Amicable Dispute Settlement Center
Taiba Al Saffar
The Center for Amicable Settlement of Disputes was established in 2009 under Law No. (16) or 2009 to amicably settle disputes with values up to AED 50,000. These disputes are usually settled through negotiations between all parties to reach a settlement as quickly as possible without court procedures. The Center must work on settling the dispute in a maximum of one month from the date which the parties presented the dispute to the Center. This period may be extended further only be a decision from the relevant Judge.
The settlements of disputes will be reviewed by the members of the Center before it is filed as a case and is then handled by a number of mediators under the direct supervision of the concerned judge. Once a settlement is reached, the settlement agreement must be signed by all parties involved, attested by the relevant judge and thus enforced immediately. Upon completion, 50% of the paid court fees will be returned to the parties. If there is no mutual settlement, the dispute will then be referred to the relevant court.
Relevant Areas of Disputes:
- Commonly owned property
- Debt of a maximum value of AED 50,000 (which was only AED 20,000 in 2009)
- Disputes agreed to be settled before the Center by an agreement set by all parties
- Appointing an expert whether this request was made by itself or linked to another request
- If one of the parties is a bank
- “Upon the request of the two parties in the considered claims before the Courts of First Instance, Commercial Civil Courts, Real Estate Courts after the approval of the appropriate head of the department”
Exceptions to the Center’s areas of dispute settlement:
- Urgent claims
- Claims where the government is one of the parties
- Claims which are not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts
- Claims which were registered in the courts before this law was enforced
- Labor disputes
- Family or personal status disputes
Requirements to register a claim:
Similarly to court procedures, two copies entailing the names, emails and postal addresses of both the claimant and the defendant as well as the claim and request itself must be submitted in writing. A copy of the request must be made according to the number defendants. As it would be in court procedures, any supporting documents must be submitted in Arabic; one copy for the Center and one for each defendant. If the claimant is unable to attend the hearings personally, a lawyer or an attested and notarized representative can attend on the claimant’s behalf.
- All documents along with the request must be submitted to the Registration Department at the Center
- All legal fees must be paid
- A hearing session will be scheduled for deliberating the claim and the claimant shall be notified with the date and time of the hearing
- A notification will be sent to the defendant regarding the hearing via all available methods (including writ)
- The dispute will be reviewed and considered by the center and once completed, the Center will either issue a decision of reconciliation or refer the claim to the relevant court.
Legal Terms Counterclaim: a claim made by a defendant in retaliation to the plaintiff in a lawsuit with the intention to off-set or reduce the amount of the plaintiff’s original claim against the defendant. Example: Company A sues Company B for AED 50,000 for items delivered to Company B but not paid for, and Company B counterclaims that Company A owes AED 30,000 for delivering damaged items.
- The option of not settling must be mentioned by either party during the first hearing for this right to be acknowledged.
- If copies of counterclaim documents are presented to the courts by one party, the opposing party can request the originals to be presented.
- It is not necessary to have both parties present at the same time when submitting documents, although it is preferred.
- If an expert submits a report, any party can object reasonably and either have the report sent back to the expert to further research the objection or transfer to court.