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What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding involving a person or business that is unable to repay outstanding debts. The bankruptcy process begins with a petition filed by the debtor, which is most common, or on behalf of creditors, which is less common. All of the debtor’s assets are measured and evaluated, and the assets may be used to repay a portion of outstanding debt.


Three main procedures for a business in financial difficulty:


  • A debtor-led, court-sponsored process

  • Designed to facilitate the rescue of a business which is in financial difficulty but not yet insolvent

  • Requires the approval of both a majority in number and two-thirds by value of the unsecured creditors

  • Must be implemented within three years of court approval

  • Can be extended for a further three years with creditor approval.


  • If a debtor is insolvent but the court determines that the business is capable of being rescued, it may approve a restructuring scheme.

  • Similar to the protective composition described above, requiring the same levels of creditor approval

  • A longer period of five years (extendable by a further three years) is allowed for implementation.


      The court can order the insolvent winding-up of a business if:

  • A protective composition or restructuring scheme is inappropriate, not approved or terminated

  • A debtor is acting in bad faith to evade financial obligations

  • A “trustee”, independent of the debtor, is appointed to manage the process.

  • The law includes strict time limits for making filings and lodging objections.

  • It is expressly provided that the relevant process continues while the court considers any objections.

  • Otherwise time-consuming proceedings could prove to be a practical obstacle.

  • Procedures are not substantially different from those currently available under the commercial code.

  • The new law does not include provisions for an out-of-court financial restructuring procedure – although this may be addressed by the financial restructuring committee in future.



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Application for Bankruptcy

Application can be made by:

  • Debtor

  • Creditor of at least AED 100,000 due and unpaid for 30 consecutive business days

  • Regulator

  • Public Prosecutor

The Restructuring Procedure

  • Once the Court decides to go for restructuring, the trustee along with the debtor shall develop, prepare and plan a draft Restructuring Plan within 3 months from the date of the decision.

Documents to be submitted along with Application

  • Application must include documentary requirements set out in the New Law plus a copy of a shareholders’ resolution approving the filing

  • Court appoints an expert to prepare a report on Debtor’s assets and liabilities

  • Court may impose interim measures until a decision on the application is taken

Determination of Report

  • The courts issue a judgment and decision shall be published by the trustee with 5 business days through newspaper both in Arabic and English

  • No restructuring plan will be in action if the debtor is unwilling to continue the business and based on documents and Trustee statement, the business will not earn profit

Initial Deposit or Bank Guarantee with Court

  • The applicant shall deposit with the Court’s treasury monies or a bank guarantee in an amount not exceeding (AED 20,000) on the date decided by the Court, to cover the initial expenses and costs for the determination of the application. The Court may defer the deposit or the Bank guarantee if the applicant Debtor does not have the necessary cash to make such a deposit.

Trustee's Report

  • Analysis of the possibility of restructuring and whether a restructuring plan is to be submitted to creditors

  • Evaluation of the possibility of sale of debtors business in whole or in part

  • The Court shall review the trustee’s report within 10 Business Days

Appointment of Expert

  • The Court shall notify the appointed trustee of its appointment

  • The Debtor or any creditor may file a grievance against the Court decision in 5 business days

  • Any trustee or expert appointed shall be entitled to payment of their fees and expenses

Register of Creditors

  • A register stating all the known creditors shall be maintained and copy shall be provided to Court​

Sale of Debtors Assets


Trustees' responsibility to sell the debtors asset at the best price.

The sale proceeds to be deposited in bank a/c designated by Court.

The debts of secured creditors to be settled in accordance with the order of priority from the sale proceeds.

Judgment on Declaration of Bankruptcy and Liquidation

  • The trustee shall within 3 business days from the issuance of the judgement of bankruptcy and liquidation, publish the judgement in 2 newspapers both in English and Arabic

  • Trustee shall instruct creditors to submit any final claim (not previously submitted) within 10 business days from date of publication of the judgement

  • If the company's assets are insufficient to settle at least 20% of debts, the court may order all or any of the member of the board or management to pay all or any of the company's debts

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