DEBT COLLECTION IN UAE

The debt collection in UAE, as well as in many other nations, begins with considering the opportunity of recovering money from debtors before going to the court. The debt collectors try to get in contact with the debtors and persuade them to repay their debts. If their attempts of recovering the debts are useless, then the creditor will have no other choice but to resort to the court to secure the debt repayment. In this case, the creditor can initiate a civil suit before the courts and judicial tribunals.

THE UAE JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The UAE’s legal system is a civil law system. The principal sources of civil law are the federal codes promulgated pursuant to Article 121 of the Constitution. Of these, the most important laws are the Civil Transactions Law, the Commercial Transactions Law, the Bankruptcy Law, the Companies Law, the Labour Law and the Civil Procedure Law.

All the Emirates have a Federal court system that comprises a Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and Federal Supreme Court, with the exception of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, whose have kept their own judicial systems; in fact, they have a Court of Cassation as the highest judicial authority. 

In the federal system, the Federal Courts of Appeal hear appeals from decisions of the Federal Courts of First Instance. The Federal Supreme Court hears appeals from these Federal Appeal Courts. In contrast, Dubai has its own Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and Court of Cassation. The Dubai Court of Cassation supervises and acts as an appellate court from the decisions of the Dubai Court of Appeal and applies both Federal laws and the laws of the Emirate of Dubai.

Generally, a claim regarding civil transactions is prescribed after 15 years, unless a particular provision states otherwise (Law Nr. 5 of 1986), but there are several specific provisions dealing with time bars regarding commercial procedure (Law Nr. 18 of 1993). In order to commence a claim pertaining to a civil and commercial dispute, it may be referred to a Reconciliation and Settlement Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Justice. The Committee facilitates settlement and usually hears parties with an attempt to reach settlement.If the two parts fail to reach settlement in this phase, the claim will have to be filed at the relevant court.

DEBT RECOVERY

A judgment cannot be executed by the creditor against the debtor’s assets unless it has become final and is certified by the Execution Court as being good for execution. There are judges specifically assigned to the Execution Court assisted by an Execution Bailiff and administrative staff at the Execution Department to administer the enforcement of judgments. A Court of First Instance Judgment can only be enforced in the event that both parties fail to appeal the judgment within 30 days.

The main ways to enforce a local judgment are:

Attachment of the debtor’s property (movables)
Attachment of stocks, bonds and shares
Attachment of real estate.
Imprisonment of the debtor.

In the UAE, insolvency proceedings begin in the Court of First Instance. After the court issues a judgment, the parties have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals within 30 days. The Court of Appeals allows the parties to introduce additional witnesses and evidences. The judgment of the Court of Appeals stands unless the parties further appeal to the Court of Cassation within 30 days. Any judgment by the Court of Cassation is definitive, so the creditors should carefully assess the ability of debtors to meet their financial obligations before they proceed with costly litigation.

Company Income Statements and financial statements are key elements for the evaluation of a company’s credit rating.