criminal law

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December 11, 2019

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"I will Whatsapp you the details", is a commonly used statement as Whatsapp is frequently used online platform compared to any other electronic communication platforms. With a constant increase in the usage of Whatsapp messages in our daily routine, a lot of people have started asking if these messages can be used written evidence before the court of law. Well, Top Lawyers of Dubai affirms the acceptance of Whatsapp messages in the courts of UAE.

The law governing the electronic evidence is Federal Law No. 1 of 2006 Concerning Electronic Transactions and Commerce herein mentioned as the Electronic Transactions Law. Wherein, Article 5/1 of the Electronic Transactions Law stipulates that "1- If the law requires retention of document, record or information for whatever reason, this condition is satisfied by retention of this document, record or information in electronic record form, provided that the following conditions are observed:

  1. Retention of the electronic record in its original form, in which it was generated, sent or received, or in form accurately reflects the information as it was originally generated, sent or received.
  2. Retention of information be accessible for later usage and reference.
  3. Retention of information - if existing- which enables to determine the electronic message origin, destination, date and time of its sending and receipt.”

It is evident from the foregoing provision that the Whatsapp message retained in your mobile device can be utilized as evidence. However, any message transferred from any other electronic device to your mobile device cannot be treated as evidence.

In addition, Article 4 of the Electronic Transactions Law all the contents retained in the electronic device can be utilized as evidence in the courts; the law reads as follows:

"1. Electronic message shall not be denied legal effect and enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.

2. Information proven in the electronic message shall not be denied legal conclusiveness, even if is briefly mentioned, if review of the details of these information is available within the electronic system of its originator, and that review directions are indicated in the message."

Another significant provision for any commercial dispute between the parties in Article 6 of the Electronic Transactions Law which mentions that

“1. This Law does not demand any person to use or accept information in electronic form, but the consent of this person is concluded from his positive conduct. 2- All parties relating to generating, sending, receiving, storing or processing any electronic record are allowed to conclude agreements contrary to any of the provisions mentioned in Chapter 2 to Chapter 4 of this Law. 3- As an exclusion of the provisions of paragraph (1) previously mentioned, the Government's acceptance of electronic dealing in transactions to which it is a party must be explicit.”

Based on the aforesaid provisions, all courts in UAE accepts Whatsapp messages as relevant proof in any proceedings be it criminal, civil, commercial, or family disputes between the parties. However, it is pertinent to highlight that these communications shall be printed and translated in Arabic to be deemed accepted in the court as evidence.

 

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