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Keywords:

  • Common law;
  • Dubai;
  • free zone;
  • Islam

Islamic culture is founded on a deep and pervasive respect for contract, and for contractual relationships as a means of solving diverse social problems. In addition, for more than a thousand years Islamic empires have included Jewish and Christian communities that were allowed to have a substantial degree of legal autonomy. These two facts about Islamic legal culture are used to explain the remarkable phenomenon of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a financial free zone in Dubai in which a British judge administers British common law within the zone while outside the zone UAE law applies. We encourage other nations to consider the flexible and pragmatic approach that has characterised Dubai in the creation of the DIFC.