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New laws on legal fees seek to ensure justice for all.

Abu Dhabi: Legal fees can be delayed, waived or even refunded under a new set of laws that aim to allow all classes of society an equal opportunity to obtain their rights, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) said on Wednesday.

Employees registered with the Ministry of Labour seeking remuneration from their companies can file a lawsuit with the department free of charge.

Complainants able to reconcile with the other party during the first hearing can claim a refund of three-quarters of the amount they paid to file the lawsuit. Those able to reconcile during the second hearing are entitled to half the money they paid to file the case.

"Housemaids, agricultural workers, camel caretakers and those with similar occupations can also file lawsuits seeking pending wages free of charge regardless of the amount," Abdul Hafez Zaidan, deputy head of the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance, said. "These steps will ensure that everybody is able to obtain their rights through the courts while ensuring that ADJD employees and judges are not overwhelmed with cases. Sometimes, placing a small nominal fee on a transaction gives judges the time to study each case extensively and focus on quality instead of quantity," he added.

In rare situations, where the judge may have a personal relationship with one of the parties and is therefore deemed unsuitable for overseeing the case, a complete refund will be made to the complainant after a new judge is appointed.

"At times when an expert from outside the ADJD is required or a statement needs to published in the newspapers and the plaintiff is unable to pay, the department makes the payment on the party's behalf. All these special scenarios have been taken into consideration to ease the burden on individuals while ensuring smooth procedures," Zaidan said.

For courts of First Instance, the amount required to file a case may depend on the number of requests pending at the corresponding court. A fee is determined based on this assessment. However, there is a ceiling of Dh10,000 in fees for appeals.

"This proves that the ADJD is not seeking to take people's money, but is charging members of the public based on circumstances and an extensive set of scenarios. For those wanting to waive the fees completely, a petition has to be submitted which will then be studied by a committee," Zaidan added.

Disabled individuals involved in a case pertaining to the law on disability rights can also file cases free. A cap has been placed on compensation that can be sought by victims or complainants, depending on the situation, with the aim of creating a realistic set of expectations from those involved.

A full set of the new rules can be found in booklets available at the ADJD.

Parties reconciling after the first hearing can claim three-quarters of the lawsuit fee.

Parties reconciling after the second hearing can claim half of the lawsuit fee.

Housemaids can also file lawsuits seeking pending wages free of charge regardless of the amount.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 26, 2014
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