Ask the Law
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Question: I have a cheque signed by two people. Recently, the cheque was returned by the bank due to insufficient balance. My questions are: 1) Am I allowed to file a criminal case against one of the signatories only and not the other one because the other signatory is a fugitive who is currently outside the country? 2) Before the civil court, do I have the right to file a lawsuit against the two? Also, will my failure to file a criminal case against both the signatories affect the civil lawsuit? Please advise.

Answer: The criminal and civil courts are not connected. They function separately, which means that filing or not filing a case in the criminal court does not affect the civil court’s decisions.

A Criminal case is purely a punishment for a criminal act i.e. issuing a cheque without sufficient balance. It is permissible to file a civil case even without filing a criminal case previously.

In case the drawer is a fugitive who is outside the country, it still does not prevent the beneficiary of the cheque from filing a criminal case against the drawer. Filing a criminal case against only one of the signatories is not practical because since there are two signatories to the cheque, the bank will confirm, in its return note, that the account was managed by the two signatories. So, automatically, the criminal claim will be against both of them, even if one of the drawers is outside the country, and the judgement will also be binding on both.

Moreover, since allowing a cheque to bounce is a criminal offence in the UAE, as soon as a complaint is filed with the police department, a travel ban or arrest warrant is issued against the drawer or drawers automatically. Hence, the issuer of the cheque will be prevented from leaving the UAE and will be arrested if he or she tries to flee the country or will be arrested upon his or her return to UAE. This prohibition or memorandum can be lifted once the bounced cheque is settled or after the penalty has been served.

Article 606 of Federal Law No 18 of 1993 regarding Issuing the Commercial Transactions Law assures that the drawer must guarantee the payment of the cheque (The drawer guarantees the payment of the cheque and any condition exonerating the drawer from such guarantee shall be deemed inexistent.)

The court decided that, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 606, 612 and 613 of the Commercial Transactions Law, the drawer guarantees payment of the value of the cheque to its legal bearer and no condition is taken into account under which the drawer is exempted from this guarantee. (No 56/2010 Commercial cassation).

Eviction notice

Question: I have rented a villa for one year. The tenancy contract is going to expire on April 5, 2021. Two weeks ago, the landlord sent me a letter via court notary that I must vacate the villa by the end of the tenancy contract. As for the reason, the landlord said he wished to take possession of the villa for his personal use. My question is, as per Dubai rental law, does the landlord have the right to force me to vacate the villa on the basis of such a letter sent through the court notary? Please advise.

Answer: According to Law No 26 of 2007, Article No 25, paragraph No 2: “The landlord may demand eviction of tenant upon expiry of tenancy contract in the following cases:

A) If development requirements in the emirate require demolition and reconstruction of the property in accordance with instructions from government authorities.

B) If the property requires renovation or comprehensive maintenance, which cannot be executed while the tenant is occupying the property, provided that a technical report attested by Dubai Municipality to this effect is provided.

C) If the landlord wishes to demolish the property for reconstruction or to add new constructions that will prevent the tenant from benefiting from the leased property, provided that necessary licences have been obtained for such reconstruction.

D) If the landlord wishes to recover the property for use by him personally or by his next-of-kin of first degree.

However, in all the above-mentioned circumstances, the landlord must notify the tenant about the reason of eviction at least ninety (90) days prior to expiry date of tenancy contract”.