HZLegalFive Tips on How to Protect Your Rights in the United Arab Emirates

Comparing the lawyer to the doctor is an old and common comparison, but its reflection on the social reality has not yet been completed, because many people still do not seek lawyers’ assistance unless they are forced to. Although those people rush to doctors as soon as they feel any fatigue or deterioration in their health condition, or before making any decision that may affect their bodies, it is noticed that they do not do the same when it comes to their “community” health or their rights.

Compassionate legal support for families from Hossam Zakaria law firm in the UAE

In fact, legal awareness has become very necessary, especially in the United Arab Emirates, which has established itself as a first-class “state of law”. Therefore, in this brief article, we offer the reader some basic tips that must be followed to maintain and preserve his/her rights and money. The well-known rule “prevention is better than cure” applies to lawyers just as it applies to doctors.

First Tip

Document and write regularly: It is known that the longest verse in the Holy Qur’an is the verse of Madinah (debt verse) in which Allah Almighty says: {O you who have believed when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down}. This verse has an emphasis and organization for which books had been written to benefit the process of writing and documenting debts. On the approach of this noble verse, the UAE law went ahead, making writing superior as evidence to everything else, and making the official documented writing, which is called in the statutory language “official editors”, before all other forms of uncertified or unofficial writing “idiochira”.

So, if you want to protect your legal rights in the UAE, the first advice we can give you is to “document your legal action,” by writing the contract/action in a tight and clear contract that contains all necessary clauses to clarify your will and the will of the other contractor, thus providing the required legal protection for both of you. It is always preferable when writing contracts to seek the guidance of a lawyer or a specialized consultant for the drafting process as writing contracts and agreements is a precise art and specialized knowledge. Upon going to a lawyer, you can discover many additional clauses that can be included in your contract to provide you with comprehensive protection and future guarantees, covering most possibilities.

After writing/documentation, you can resort to another step, which is attestation with the notary public, thus, the contract concluded between you and the second party becomes an official document that may not be challenged or disputed in any way; except in one exceptional way, which is to challenge it for forgery. If attestation was difficult or not available at the time of signing the contract, then bringing two witnesses to sign the contract is something we can advise to do, as the role of the two witnesses – in the event of a dispute before the courts – is to prove that the other party actually signed the contract before them without any pressure, fraud, coercion, forgery… etc. In this case, we advise that witnesses write their complete details with their signatures to facilitate contacting them when needed.

When we advise writing and documenting, we offer this advice to all people, whatever their relationships, because lack of writing or documenting due to trust, friendship or kinship is the reason for losing many rights, not because people are not worthy of trust, but because forgetting always affects relationships and long-term contracts. Writing is a very easy solution to forgetting. Moreover, the documentation we mean is not only the documentation of contracts but also the documentation of any financial action of whatever nature, especially the delivery of amounts that are considered rights owed under a contract or a law.

Second Tip

Seek the guidance of a specialist, even for advice: If you do not have the financial capacity to hire a lawyer, the advice will not hurt, especially since it is available for free on many platforms. From this perspective, we encourage you to resort to legal advice as a solution to some of your legal problems. Our contemporary life reflects an increase in laws, regulations, and procedural rules – and this, in fact, is evidence of the progress of civilization. For a person to obtain his rights or protect and fortify them, it is necessary to go through these delicate procedures and deal with these dense and interconnected legal rules.

Hence, it turns out that legal advice – at the very least – may save a lot of effort, money, and anxiety. The lawyer will shorten the way for you on many matters that you do not know about, through a simple consultation session.

Third Tip

Do not purchase memos unless necessary, and do not deal with non-lawyers: The phenomenon of “purchasing memos” has become common among litigants, whereby the litigant resorts to a consultant, and sometimes to a jurist or knowledgeable person, to write a judicial memorandum for him, which the litigant signs in his name and then submits it to the court. The truth is that “purchasing memos” is the opposite of our second advice, because “purchasing memos”, in many cases, is a resort to an unprofessional, and this has often led to serious consequences, and this is what we have seen and witnessed in the corridors of the courts repeatedly.

Some people found, in their memos, things that do not really express their views on their own lawsuits, and perhaps one of them even found himself involved in a case of swearing because there were some offensive phrases in his memo that he only concerns to buy from someone who does not bear any responsibility in the end. The truth is that many of those who resort to them do not have the knowledge, experience, or necessary ability to legally express and optimally represent them; so do not give your cases to an unreliable person.

Fourth Tip

Do not be silent for long: Many legal articles and legal fields have limitation periods. In simple terms, there are many rights that if you do not claim them in a certain period, you cannot claim them later, due to the expiry of the legally specified period. This is known as the statute of limitations. Among the short legal periods that can pass without you noticing them are:

– Administrative decisions in government authorities: Its limitation period is 60 days from informing the concerned person of it, publishing the decision, or informing the concerned person of it in any way whatsoever. We explain the following example. Let us suppose that you work for a government authority such as a ministry, for example, and let us suppose that you were surprised with a decision issued to terminate your services – God forbid – and this decision was unjust. You want to resort to the judiciary to cancel this decision and return to your job. In this supposition, you must resort to the judiciary within sixty days of notifying you of the decision; otherwise, your lawsuit will be in grave danger, as it will most likely be rejected because you filed it after the prescribed period!

– Termination of the sale contract due to defect, fraud, or any other reason, or a reduction in the sale price: The term for rescission of the sale contract is only one year. If you bought a car, a device, or any other belongings, and then discovered a hidden defect in it or something that detracts from its value, you must file a lawsuit within a year from the date of sale.

– Harmful acts/compensation: In compensation claims, the lawsuit must be filed within three years of the occurrence of the damage. If the lawsuit is filed after a period of more than three years from the occurrence of the damage and being aware of it by the victim, then the whole lawsuit is at the mercy of the defendant. If he/she submits an objection depending on the expiry of the period of “three years”, the lawsuit will be rejected.

–  Rents and renewable rights: Most of the renewable rights (rents and rights of doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, etc..) become time-barred after five years from their due date. If you do not claim these dues for a period of five years, it will be very difficult for you to file a claim to collect them because your opponent can submit an objection at any moment depending on the expiry of the limitation period, and therefore, your claim will not be heard.

To conclude: The law often requires the right holder to claim his right within a specified period; otherwise his inaction is considered an implicit waiver. Therefore, do not remain still and do not postpone what you think you will claim, because this postponement, or stillness, may harm you in the end.

Note: There are exceptional circumstances in which the limitation period may be interrupted or suspended.

Fifth Tip

Keep your records: You will not benefit from the first tip if you do not keep your documents and papers in an orderly, accurate, and secure manner. We always advise keeping your records and necessary documents in a private and confidential file in which you put all the documents that you think may be of interest in the future. Do not be reckless or negligent in maintaining documents and evidence. Always possess sufficient papers to prove your right, and also keep what proves the identity of those who you deal with; you may need to resort to the judiciary to confront them in the future.

For individuals: Keep a copy of their Emirates ID.

For companies: Keep a copy of the company’s trade license.

Always record, document, and save what you think will be important evidence in the future, even if it is a “WhatsApp” conversation or an audio recording between you and someone. Archive important WhatsApp conversations, archive emails with valuable transactions, and back up the electronic documents you keep on your personal computer.

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