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23 November 2011 — Women’s role in law and judiciary in the spotlight

23 November 2011 — Women’s role in law and judiciary in the spotlight

November 23, 2011

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One-day exclusive event in Dubai for legal professionals underscores importance of women practitioners in UAE law

Dubai, November 23, 2011: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts and the region’s leading legal research experts, Thomson Reuters Westlaw Gulf, today held the first “Women in the Law & Judiciary” panel discussion in the region.

“Attracting and retaining women in the legal profession is a key challenge. This event offers an invaluable platform for some of the most influential women lawyers and judges in the region to further highlight these challenges and discuss what more can be done to address them,” said Helen Owers, chief development officer, strategic markets at Thomson Reuters.

The groundbreaking event took place at the prestigious Dubai Judicial Institute and brought together many of the finest legal and judicial minds in the UAE to collaboratively discuss and address some of the major challenges faced by women in the legal profession.

The distinguished line-up of moderators and panelists included the UAE’s first female judge HE Judge Kholoud Al Dhaheri; Dubai’s first female judge, HE Judge Ebtessam Ali Albadawi; Judge Justice Tan Sri Sitti Norma Yaakob, DIFC Courts; Judge, HE Justice Ali Al Madhani, DIFC Courts and UAE Advocate and founder of International Advocate Legal Services, Diana Hamade;

Ghada Qaisi Audi, Manager of Judicial Support and Communications at DIFC Courts, commented, “This event is testament to how highly valued women legal professionals are in the UAE. We still face many challenges, but this morning’s debate underscores the knowledge, experience and passion of women lawyers. However ultimately, what really matters is the correct application of the law, regardless of gender.”

The issues faced by women wishing to make a career in law debated at the event ranged from family pressures to creating awareness and promoting law as a viable profession to UAE students. On the issue of whether there was a fatwa denying women the opportunity to become judges, the panel agreed that in the very early years of Islam, women played very important consulting roles in society, (similar to roles in the judiciary today). Therefore there could not be a fatwa against women holding senior positions within the judiciary.

The interactive moderated Q&A sessions comprised of two panels, one with female judges and one with female lawyers, who discussed their experience as role models in the legal community. The event attracted a wealth of legal talent from across the UAE’s growing legal sorority.

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