dispute-blog

Business Disputes in the UAE

Commercial disputes between companies, companies and customers or even between partners can cause a great deal of distress. They can also , in some instances lead to loss of valuable time, lost business and even bring about the collapse of a business venture in its entirety. Generally, amicable settlement of such a dispute would be beneficial to all parties in its speed and efficiency, even when at times it feels like a compromise you may not want to make. Understanding the ‘bigger picture’ and the potential damage of a protracted dispute is often much clearer in hindsight (when it’s too late). To that end, below is the list of top tips to help resolve a dispute:

a) Gather as much evidence as you can through witness statements in the initial stages; don’t forget, the people involved may be expats and may not be around later to provide the supporting evidence required. Such evidence is useful in determining the events of a situation but may not be necessarily favoured for use in court where evidence of fact carries more weight (contracts and breaches of contract terms). Such evidence though is very useful in assisting yor legal counsel to effectively drafting each memorandum (the submissions made to court for a case).

b) Try to negotiate with the other party/ies and have a strategy for what you would like to achieve from the discussions. If in your communications a response is requested by email within a certain period, try and follow that to avoid adding complications to the situation that detract from the main issues. Stay on topic. You are attempting to resolve the situation rather than create new argumenets or debates.

c) The dispute should be managed by one person from the company, as the central point of contact and the person responsible for taking the required actions. This helps reduce the risk of contradiction or confusion that can easily come about from the different interpretations of the same information that are often present. This also helps to keep the correct focus on what you are looking to achieve and will assist with a clear and clean hand-over to your lawyers should they need to become involved.

d) If you need to extract evidence from a company asset (computer, laptop or smart phone for example) it is adviseable to seek professional help to recover it. This limits the risk of not only losing the information but also the risk of suggesting the information has been manipulated or tampered with.

e) It seems an obvious point but one that is all too frequently ignored. Always read and understand every element of a document before you sign your name to it (particularly if it is not in your first language). By signing, you are agreeing to the content which may bind you personaly and or the company you represent to actions and liabilities.

f) Although many legal documents in the UAE will have this phrase as a point of ‘best practice’, it does not carry the same legal authority in the UAE system. Without Prejudice is used in negotiations in other countries to ensure concessions made or information shared during negotiation cannot be used against you if a case goes to court as specific evidence. It can be used against you in the UAE regardless of whether the term was used.

g) UAE law favors documentary proof over and above oral (spoken) statements. There is no dramatic court room cross examination as seen in the movies, cases in the UAE are largely fought to a written strategy where the power, structure and content of the legal argument in writing will have the biggest influence on the outcome.

h) When terminating a contract, seek professional legal advice. There are often elements that can remain open for interpretation or action should this not be done in a way that actually closes the contract obligations between the parties. Obvious examples would include specified warranty periods or retention payments that may exist after the contact termination.

i) If you are going to need the support of good lawyers, get them involved as early as possible. Experience in dealing with these matters can avoid costly delays and the possibility of saying or writing the wrong thing that can alter the course of the negotiation and impact the liability to which a party is held. Delaying can also cost you more as there may be significant extra work to repair the damage done before bringing in the experts.

rights-blog

Claiming the Labor Rights in UAE

There are a surprisingly high number of labor disputes in progress at any given time in the UAE and knowing the procedure and process are key to bringing about the best solution. The initial steps must be carried out by the parties involved, either the employer or the employee and lawyers cannot be directly involved until the dispute is referred to court.

For the Dubai Labor Authorities to consider any legal matters against an employee or an employer, a labor relationship must exist (or have existed) with a labor card or, at the very least, a formal offer letter issued by the authorities.

There is a separate independent body established to hear and handle manpower affairs known as the Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs. Initially, however, a complaint should be submitted to either the Labor Department of the Ministry (for UAE mainland companies) or the labor dispute section of the Freezone authority for Freezone companies.

Government employees should submit the case to Rulers Office as the initial step to obtain an NOC in order to proceed.

The labor authority concerned will then arrange a meeting between the employer and the employee to attempt to settle the dispute. If this is not successful, the matter can then be referred to the court.

At this stage, if you have not already done so, you can and should seek the assistance of a competent and experienced lawyer who can handle the proceedings in the court on your behalf.

alcohol2-blog

Alcohol in Dubai

New arrivals and first time visitors will have heard that the Law relating to alcohol in the UAE is very strict. As an expat resident, you should have a thorough knowledge of what these laws mean to you, even if just to be on the safe side. In this piece, we summarize alcohol licensing in Dubai and give an aide memoir regarding the licensing laws which, if broken can result in a jail sentence or even deportation:

1- According to the law, it is strictly forbidden for Muslims to drink alcohol as per their religion

2- As a non-Muslim, you will only be allowed to drink alcohol where you hold a valid alcohol license. The license is issued by the police authority which you should have with you when consuming alcohol.

