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Question: I took a loan from someone and gave the a security cheque against the loan amount. Two months ago, I cleared the debt in cash, but the cheque was not returned to me. The creditor promised to return the cheque later. However, instead of returning the cheque, he went ahead and filed a criminal case against me for the value of the cheque. What do I do now to prove that I had cleared the value of the cheque in cash and that the creditor’s claim for the amount is illegal?

Answer: I would like to clarify the questioner that in criminal courts, Article 401 of the Penal Code states: ‘Shall be sentenced to detention or [subjected] to a fine, whoever draws in bad faith a cheque without sufficient funds or who, after giving the cheque withdraws all or part of the funds, so that the remaining balance is insufficient to cover the amount of the cheque, or issues an order to the drawee to stop payment, or if he or she deliberately writes or signs the cheque in such a manner so as to make it non-payable.’

The standard of issuing a cheque is that it should be backed up by sufficient balance. Which means that you have to prove the existence of sufficient funds in your bank account on the date the cheque was presented at the bank for encashment. Or else you will be sentenced to detention or subjected to a fine because security (guarantee) cheques in UAE law are treated as normal cheques, without taking into consideration the purpose the cheque was drawn for. The court may, during the examination of the case, ask any person to be present and give his or her statement even if it has, where necessary, to issue a writ of arrest and force him or her to appear, it may also order to subpoena him or her for another hearing, which means that you have the right to request for the presence of the plaintiff to give his testimony before the court whether he had received the cheque amount or not.

Additionally, you need to file a suit in a civil court, requesting to return the cheque and there you will be able to prove that you had paid the amount with all the means of proof such as:

A) In writing;

B) A testimony;

C) Presumptions;

D) Eye-witnesses and expertise;

E) Avowal;

F) Oath.

The onus of proof lies with the creditor, in establishing his or her right, and on the debtor, in refuting it. Writing, testimony, irrefutable presumptions, eye-witness accounts are means of proof with extensible effects, while avowal only binds the acknowledger.

Employee rights if injured at work

Question: According to UAE Labour Law, what is the employee’s right in case of an accident while at work and if the employee is admitted to hospital? In such a case, what are the employee’s rights regarding medical expenses, allowances and other rights?

Answer: Federal Law No 8 of 1980, regulating the employment relations in the UAE (‘Employment Law’), makes it mandatory for the employer to pay compensation to the employee(s) in case of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment. The employer should provide the injured employee with all necessary assistance by bearing all his/her medical expenses arising out of the accident, which had occurred during the course of the job. This is in accordance with Article 144, which states: ‘Where an employee sustains an accident at work or contracts an occupational disease or is disabled, the employer shall pay for the cost of his or her treatment in a local government or public medical centre until he or she recovers. Treatment shall include cost of residence in a hospital or sanatorium, surgical procedures, expenditure on X-rays and medical analysis, the purchase of medicines and rehabilitation equipment, and the supply of artificial limbs and other prosthetic attachments for any person who has been declared disabled. In addition, the employer shall pay the cost of any transport that the employee may have incurred during the course of the treatment.”

Further, the employee is entitled to a full salary for a period of up to six months, calculated on the basis of the last-drawn remuneration, and he or she is entitled to half a month’s salary for another six months or until the employee recovers completely. This is in accordance with Articles 145 and 146 of the Employment Law. Article 145 states: “Where an injury prevents an employee from carrying out his work, the employer shall pay him a cash allowance equal to his full pay throughout the period of treatment or for a period of six months, whichever is shorter. Where the treatment lasts more than six months, the allowance shall be reduced by one-half for a further period of six months, or until the employee recovers fully or his or her disability is confirmed or he or she dies — whichever comes first.” Article 146 clarifies that, “The cash allowance referred to in the preceding article shall be calculated on the basis of the last-drawn remuneration received in case of the employee being remunerated on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis or, in the case of the employee remunerated at piece-meal rates, on the basis of the average daily remuneration referred to in Article 57 hereof for workers who get paid on a piece-meal basis.

The Supreme Court also emphasises the same, stating: ‘All these clauses collectively indicate that when it is proven that a worker has sustained an injury while performing his or work, the employer is obliged to pay him financial aid calculated on the basis of the full wage he was receiving, throughout the course of his treatment, until he is cured or his inability to work has been proven. If this period exceeds six months, the financial aid that the employer is obligated to, decreases to half of the wage owed to the worker and the employer also commits to the expenses of treatment until the employee’s recovery or his or her incapacity has been proven, provided that the treatment includes the costs referred to in the text of Article 144, which has to be proven by way of a medical report from the attending physician.

‘Upon the end of treatment, the treating physician shall prepare a report in two copies — one delivered to the worker and the other to the employer. Such report shall include the type, cause, date of occurrence of the injury and the extent to which such injury was work-related, the duration of treatment, whether the injury resulted in permanent or partial disability, the degree of disability, and the extent to which the disabled worker is capable of resuming work despite the disability.’