A reader asks what the punishment is for a bounced cheque and another asks if they can apply their country's laws to a transaction between family members
UAE legal Q&As: what is the punishment for a bounced cheque now?
I am a businessman and I have a small shop in Dubai where I am based. I gave a cheque of Dh150,000 to one of my suppliers. Due to lack of cash flow I was not able to honour the cheque. I heard that cheque cases now are not punishable by jail sentence like before. Is it true?
In Dubai as per law No 1 of 2017 called Criminal Order Law the cheque cases, if its less than Dh200,000, it shall only be punishable by fine. This fine varies between Dh2,000 to Dh10,000 depending on the cheque value. Such decisions could be given by the prosecution within a very short amount of time without any need to refer you to criminal courts.
However, you have to bear in mind that the complainant still has the right to file a civil case against you to claim the cheque value and an interest of 12 per cent starting from the cheque date. They could also request the court to enforce you to pay the court charges and legal costs.
The complainant also has the right to request the civil courts to cease your company bank account up to the amount of Dh200,000 until the civil case is decided. They may also, request the civil courts to issue a travel ban order on an urgent basis against you until the civil court issues its final decision and you pay back the money.
I am an European citizen. I am in the process of selling my assets to a family member in the UAE. Can I write in the contract that the applicable law is our home country’s law?
Unfortunately that is not possible, because Article 19 of Federal Law No (5) of 1985 on the Civil Transactions Law of the UAE, states that “1. Contractual commitments in form and context shall be governed by the law of the State where the common residence of the contracting parties is located. Should they have different residences, the law of the State where the contract is made shall apply, unless the parties agree otherwise, or the conditions show that another law is to be applied.
2. However, the law on the location of the real estate is the law to be applied on contracts made in this regard.”
Therefore, the law applicable on the real estate has to be UAE laws.
If you have a question for our lawyer, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Know the law”.