3- You will be granted an allowance relating to the amount of alcohol you can purchase from a store for use at home which is relative to your income.

4- Holding an alcohol license permits you to consume alcohol at your home or in licensed premises. The law does not permit the consumption of alcohol in public places such as the beach or the park.

5- Each emirate has their own license and the license you hold determines where you can purchase alcohol. A Dubai license does not allow you to purchase alcohol from a store in Ajman for example.

6- Driving under the influence of alcohol is not permitted here as it is not permitted in most places the world over. Remember, in the UAE there is a zero-tolerance policy on this point and you should be cautious when driving the morning after. Small traces of alcohol in your system that would be acceptable in your home country are likely to land you in legal hot water here.

corporate-blog

The Importance of Hiring a Corporate Business Lawyer

As the owner of your own business, you will at some point require a lawyer to assist with any number of legal issues from company documentation and contracts through recovery of unpaid invoices to handling labour disputes. In an ever-changing legal environment, particularly in the UAE where the pace of growth is prolific, legal complications can crop up at any time and having the right Corporate Lawyer at your disposal can be invaluable.

How can a corporate lawyer help you?

1- Protect your legal interests
2- Labor issues
3- Partnership disputes
4- Financial help (banking issues and unpaid invoices)
5- Facilitate mergers & acquisitions
6- Preparation of legally sound contracts to protect you and your clients interests and intentions.

What are the benefits?

1- Due to the complexity of the laws, it is difficult for a businessman to follow and understand let alone doing so at the same time as running a business. Your corporate lawyer can remove this burden allowing you to focus on what you do best.
2- The frequent changes in law make it tricky for a business person to keep track and can be caught out unknowingly. A good Corporate Lawyer will be up to date with these changes and advise you how and when to adapt.
3- A lawyer may perform a dual role by acting as a legal advisor and legal counsel to the firm at the same time.
4- You can conduct your business safe in the comfort that the legal processes binding your contracts and agreements are effective.

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labor-blog

Labor and Employees Rights in UAE

Most employees working in the UAE are not familiar with the laws governing that employment and the significant differences that will exist from their home country. This is particularly evident in the case of termination of an employee.

All matters relating to employment relations in the private sector are governed by Federal law No 8, 1980. When looking to hire someone, the employer has to follow specific procedures including obtaining a residence visa for the employee.

All expats that reside in the UAE and are hired by a company (license holder) on residence visa will also need to obtain a labor card.

The application of labor law generally favors the employee in the event of a dispute. This essentially means that any contractual provisions made by the employer (side contracts, local contracts for example) other than the UAE law will not be considered and the law of the land would prevail, unless those provisions were in the favor of the employee. Common examples of additional contractual provisions that are often contained in side contracts may include, lower gratuity, extended probation periods (more than six months) or notice periods other than between 1 and 3 months.

In general, there are 7 specific rights of labor that must be adhered to:

1- Annual leave – entitled 2 days leave for every month after finishing probation period

2- An air ticket to home country

3- Salary to be paid for full notice period

4- Over time should be paid (over and above the limits of UAE labor law)

5- All earned salary must be paid up to date

6- Compensation to be given for unfair termination

7- Gratuity to be paid at the end of service (unless specific reason for termination under article 120, gross misconduct)

Important: There can be other additional rights as well but employees will only be entitled to the above rights if they complete their probation period as agreed.

top-blog

Top 5 Articles on UAE Laws

When searching for information on law and legal services on the internet, you will indeed find many examples and variations on many if not all themes. The tricky part is knowing which ones are still correct today (the law changes and have the articles you are reading been updated accordingly?). We are continually contributing to the web with our latest articles to help researchers find the information they need and, very importantly to assist those searching for reputable and knowledgeable law firms in Dubai. Below is a list of few articles submitted by Al Riyami Advocates and Muheyeldin International Legal Consultants,

1- Adoption laws in UAE – There are a growing number of cases of adoption in UAE due to the fact that women tend to fear to bear a child outside the marriage. The cause makes them abandon the child leaving them for adoption.

2- Establish a Company in Dubai – Whether it is connecting airlines or sea ships that dock at the port all made Dubai an important international destination. People from all over the world now want to setup their local branch to make entry into this newly built market.

3- Property Laws in UAE – A recent real estate sector boom resulted in increased property demand and prices. The laws relating to property in UAE can be complex so you should be familiar and careful.

4- Divorce in UAE – The UAE has the highest divorce rate in the region with Dubai being the top contributor. Top reasons for a divorce in UAE and Dubai include fights among families.

