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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

UAE legal Q&As: I agreed to pay friend after sale of car but now he’s threatening to sue

A man asks if his friend has a right to take legal action despite an agreement being in place, while a small business owner enquires about appealing a commercial case verdict

I owe a friend of mine some money and I told him that I would pay him back after I sold my car. He requested I give him this in writing so I wrote a note saying I would pay him back after I sold my car and we both signed it. However, now my friend does not want to wait until I sell the car and he says he wants the money right away and is threatening to sue me. My problem is finding a right buyer for the car at the right price. I am afraid of legal action but I wanted to know if he has the right to follow through with it?

I do not think he has the right to do that, if your signed contract with him clearly states that you’ve to pay him after the car is sold. The payment after the sale of the car is what is termed a commitment suspended in condition. Civil Transaction Law 5 of 1985 covers such scenarios with very clear and transparent language. Article 420 of that law states that “the condition is a future fact upon which the existence of the act or its extinction depends on its materialisation”. As per Article 422 of the same law this would be a suspended act, which is tied up to the future event of you selling your car. Therefore, the contract enforcement is suspended until the condition occurs and will not be able to be executed unless after the condition is fulfilled. Article 427 of this law also provides similar guidance, meaning that your friend would not be successful with legal action if the contract is used as evidence.

I have a small company and somebody filed a commercial case against me. I lost the case before the court of first instance and now I want to appeal it. How long do I have to appeal?

To appeal a commercial judgment, the claimed amount needs to be more than Dh20,000, in accordance with Article 30 of Civil Procedures Law 11 of 1992 and its amendments. The appeal has to be registered within 30 days from the date of judgment, in accordance with Article 159 from the same law.

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