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No teeth...

I AM grateful to your correspondent Scaled Back Justice for the very erudite letter (GDN, March 3). I can assure this person and all your readers that this is not an apocryphal story but that it was actually witnessed by me.

It would be useful to go through the process followed in Bahrain for the recovery of debt. A complainant has to file a case in the civil court using the services of a registered law office. All dealings with the judge are done in writing and these papers are usually presented in court by juniors. To date I have never once heard a lawyer verbally present a case or make an argument on behalf of their client. Cases drag on for many weeks while written arguments are passed back and forth.

Finally, the honourable judge issues a statement which usually lists blame and a fiscal settlement. This document is then passed to the execution directorate which is tasked with recovering and satisfying the wronged person. But this directorate has no teeth. It can only send out letters and schedule hearings which are normally ignored by the guilty and cases drag on for years or until the wronged party gives up or leaves the country. In most countries this directorate would be armed with bailiffs with the power to confiscate movable property and bank assets, but sadly, not in Bahrain.

I have been told by court officials that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pending files in the directorate, commonly of expatriates trying to recoup money from local businesses, which will remain in the system for years.

My advice to anyone who has a court judgement against them is just to ignore all summonses and avoid visiting the courts or at least until the court process is restructured and made effective. I would love to see a change for the better and I should be happy to assist in this change, especially if it could then be said that the law really does apply to all.

Dr Joe

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Mar 9, 2013
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