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February 23, 2016|
Witness hearing is common in personal matters before the courts in the UAE. Provisions for witnesses in personal matters exist in the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 on Personal Status, with a distinction between testimonial value of males and females, whereas for the non-Muslim federal personal law, Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022, there are no distinctions between witnesses as such.
After the witnesses have made their statements in the Family Court, there is usually one more hearing after that to allow both parties to comment on the statements of the witnesses. The number of hearings following the witness statements depends on the Family Court. It is not restricted to one hearing; it can call for multiple hearings following the statements of the witnesses. This rule applies to family cases in general where the witness statements carry a lot of weight with the court in assessing the rights and obligations of the parties.
After the hearing following the witness statements have come to an end, the Family Court then gives a judgment in the family case. The judgment, however, has to be in a separate hearing or session of the Family Court. The judgment includes all details of the claims raised by both parties and lays out the terms, rights and obligations of both parties about their family dispute. This judgment by the family court can be appealed by either party within 30 days from the date of the judgment.
Once the appeal is made and registered by the party, the other party is notified by the family court of this appeal and also made aware of the contents and nature of the appeal. The appeal process is much like the process before the judgment which may include multiple hearings by both parties. These hearings allow both parties to comment, challenge and make legal arguments for or against the contents of the appeal raised by the party.
It is pertinent to note that the appeal process, much like the process before judgment, allows for witnesses to be introduced or re-introduced in the Family Court. This allows both parties an equal opportunity to prove their case. The sample principles of witnesses are applied to the witnesses in the appeal hearing as those required for statements during the case.
Following the hearings in the court of appeal, and after the witness statements have been heard, the Family court then prepares a judgment. As previously stated, the judgment is issued in a separate session of the Family Court. This judgment is binding, but not final. The judgment in the Appeal court can be appealed and challenged in the court of Cassation within thirty days. However, that appeal must be based on a point of law and not a point of fact. In most cases, the judgment in the court of appeal is final before moving to the execution of the judgment.
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.
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