Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Abu Dhabi lawsuits can now be filed online

New mobile app allows applicants to file claims in minutes

Hindi, English and Mandarin have joined Arabic as the official languages of the Abu Dhabi court system. Andrew Henderson / The National
Hindi, English and Mandarin have joined Arabic as the official languages of the Abu Dhabi court system. Andrew Henderson / The National

Abu Dhabi residents can now file lawsuits via a mobile app, government officials have announced.

Authorities said the system was intended to accelerate the claims process and broaden access to legal assistance.

Ahmad Al Marzooqi, head of internal operations at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said the scheme could also avoid the need for court appearances.

He said the technology would enable users to file claims “within minutes” and subsequent hearings could also be dealt with via video calls.

“Applicants can upload the required documents and pay the fees online,” he told The National. “They can also attend hearings via video conference.”

Over recent months, officials at the ADJD have taken a number of steps to improve the public’s access to the courts.

In February, authorities announced that Hindi was to become the third official language of the Abu Dhabi legal system, allowing Indian foreign nationals the right to lodge claims in their own language.

Mandarin soon followed and, last year, a new law also required plaintiffs to translate all court documents into English in civil and commercial cases, if respondents did not speak Arabic.

Speaking on Monday, officials denied the use of a mobile app to launch legal claims would lead to a spike in trivial cases.

“No one will file a lawsuit just like that for no reason because they still have to pay fees,” said Khawla Al Qubaisi, IT director at ADJD.

“And if they are claiming money, they have to pay 5 per cent of the amount claimed to the department.”

The ADJD has also recently launched an online system to assist with trial preparation procedures.

The initiative again aims to reduce the need for court appearances, instead relying on video conference calls.

“After you file a lawsuit, it [the case] goes through case preparation where lawyers involved are required to present certain documents before the case goes in front of a judge,” said Mr Al Marzooqi.

“Now they can do it all online through a video conference.”

Dr Salah Al Junaibi, head of communications at ADJD, said: “We have many court users who speak Mandarin. When we made the announcement, it got a lot of attention in the Chinese media. We expect investors and visitors to be more encouraged to come to Abu Dhabi.”

Updated: March 18, 2019 08:30 PM

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