A New Era of Litigation by Remote Visual Communication Techniques in the UAE
On 26/03/2020, the services of the Courts and the Notary Public had been suspended for a period of four (4) weeks, as precautionary measures to ensure public safety from the ongoing pandemic caused by Covid-19.
However, Courts and other legal forums in the UAE, continue to undertake measures to ensure that the legal systems continue rendering its services and responsibilities to the people; this includes the use of technologies such as visual communication systems for holding distance hearings.
The use of video conferencing for legal processes is based on the UAE Federal Law No. 5 of 2017. Regarding the use of Video Conference Technology in Criminal Proceedings, which permits the competent authorities to conduct proceedings by holding video conferences with the concerned parties including the accused, victims, witnesses, lawyers, experts, translator, the civil right claimant or the civil right official.
One such measure undertaken is that of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (“ADJD”), vide the Administrative Resolution No. 61 of 2020 (“Resolution”). The Resolution sets out the provisions pertaining to the court processes and the services of the notary public amid the preventative measures taken by the UAE Government against the spread of COVID-19. The Resolution comes as an assurance by the Hon’ble Judicial Department to guarantee the protection of rights of the people, tackle any hindrances to the people from exercising their remedial rights and the delivery of justice by the Judiciary.
Parties who seek any services from the ADJD will be required to sign up via the Smart Pass Login service on the Court website (www.adjd.gov.ae) and register.
This is a mandatory step to be complied with prior to initiating a court case or dispute resolution, requesting for a court order, filing an appeal before Courts/ Public Prosecutors, filing for execution with the Execution Department, dispute resolution department, expert’s meetings and notary public & attestation services including but not limited to power of attorney, wills for non-Muslims, pledges, contracts, signature approval, service agent, work and partnership contracts, marriage contracts, mortgage contract, etc.
Notary Public Services
Following the creation of the Smart Pass, one must also comply with the following requirements/processes for notarizing any document:
- Upload the documents on the online portals for pre-approval and signature before submitting the application.
- An appointment will be scheduled for the notarization of the document to be carried out via video conference; the notification of appointment will be via an e-mail mentioned in the application.
- The party must download the Cisco Webex Meetings application before the scheduled appointment.
Upon the Notary Public’s receipt of all the required documents through the online portals for the Notary Public & Attestation Services on the ADJD website, the Notary Public will contact the concerned party via video conference. This is done to confirm the identity of the client, check the sufficiency, validity of documents submitted and the parties’ consent to sign the document(s). Provided the Notary Public is satisfied that all the requirements are met, the Notary Public shall proceed to attest the document, and the notification regarding its approval shall be sent to the party by e-mail.
The original copies of the attested/notarized documents will then be couriered to the address of the parties by the official courier of the ADJD.
Use of the remote communication technology in legal proceedings (whether civil, commercial, labour or personal status) will be as follows:
Family Guidance Division:
Any applications to the Family Guidance Division will have to be submitted online. Following the receipt of the same, the Conciliator will contact the parties by sending a message via WhatsApp which sets out the date and time of the hearing and the necessary documents to be submitted by the parties. The Conciliator shall conduct the hearing through a video conference with the parties and may include a translator if required. With regards to matters pertaining to divorce, the Conciliator shall likewise contact the parties to confirm the identity of the parties before issuing a certificate affirming the separation of the couple concerned.
Registration of Lawsuits & service of notification:
- Applications for initiating civil proceedings will have to be registered in the Civil Court’s online portal through the office of the authorized authorities or the concerned lawyer.
- All notifications regarding the court processes regarding the concerned proceeding, including the issuance of a judgment thereof, shall be made via text messages, e-mail or other means of electronic communication.
Case Management Office:
All case management offices of the ADJD shall, in cooperation with the concerned parties and the lawyers, prepare all cases remotely by utilizing visual communication technology.
Experts appointed by the Hon’ble Court shall conduct all e-meetings with the parties or the lawyers through means of visual communication. The appointed experts also shall submit their report to the Court through the online portals.
All court hearings in civil, commercial, labour and personal status proceedings shall be conducted online, including but not limited, to the attendance of parties or their representatives, submission of documents, witnesses, pleadings and issuance of judgments.
As noted earlier, the use of video conferencing to hold hearings in criminal proceedings is based on the UAE Federal Law No. 5 of 2017 regarding the use of Video Conference Technology in Criminal Proceedings.
As a part of the implementation of the ADJD’s plan for business continuity and distant services, the Criminal Court – Abu Dhabi has expanded the activation of the remote trial system through the use of video conference technology to include all its departments.
The expansion of the application of remote litigation process reflects the level of commitment and achievements of the ADJD in enhancing the judicial system to keep pace with developments, ensure the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and address the needs of the people during these difficult times.
Bestwins COVID-19 HELPLINE:
As long-standing and reputed members of the management/legal fraternity, Bestwins has always upheld the duty of care that it owes towards the community. In furtherance of this duty, Bestwins has set-up our Helpline Numbers providing free consultations on dealing with issues and challenges, due to the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic, in your business or legal matters.
Our Helpline Nos.:
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