5- UAE Drug Laws – Drug law in UAE has recently been changed; they have lowered the punishment for the first timers! Options other than jail include sending them to a rehabilitation center; make them pay a 10,000 Dhs fine or community service.

coins2-blog

What can you Inherit in the UAE

The question of inheritance is raised frequently, particularly regarding what happens if a family member dies and has not made a will. In that situation, the law of the country in which you are residing will have a major impact on any inheritance and the distribution of the deceased assets. Making a will can ensure that assets are distributed according to the wishes of the deceased but it is relevant to note that some types of assets may still fall under the laws of the land in which you are residing (for example, immoveable assets).

In the UAE, if a non-Muslim dies leaving assets which have to be distributed among their heirs, as per Article 17/1, a request has to be made to the court to follow their home country laws, failing which, the assets will be distributed according to Sharia law. Moreover, Article 17/5 has put some limitations on the freedom of disposition of assets which include properties here in UAE.

Below is an example which will explain the beneficiaries under Sharia law,

Case 1:
If the deceased person has a family of father, mother, wife and three children (1 brother and 2 sisters) then,
1/8 share will be given to wife, 1/6 share will be given to mother and father and the remaining share will be divided among brother and sisters where the brother will get double the amount of the shares the daughters are entitled to.

Case 2:
If the deceased does not have any children then,
1/4 share will go to wife, 1/3 share will go to mother and the remaining assets will pass to the father

Case 3:
If the deceased has no wife or children but a surviving father and mother then,
1/3 share will be given to the mother and the remaining wealth will be given to the father

Case 4:
In the event the deceased is survived solely by his mother and wife
1/3 + R will be given to mother and 1/4 + R will be given to wife

Case 5:
Where the deceased leaves behind a father, mother, wife, and daughters,
Daughters will get half of the total amount whereas 1/6 share will be given to the mother, 1/8 share will be given to wife, the and 1/6 share plus the remaining amount will be given to the father

Case 6:
If survived by a father, mother, wife, and son,
1/6 share will be given to the father, 1/6 share will be given to the mother, 1/8 share will be given to wife and the remaining amount will go to the son.

Case 7:
If there are no parents and only a wife and children assuming there is a son then the wealth will be distributed among them. In case there is no father and son then uncles will also take the share and the equation will be,
1/6 share will be given to the mother, wife will be given 1/4 share and the remainder will be distributed among the siblings (paternal brothers only)
If there is a daughter and not a son then it will be as,
1/6 share will be left to the mother, 1/8 share to the wife, half to be equally distributed among the daughters and any remainder will be passed to the siblings (only brothers).

adoption-blog

Laws of Adoption in UAE

There are a growing number of cases where adoption is authorized in the UAE. Entering a sexual relationship outside of marriage is a crime in the UAE and offenders may face serious criminal charges. Sadly, in some instances, children born from such relationships are sometimes abandoned to avoid these circumstances but the law makes allowances for these children to be taken care of.

Under Islamic Law, it is forbidden to adopt a child because it interferes with ancestry but it allows that an abandoned child can benefit from the love and care of a family. In such circumstances, a court order is required to give that child the family name of the adopting parents.

UAE nationals are not permitted to adopt but expats may do so if the law of their home country gives them permission to do so. The option allows expats residing in UAE to adopt children from countries other than UAE provided they follow all the rules and regulations governing the process.

The UAE law is structured to support an abandoned child and may even give UAE citizenship and a passport in some cases, according to Article 2(e) of the Federal Law (1975).

company-blog

Establishing a Company in Dubai

The growth of Dubai over the last 15 years as an economic hub has been prolific.  Whether wishing to establish a branch of an existing business to utilize the strategic geographical location or looking to start a new venture in the region, setting up a company in Dubai can take as little as one working week.

To simplify the process, there are a number of steps to be considered and prepared for to make it as smooth as possible.

  • The business type and activity will determine which category of business license will be required and should be reflected in the trading name selected.
  • The structure and type of license may also be determined by th business activity your business will cover. Some businesses, Law for example cannot be licensed as a sole proprietor.
  • As an expat, if you wish to have 100% ownership of the company, it will need to be formed in one of the Freezone authorities which will in turn have restrictions on where and who you can conduct business with.
  • To establish a license and carry out business in mainland Dubai, you will need to apply for a trade license from the Dubai Economic Department. This license will require you to have a local partner or sponsor who, by law, must hold a minimum of 51% ownership of the company.
  • The particulars of how the company will operate in terms of profit and loss will be determined in the legal documentation (Memorandum of Association). Speak to your legal advisor to ensure your documentation adequately protects your interest in the business.