x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Plan passed for more Emirati court experts

Specialised witnesses will need just seven years of experience

ABU DHABI // It could soon become easier for Emiratis to appear in court as expert witnesses under a plan approved yesterday by the FNC and the Minister of Justice.

Emiratis and expatriates need at least 15 years' experience in their field to be called as an expert witness. The plan passed yesterday would reduce that to seven years for UAE Nationals.

Members agreed that too few Emiratis are used as expert witnesses. Several said their familiarity with the country meant less formal experience in a particular field was needed.

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) suggested the requirement for Emiratis should be cut to 10 years, while Ahmad Al Zaabi (Sharjah) went further, calling for seven years.

"We suffer from a lack of national experts," he added.

However, Ali Jassim (UAQ) argued for the status quo. "Courts involve rights of people," he said. "In usual cases, courts rule without the presence of an expert, but when the case requires a type of expertise to help the court reach a decision, there should be no difference between a local or non-local expert. You won't bring someone with five years of experience and appoint him.

"Why should we remove the condition of expertise?"