criminal law


December 03, 2017



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The time limit for filing a civil suit here will depend on the initial criminal case

Question: I am an advocate in Asia. I filed a criminal suit in the UAE last year, which was dismissed by the UAE courts. They ordered me to file a civil suit. What would be the time limit to file it?

Answer: There are different time limits for filing a civil case depending on the charges and scenario. The precise answer to this question would depend on the ground of the criminal case that was first filed in the UAE. In general, the tort liability (legal obligation of one party to a victim as a result of a civil wrongdoing) is not the only liability for the civil claim.

As per Article 124 of the Civil Transaction Law No 5 of 1985, "personal obligations or rights derive from the legal acts of disposal and facts and from the law. The sources of obligations are: the contract; unilateral act; tort (a wrongful act or an infringement of a right leading to legal liability); the beneficial act; and the law."

Therefore, the time limit would depend on the grounds of the criminal case. If it were a tort case, then the limit would be three years. If it were a claim for compensation the limit would be three years, as under Article No 298 of the UAE Civil Transaction Law.

Article 476 of the same law states that "if denied and in the absence of a legal excuse, a case may not be heard after the lapse of two years if it concerns a claim for the following rights: The rights of merchants and manufacturers in respect of things supplied to persons who do not trade in such things; rights of hotel and restaurant owners for the cost of accommodation and food and for expenses incurred by them on behalf of their clients; the rights of workmen, servants and wage earners in respect of their pay, daily or otherwise, and the cost of supplies provided by them."

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