Things to Know Before Setting Up A Law Firm In Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the leading financial hubs in the region. Established in 2004, it is one of the most important onshore financial centers in the world. Its common law framework provides a fully independent English language judiciary and regulatory authority. Its evolution from a purely commercial financial hub to a thriving lifestyle and retail district has led to an increase in residential apartments, public green spaces, and hotels.


Setting up a law firm in DIFC is relatively straightforward compared to other jurisdictions. There are a variety of requirements for establishing a law firm in Dubai, but if you have any doubts, you should contact the DFSA, an independent, risk-based regulator of financial services. The DFC provides a variety of benefits for companies in the financial sector. Aside from offering a business environment that is conducive to establishing and operating a law firm, the DIFC is also a popular place for expatriates.

Legal framework for doing business in the UAE:

The new DIFC legal framework has been eagerly anticipated by a diverse range of regional and international parties, including private companies, financial institutions, and law firms. It will greatly benefit small and medium-sized companies, as well as legal and financial professionals. The decision to revamp regulations is a clear indication of DIFC’s commitment to promoting its attractiveness for doing business. This piece of legislation will bring the DIFC one step closer to its vision of becoming a globally competitive, world-class financial center.

Requirements for obtaining a license:

The first step in establishing a law firm in the DIFC is to apply for a professional license with the Department of Economic Development (DED). Dubai has liberal market access policies, and any foreign firm seeking a license to operate in the region must submit a proposal. The type of license required will depend on the nature of the business. The DFSA will review the proposal and determine whether or not the firm should be granted a license to operate in the district.

Non-regulated activities:

If you’re looking to start a law firm in the DIFC, you have many choices. In addition to regulated financial activities, the DIFC also offers non-regulated activities, including corporate offices, regional headquarters, holding companies, proprietary investment companies, courier services, and legal translation. Non-regulated activities are not subject to DFSA regulation, so you can set up a law firm in this jurisdiction without having to worry about the licensing process.