The Availability in the UAE of Liens to Secure Payment under Construction Contracts

By Neal R. Brendel, Amy L. Barrette, & Wadih El-Riachi, K&L Gates, Dubai

This article was originally published in Arab Law Quarterly.

While much attention has been devoted to curbing the rise of lawsuits surrounding Dubai’s struggling construction industry, surprisingly little attention has been focused on another option available to contractors who seek payment for failed or troubled projects.  Contractors, architects, and engineers may find relief under a seldom-reported UAE federal law that establishes qualified rights for contractors to secure payment for work under non-governmental contracts by filing a priority lien against the project itself.  This article discusses the remedy, know in many common-law jurisdictions as ‘mechanic’s liens’ or ‘builder’s liens’, and why it is important for contractors to be familiar with the applicable Civil Code and Civil Procedure Code provisions.  Those who first exercise their lien rights and seek to register liens with the Land Department will be treading new ground and will want to be well-prepared and educated on their rights provided under existing law.

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