bounced cheques
According to UAE law, a cheque is a valid instrument for payment as long as it bears the cheque issuer's signature. Image Credit: Supplied

Issuing a blank cheque

Question: I was issued a cheque by someone six months ago. The cheque was signed by the issuer, but the date, name of the beneficiary and the amount were not mentioned on the cheque. My question is, do I have the legal right to fill in these information, present the cheque and claim my right, given that the cheque issuer had told me that if I filled in these details, he would lodge a report of fraud against me with the police?

Answer: Yes you can fill in the details and claim your right. In the provision of Article 401 for penalties, a cheque has been defined in Commercial Law as a payment and fulfilment instrument that is worthy of payment upon inspection, and it is indispensable for the use of money in transaction, as long as it has fulfilled its components. It neither matters if its issuance was by way of guarantee nor does it matter what the purpose was behind writing the cheque or signing on it or issuing a blank cheque, without mentioning a value or a date. All these do not affect the validity of issuing the cheque.

There is nothing in the law that requires the information on a cheque to be written in the handwriting of the drawer. However, it must bear his or her signature. The drawee signature is necessary because its absence from the cheque makes it a mere piece of paper that has no value and cannot be taken into consideration when dealing with it. The drawer’s signature on a cheque, without a date or the beneficiary’s name, does not affect the validity of the cheque, because issuing a cheque — even without a date and a beneficiary name — indicates that its drawer has authorised the beneficiary to fill in those details before presenting it to the drawee and the burden of proving the existence, nature and extent of this authorisation gets transferred from the beneficiary to the one who claims otherwise.

It has been decided in Dubai Courts that “The law does not require that the cheque data be drawn up by the drawer. Rather, it is sufficient for it to bear the signature of the one who has issued it”. (In cassation No 2009/408, Penal.)

It has also been decided that “the drawer’s signature on a blank cheque without listing its value or proving a date does not affect the validity of the cheque issuance, as giving the cheque without proving the value or date indicates that its drawer has authorised the beneficiary to write those details before presenting the cheque to the drawee and the burden of proving this authorisation and its extent is on those who claim otherwise”. (In cassation No 7/2017, Penal.)

Claiming property rights after divorce

Question: I am a woman married to a Muslim man for four years. We do not have children. A month ago, my husband divorced me for no reason. My question is: What are my rights according to Islamic law? Also, two years ago, we bought a property that is currently registered jointly in our names. How can I claim my right to the property and is it possible to do so before the Sharia court?

Answer: UAE law allows you to apply the laws of your country in matters of personal status as per Article 1 of the Federal Law No (28), of 2005, on Personal Status.

If you will apply UAE law, then your rights will be as follows:-

1. Dowry: The advance part, if you did not take it yet, and the deferred part, according to Article 52 of the law (Dowry may, in whole or part, be advanced or deferred upon the formation of the contract. Dowry is due by virtue of a valid contract. It becomes certain by a consummation of the marriage, valid privacy or death. The deferred part of it shall become due by death or repudiation.)

2. Alimony and sheltering: According to Article 69 of the law alimony (and sheltering, during the waiting period or ‘idda’), is due to the divorcee in a reversible divorce and in a non-retractable divorce, if the divorced woman is pregnant. Otherwise, only sheltering is due.

3. Compensation other than alimony: This is to be paid according to Article 140 of the law, in case the husband divorces his wife from a valid consummated marriage by his unilateral will — without a request from her. She is then entitled to a compensation other than the alimony paid during the waiting period, depending upon the financial status of the husband, provided it does not exceed a one-year alimony payable to those in similar condition. The judge may order that it be paid by instalments depending on the degree of solvency or insolvency of the husband. In assessing the amount thereof, the prejudice sustained by the wife shall be taken into consideration.

As for the property, if it is registered with the land department, then your right is secured without any further case or action. You will be always the owner of half the property, unless you sell that half to someone else or you purchase your former husband’s half.

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However, if the property has not been registered and you participated in the purchase of the property then you may move the Sharia Court with a request, as per Article (62), which states: ‘A woman having reached the age of full capacity is free to dispose of her property and the husband may not, without her consent, dispose thereof. Each one of them has independent financial assets. If one of the two participates with the other in the development of a property, building a dwelling place or the like, then he or she may claim from the latter his or her share upon divorce or death.’