Ask the Law: How do I recover value of a bounced cheque?

A civil suit must be filed against the issuer, apart from a criminal case

Ask the law
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The labour law does not entitle the worker who was working under a contract for a limited period to claim the end-of-service gratuity if the worker himself has broken the employment contract
Gulf News

Question: I was given three cheques of Dh500,000 each six months ago by a person. All of them bounced due to insufficient funds in the issuer’s bank account. I filed a complaint against the cheque owner at the police station, then it was forwarded to the public prosecution and then to the criminal court. The court sentenced the cheque owner to a six-month jail term.  During trial, the cheque owner did not appear before the court. Two months ago, I came to know that he was caught and put in jail to serve the six-month imprisonment. I went to the Dubai Courts to enquire about my money but I came to know that he had not paid the cheque amount. Officials at the court advised me to file a civil case to claim the cheque amount. In case I file a civil case, do I need to prove again that the owner had not honoured the cheques issued to me? Or will the court pass a judgement in my favour if I provide a copy of the criminal case judgement?

Answer: The criminal court, which passed the judgement against the cheque owner provided him with options — either to pay the cheque amount or go to jail. It means that the court has given him a chance to resolve the matter amicably.

This is the only procedure that shall be applied by the criminal court as per the law. The person who issued the cheque went to jail because he did not pay the cheque amount.

Therefore, the questioner shall file a civil case to claim the cheque amount. I would advise the questioner that the conviction of the criminal court does not necessarily mean that the cheque owner who was jailed would be convicted by the civil court as well. Therefore, the questioner shall provide the civil court with documents and all evidence in order to claim the cheque amount.

Unpaid salary

Question: I have been working in a company in Dubai for the last three years on an unlimited contract. Since my salary was not paid on time, the company now owes me three months’ salary. I have decided to resign and return to my home country. If I file a complaint about the non-payment of salary in time, on resignation, will my visa be cancelled before the payment of all my dues? If my employer doesn’t pay my gratuity and dues within the 30 days, how do I go about getting my dues? Do I need to ask for compensation in addition to my end-of-service gratuity? Is there any way that someone else could fight my case if I leave the UAE because I need to go back to my country for an urgent matter?

Answer: If the questioner files a complaint against the company in the labour office of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, it would first try to resolve the issue amicably. If an amicable solution is not reached, the questioner can ask the ministry to refer the complaint to the competent labour court for consideration.

Therefore, the questioner’s visa shall remain valid until a final decision is passed on the case by the labour court. However, if the questioner is unable to stay in the country until the end of the labour case, he may give an application to the ministry stating that the questioner has no objection to cancelling his sponsorship and accordingly he may retain a lawyer to follow up on the labour case.

Finally, as per the Dubai Supreme Court, the questioner has the right to ask for three months’ salary as compensation because he was forced to leave the work due to the delay in salary payment, which is deemed arbitrary dismissal.

Questions answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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