It is my pleasure to address you today on this occasion on which we celebrate World Law Day, a day that began to be celebrated globally back in 1965. This is a momentous occasion to recall the importance of law for people from all walks of life; it is, at the same time, an opportunity to salute law professionals and express our gratitude and appreciation to those who maintain and enforce the law.
Undoubtedly, we, the people of the United Arab Emirates, take particular pride in the country's leadership, led by the President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brother His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, for focusing primarily on promoting the rule of law and maintaining the supremacy of law in society. This has largely contributed to the qualitative leaps made in development and sustainable growth as well as in all global indicators.
According to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE is "a country of justice, law, and equality". It has become a role model for all countries of the world in upholding the law and creating a legislative and legal infrastructure that protects investor rights, property, and the freedom of transferring capital in a stable and sustainable environment that promotes the country's status as a major draw for investors and global companies operating in the region.
The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has been among the first to celebrate World Law Day since its functions and competencies are more of a legal nature. If we could view financial markets as technical and executive bodies, then the SCA is a body that exercises an oversight and regulatory role that involves proposing and enacting regulations and legislation related to financial markets and the transactions executed therein, overseeing the execution of transactions, and taking proper actions against violators of its regulations, decisions and circulars.
If the function of law is originally that of a "standard-setter" given that, whether private or public, law acts as guidelines on the minimally accepted behavior in society and breaching them will subject violators to penalty, then we could say that law in general is "a set of general, abstract and binding rules that govern relationships between members of the community". The rule of law is characterized as general, abstract (applies to all) and, at the same time, binding.
The principal mission of the law is to maintain order. Law ensures order in line with society guidelines in addition to the resolution of disputes. Society is comprised of members with different perspectives and points of view, and therefore law acts as a formal method to hear and settle disputes and achieve justice, in line with the famous saying that goes: "Law is blind". Additionally, part of the functions of law is protecting freedoms and rights from being violated or inadmissibly interfered with by individuals, organizations, or any entity.
In contrast, the absence of the rule of law in society necessarily means that there are no rules and regulations that govern the way authorities, states, and societies function; as well as the financial transactions and business activities. In the absence of deterrent penalties, the rise in crime rates and traffic accidents would be inevitable. Affected groups would be incapable of getting their rights back.
Among the other matters closely connected with the above is the importance of focusing on raising legal awareness and spreading moral values in the society. Legal knowledge is important for everyone. Different societal practices, whether at the local or international levels, not only demonstrate the urgent need for legal awareness, but also for knowledge of the rules governing every profession and applicable to every country so as to avoid contravening them. Nowadays, it is noticeable that many professionals with experience and competence get involved in criminal offenses because of their lack of legal knowledge. Also, people have lost their rights because of their ignorance of the law.
Last but not least, on this occasion, we reiterate that law is our only way to achieve our higher goal. Justice comes first and the legitimacy and supremacy of law is a top priority for our wise government. We should take pride, whether we are operating in the legal field or not, in what legal professionals are offering. As it is certain that if the rule of law prevails, so will peace and justice.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
Dr. Maryam Butti Al Suwaidi
Chief Executive Officer
Securities and Commodities Authority