criminal law


April 29, 2017



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Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Criminal Case About Bounced Cheque?

Question: I received a cheque from somebody and I submitted it to my bank within six months of receiving it. However, it has been returned due to insufficient funds. I know that I could file a criminal or commercial case but is there a time limit when it comes to filing such cases?

Answer: You have the right to file a criminal case within five years from the date of receiving the cheque. This is per article no 20 of the Criminal Procedures Law of 1992 and its amendments. But, unfortunately, you do not have the same amount of time to file a commercial case as that would have to be filed within two years against the person who signed and delivered you the cheque, in accordance with article no 638/1 of the Commercial Transactions Law of 1993 and its amendments. There are also some factors that could reduce the period of time a case can be filed within, depending on the case, so it is wise to evaluate your options with your lawyer.

UPDATE: In 2020, the United Arab Emirates issued Federal Decree Number 14 of 2020 (Issued on 27 Sep 2020) which amended and added new articles to the UAE Commercial Transaction Law No. 18 of 1993 and the UAE Penal Code. The new changes have come into force from January 2022 onwards and one of the most significant changes introduced is the limited scope of criminalization for returned cheques on account of insufficient funds.

Narrowed Criminality: The new amendments bring in narrowed criminality in matters concerning cheques. The provision related to criminal sanctions for insufficiency of funds in the UAE Penal Code has been deleted, effectively meaning that there will be no criminal liability if the cheque has bounced because of insufficiency of funds. Pursuant to the new changes, only specified actions will invite criminal action, including but not limited to the following:

  • Intentionally falsifying cheques
  • Instances of fraud: This covers circumstances wherein the issuer instructs the respective bank, not the pay the cheque amount
  • Providing counterfeit cheques
  • Withdrawing the account balance before the date of the cheque encashment in order to prevent the cheque from being cleared.

Reference: Federal Decree Number 14 of 2020 amending the UAE Commercial Transaction Law No. 18 of 1993.

Issue Date: 27 Sep 2020

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Hi, I had a cheque bounce case on 1st Jan 2019 and i paid fine and case was closed.Now whats is the maximum time period to file a civil case against to me? I heared from someone that,after criminal case maximum duration is 3 year yo file a civil case, it it correct? Please advice.
Please be informed that writing a cheque with the intent to dishonor it is a criminal offense. Moreover, the creditor may also file a civil case to recover the outstanding amount. To discuss your legal options, you may meet with a legal consultant. Kindly let us know if you would like to avail of our consultation service.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Dr. Hassan Elhais
I had issued a cheque in Singapore for 200000 USD for some work to be done. He did not do the work and at the same time deposited the same and it bounced. This was in sept 2019.What is the legal procedure in Singapore? He has not sent any notice for the same. There is a MOU signed for this work and this cheque is given for the woj in MOU. My question is 1. What is the time limit he can file a case in case he wants to do the same. In india you have to file in 30 days if the cheque being bounced. 2. What does the law in Singapore says for this.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide you advise in this matter as this is outside of our jurisdiction to assist. We can only provide advise on UAE laws and not on the laws of Singapore. Please feel free to contact us if you have any future enquiry that we can assist you with.   Dr. Hassan Elhais
i have 60k credit in my credit card i want closed this my comany cut may slarary 50% cant continue to pay .. i have cash 25k come to thier office they cant help me they need a 60k cash or they wil file a case to me a civil case
Thank you for your comments. With regards to your outstanding liability towards your bank, you may pursue a settlement with your bank and the acceptance of any offer either by the bank or yourself in pursuant of the settlement efforts is totally at the discretion of the parties. Based on whether or not any cheque issued by you and in the possession of the bank has bounced, a criminal and a civil case may be filed against you.   Dr. Hassan Elhais
I have problem with the cheques,i give to someone a blank check with my sign for guarantee check only.he deposited my check he write a big amount 90,000aed but i only borrowed 50,000aed he filed me a case in police and I already bailed,now our case is in the court,now he kept calling me to have settlement and he is threatening me that he is local,he will file me a civil case.i tell him i will pay only for the money i take but he dont want he want the money he put in that check.i have evidence in my bank account that he deposited only 50,000aed.what should i do?i go again to jail?thankyou
In furtherance to your matter below, kindly be informed that all criminal cases for cheques bounce in Dubai and are under AED 200,000 mostly only involves fine and no imprisonment. Further, I advise you to meet one of our legal consultants to discuss the civil case.

Please feel free to contact us if you wish to schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers and I would be happy to arrange it for you.   Dr. Hassan Elhais
i have bounced cheque issued by a owner of proprietorship company, dated 20.09.2018 for 40000, can i file a case against him in fast track court in dubai ? as cheque bounced in dubai, how much time can it take and is therre any fees ? i have to pay to court ?
Please be informed that the act of writing a cheque, which would eventually be dishonored is considered a crime. If the criminal case is registered within the Emirate of Dubai, the Prosecution may pass a decision to punish the accused with a fine should the amount of the dishonored cheque not exceed AED200,000/- You can also file a civil case to claim the outstanding amount. Accordingly, you may avail the services of a lawyer to handle your matter. Should you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Dr. Hassan Elhais

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