Abu Dhabi Judicial Department building in the UAE capital Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) on Monday said it has completed a full settlement of the 822 execution files - worth Dh702 million in total - in the lawsuits from buyers in the “paused” Wahat Al Zaweya real estate project.

It comes after final judicial rulings were issued obligating the return of the deposited amounts, which have a total value of Dh702 million.

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The settlement is the result of the efforts made by a special judicial body tasked with handling disputes related to Wahat Al Zaweya Project. The judicial body was established by the decision of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of Presidential Court and Chairman of the Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi, with the aim of taking measures to preserve the claimants’ funds until the debt is settled, while ensuring sufficient guarantees for execution.

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Final rulings were issued to terminate the property contracts, deposit the settlement amounts into buyers’ bank accounts, and finally close the execution files in those lawsuits.

Second phase

Meanwhile, the judicial body is working on completing the second phase of settlement with 630 other buyers, who had filed lawsuits before the start of the first phase of settlement. These buyers have been given the option to continue in the project after it is “re-offered according to current real estate market conditions”.

The second phase is focused on resolving all pending lawsuits through agreements that ensure the claimants receive their rights, while giving them the choice, as a legal right, to proceed after confirming their intention to take advantage of it based on current real estate market information before finalising the lawsuits - ultimately resulting in the closure of the file for Wahat Al Zaweya Project.

‘Re-initiating’ the project

The judicial body proceeded with “re-initiating” the project that had been paused, following the submission of a proposal by the company’s board of directors to resolve legal issues by the end of 2024 and to carry out the development through authorised contractors and hand over the properties to their rightful owners within specified timelines, varying from one to three years depending on the location within the 10 segments of the project.

The company is committed to depositing all amounts collected into an escrow account and not to disburse any amount until obtaining a certificate from the relevant authority indicating the completion percentage of the work, with any disbursement being proportional to the progress of the completed work.

In this context, the company has committed to making timely payments for the initial instalments and has given a legal assurance to fulfil the project as per the agreed terms with buyers who have not filed claims, in addition to settling with claimants who wish to proceed with the project.

Speedy resolution

In October 2021, Sheikh Mansour issued a decision to set up a special judicial body to settle disputes related to Wahat Al Zaweya and Wahat Yas projects. The aim is to ensure a speedy resolution of the conflicts and preserve the plaintiffs’ funds until the debts are repaid.

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department explained that all disputes and lawsuits connected with Wahat Al Zaweya and Wahat Yas projects will be handled by an ad hoc judicial authority, regardless of whether the cases are already decided, pending before the courts, or were registered after the issuance of this decision, and irrespective of whether they involve land, real estate already built or under construction, or subject to off-plan sales system.