repatriated. In addition, free zones have no currency or foreign exchange regulations.

But going down this route means that you cannot trade directly with the wider UAE market unless you open a branch or use a distributor. If you have a mainland set up, you don’t need to set these up.

These steps can trip up newcomers to the market, so it is always worthwhile engaging the services of a business formation specialist such as Worldwide Formations to help ensure the details are correct.

Once those issues have been sorted out, then you can take the first step towards obtaining the consultancy license, which is to seek initial authorisation. For this, an application form has to be completed for registration and authorisation.

In addition, evidence must be produced that the trading name of your consultancy has been reserved.

Also required is a photocopy of your passport and visit or residency permit. If you are applying on a resident visa, there also must a letter of no objection from an existing sponsor. Photocopies are also required of the local service agent’s passport and naturalisation identities.

Finally, there must be approval from HH the Ruler’s Court – Legal Affairs.

Once initial approval has been received, the applicant needs to produce all the related documents from the initial authorisation, plus an RERA-certified certificate of tenancy contract registration, and an appointment contract of a local service agent – this is issued by the Department of Economic Development.

After this has been completed, the applicant must visit the department relevant to them to show the original documents and embrace the oath – although this only applies to those who want to represent local court cases.

Documents required to open a legal consultancy in Dubai

To open a legal consultancy, there are various documents that must be provided, but most of these should not pose a problem to an applicant.

Documents needed include a copy of the applicant’s current Practicing Certificate or alternatively a letter of good standing from a law firm or bar association that is dated at least three months before the submission is made.

Also required are a photocopy of the applicant’s passport, along with two colour passport-sized photographs. Photocopies are also required of the applicant’s Visa page – if they are resident in the UAE – and their Legal Affairs Department Card, if they practice in Dubai.

Finally, a schedule of oral advocacy outlining the applicant’s experience in court, arbitration or tribunals. This should include the applicant’s experience, their current practice, a list of cases, interlocutory motions and who the practitioners involved were.

However, once these documents have been submitted, the approval process is usually quite fast -sometimes within a week of the submission being made.

Why work with Worldwide Formations

As described above, legal consultancies can be highly profitable in Dubai given the constant demand for legal counsel from businesses in a wide variety of sectors.

Other benefits of running a business in Dubai include the favourable tax regime, free transfer of money, no foreign exchange controls and low operational costs.

However, setting up a legal consultancy in Dubai, UAE, can be a complex process that takes time, and comes with risks if the person does not have detailed knowledge of the local laws and business norms. However, consultants such as Worldwide Formations can provide help to manage this process and make it as smooth as possible.

Worldwide Formations are vastly experienced in the process for setting up legal consultancies in Dubai, UAE, and with our local knowledge, our consultants can navigate the complexities with skill and speed to ensure your consultancy is operational as soon as possible.

For more information and a personalised quote, please visit Worldwide Formations.

Office 611 & Lobby Level

The Fairmont Dubai,

Sheikh Zayed Road

PO 33964 Dubai, UAE

Office Hours :- 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
(Monday to Friday)