The ideal Emirati woman lawyer: femininity and professionalism in Justice: Qalb Al Adala

Published: 2023
International Journal of the Legal Profession
ISBN: ISSN: 0969-5958


This article analyzes how the 2017 Emirati legal drama Justice: Qalb Al Adala depicts its female lead character, young lawyer Farah Hassan Ahmed, as she establishes herself professionally in Abu Dhabi’s legal sector. As the first Emirati television show on Netflix, Justice: Qalb Al Adala targets a global audience that is invited to learn about Abu Dhabi’s legal and justice system. It was created by US producers Walter Parkes and William M. Finkelstein and written by US screenwriter Carol Wolper. The show was co-produced by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, the emirate’s highest judicial authority, and can thus be viewed as an “official” representation of the legal and justice system in the United Arab Emirates and its personnel. The present article argues that in portraying the woman lawyer Farah, Justice: Qalb Al Adala replicates several problematic themes that have been previously observed in US law-related screen productions, particularly from the 1980s and 1990s. Yet in other instances, the show advances a much more progressive and positive picture of female legal professionals. In addition, the article concludes that, as an idealized combination of “modernity” and “tradition”, Farah’s character can be understood as a visualization of a preferred contemporary Emirati national identity.