Claiming cheque value

Question: I had a cheque from a person that I submitted to the bank, but the bank refused to accept the cheque because it had been issued more than five years ago. I also tried to file a complaint with the police, but they too informed me that it was not possible to open a police case because the legal time-frame to open a case had expired. My question is, does this mean that my right to claim the cheque has been lost? Does the civil law allow a civil suit to be filed even five years after a cheque is issued? Does the law require filing a criminal report against the cheque issuer and then filing a civil case? Please advise.

Answer: Yes, you do have the right to file a civil case even if you have lost your right to file a criminal case. Moreover, in order to be able to file a civil lawsuit, it is not necessary that the civil suit is preceded by a criminal case. This is because a criminal case deals with the criminal aspect only (the crime of issuing a cheque without an existing and withdrawable balance in the account). The criminal case does not deal with the cause, amount and circumstances of the cheque, which are examined by civil courts.

Federal Law No (5) of 1985 on the Civil Transactions Law of the United Arab Emirates in Article (473) states that: ‘A right shall not be forfeited by time limitation, but the hearing of the court case, against the one who denies it, shall not be admissible after the lapse of 15 years without legal excuse, after due observance of the matter is governed by special provisions.’

• Article (483) says: ‘Prescription for barring the non-admittance of hearing the case shall be interrupted by an express or tacit admission of the right by the debtor.’

• Article (484) say: ‘The period prescribed to bar the hearing of the case is interrupted by a court claim or any legal proceedings instituted by the creditor claiming his right.’

• Article (338) of the same law states: ‘A right must be settled whenever its legal maturity conditions are satisfied. If the debtor is in default, the right shall be compulsorily enforced, either in kind or through payment of an indemnity, in conformity with the legal provisions.’

• Article (318) states: ‘No one is entitled, without cause, to enrich himself to the detriment of another person, without just cause. If he does so, he is liable to restitute it.’

• Federal Law No (18) of 1993 regarding Issuing the Commercial Transactions Law in Article (599) states: ‘Whoever draws a cheque in person, or through a person receives an order to draw it for his account, shall deposit sufficient consideration for its payment. Nevertheless, the drawer for the account of others is personally liable towards the endorsers and the bearer, to the exclusion of all others, to provide the required consideration for payment.

As per the jurisdiction of Dubai Court: ‘The mere fact that the drawer of the cheque issues it and delivers it to the beneficiary does not merely benefit his release from its value and its fulfilment, as long as he does not present evidence that he has actually fulfilled its value.’ (Cassation No 98/2005 Civil).

Finally, the claimant has, in any way, to prove his right leaving the rest to the court who has the jurisdiction to decide about it.

Vacating company accommodation

Question: 1) In what cases UAE Labour Law doesn’t allow the employer to force the employee to vacate the accommodation provided by the employer in case employment is terminated? 2) How long is the employee allowed to stay in the accommodation in that case?

Answer: To answer this question, I would mention UAE’s Federal Labour Law No (8) of 1980, under Article No 131, paragraph No 1-6, which states the following:

1. For the purpose of the preceding Article, the worker’s ‘repatriation expenses’ refers to the value of his or her travel ticket as well as the travel expenses of his or her family members and the cost of shipping of his or her personal belongings, as stipulated in the Labour contract or in the firm’s policies.

2. In case where the employers provide accommodation to the worker, the worker shall be obliged to vacate the premises within 30 days from the date of termination of service.

3. The worker should not delay vacating the premises for any reason, provided that the employer pays the worker the following:

A) The expenses specified in paragraph one of this Article.

B) Severance pay and any other entitlement of the employee, in accordance with the Labour contract or the establishment regulations or the law.

4. If the worker disagrees with the amount of the expenses and entitlements referred to above, the Labour Department concerned shall determine, as a matter of urgency and within a week from it being notified of the same, these expenses and entitlements and shall inform the worker of the same as soon as they are determined.

5. In this case, the counting of the 30 days of grace period for vacating the company-provided accommodation, as referred to in paragraph two of the related Article, shall commence from the date the employer deposits the value of the expenses and entitlements, as determined by the Labour Department. If the worker does not vacate the premises within this 30-day period, the Labour Department, with the assistance of the authorities concerned in the emirate, shall take the necessary administrative measures for vacating of the same.

6. The provisions of this Article shall not deprive the worker of his right to take his case to the court concerned.’

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