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While the financial crisis saw many property companies falter, there are not many examples where clients are able to successfully claim money back through the courts; so Awatif M. Shoqi Advocates has achieved a rare success.
In 2008, our client put a 15 per cent deposit down on a unit, to the tune of Dhs 6,211,599. However, seven years later only five per cent of the apartment had been built.
Our client decided to claim this deposit money back from the defendant. During the first trial, the client won when the court in Dubai found the developer’s actions were against the principle of good faith, as the contractual obligations were not executed within a proper time from the date of signing the contract. The judge determined five per cent completion in seven years did not demonstrate seriousness in executing the project and – in accordance with Article 247 of the Civil Transactional Law – our client had the right to not complete the payment when he observed the developer was not executing his part of the transaction.
However, the respondent appealed in 2014 on the basis the company was not properly notified; the court clerk attempted to deliver notification of the filed case to the firm’s Abu Dhabi office – but an employee refused to accept it, so they advertised in the newspaper. The appeal court nullified the original judgment on the basis, as argued by the respondent, the notification was not sent to the head office in Dubai.
But our client and team persisted. The case returned to the Court of First Instance, where the judge again sided with our client. This time, on appeal, the Cassation Court found our client was entitled to a refund of his money, plus court charges and interest at a rate of 5 per cent from the date of filing the claim.
Firm partner Dr. Hassan El Hais was thrilled with the success of this lone client against a big property developer.
This is a case proves any party can win, that when the law is on their side – no matter how big or small.
If you have a property law matter that you would like one of our experts to advise on, please contact +971 4 355 8000.