Family Court Process .pdf
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Title: Family Court Process
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Family Court Process
Legal Articles: UAE Family Law
By Mr. Hassan Elhais - Legal Consultant in Dubai
1. Statement of Claim
The statement of Claim is drafted by the Claimant or the lawyer. The statement of claim has to
be in writing and in the Arabic language. The statement of claim should include the names of
the parties, the location, and addresses of the parties along with their phone numbers, the legal
grounds for the claim and the request and demand of the claimant. The statement of claim is a
summary of the facts and leads the way further into the process.
2. Submitting the Claim
The statement of Claim is submitted to the Family Court via an online system. After the claim is
received by the Case Management Department at the Family Court, the claim is studied.
Following this, the court might ask the claimant for further clarification of the submitted claim
which might include clarification of the facts, or the contact details of the parties, or any other
information the Court thinks is necessary for the claim to proceed to the next step in the Family
3. Notification Process
The notification process is, perhaps the most challenging part of the proceedings for the
claimant. The notification process is lengthy and time-consuming and can take up 30% to 40%
of the time of the entire case. This time can be anywhere up to 4 months.
Upon the filing of the case, the Notifier (Clerk of the Court) shall issue a summons for service of
the Court proceedings upon each Respondent listed.
The summons shall be signed by the Court and it must contain the name and address of the
Court and the names and addresses of all the parties. It must be directed to the Respondent(s)
and includes the date on which the Respondent is asked to appear at Court for the initial
The Notifier (Clerk of the Court) shall take the summons and attempt to serve the same on the
Respondent. However, there are many cases in which the clerk is unable to serve the
Respondent, for example, when the provided information regarding the Respondent's place of
work or residence is unclear, incorrect or the Respondent was not present at the address when
the service was attempted.
In circumstances where the Notifier was unable to give notice to the Respondent, the Judge will
adjourn the hearing and make an order to follow the Guidance procedure. This process enables
the Claimant or his representative to accompany a clerk to the Respondent's home to attempt
to serve him. If this process still does not result in the Respondent being served, the Judge will
order an 'Investigation' to take place.
If the Guidance does not help for any reason, such as the address does not exist or it was
closed, then the court shall postpone the case for an investigation process. This means that the
official letter shall be sent by the court to Immigration and CID to find out information about
the opposing party.
At this stage, there are two likely scenarios:
If the Government authorities report back stating that they do not have any information about
the Respondent, the matter shall proceed to the Publication Stage (see below). It is rare that
the Governmental authorities cannot provide information on an individual.
If the Governmental authorities do provide useful information about the location of the
individual, the notification process will be repeated, with or without Guidance.
If the Respondent could not be notified, the Judge will adjourn the hearing to allow a
publication to be made in the newspaper. An advertisement will be made in a UAE-based
newspaper requesting the Respondent make contact with the Court within a certain period.
The publication can be made in Arabic and/or English and the cost of the publication must be
borne by the Claimant. If the Respondent does not contact the Court within the time period,
the Judge may order that a further advertisement is published in the newspaper.
After both publications, if the Respondent does not attend the next hearing listed, the case will
be postponed for judgment.
In some circumstances, the Respondent is correctly served by the Notifier but fails to attend the
initial hearing. In such circumstances, the Court decides to notify the Respondent for the
second time and in the event that the Respondent fails to appear for the second time the
Judgment is made by the Court.
4. Memos Process
Following the notification of the parties, the process of exchanging memos starts. The initial
memo is submitted by the Claimant or his lawyer to the court. After this is done, one of two
things are likely to happen: Firstly, The Respondent might ask the court for more time to study
the Claim or time to appoint a lawyer. Secondly, If the claimant attended the first hearing
himself, his lawyer is likely to ask for time to study the file. These requests shall be submitted in
writing to the court.
5. Offering Settlement
It is mandated by Law, that during te course of the proceedings, the court must offer the
Parties an amicable settlement to the dispute at least once. The court has wide discretion as to
when it think it appropriate to do so, however, it is a compulsory step by the court. This offer of
an amicable settlement can be offered by the court both at the First Instance stage as well as
the Appeals stage.
Keeping the significance and the moral structure of the society and the importance of family
therein, the offer of a settlement by the court is the last attempt by the court to reconcile
between the parties. The parties are required to be present, in person, at this stage.
If an amicable settlement is reached between the Parties at this stage, an agreement is drafted
and placed in front of the judge for his approval. If and when he accepts, the agreement
becomes part of the judgment in the case and id documented for all future reference as both
parties are bound by the terms and conditions of this agreement.
If no amicable solution is reached, the case resumes and takes its legal course.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hassan Elhais
After qualifying as a lawyer in his native Egypt and years of successful practice within the field
of criminal and public law, Mr. Elhais moved to Dubai in 2005 and has been practicing as a legal
consultant in Dubai since then. Working exclusively with Al Rowaad Advocates, Hassan is an
effective leader of the company, the spokesperson and driving force. Hassan has a strong
ethical stance with regards to the place of the law firm and its work on behalf of the client,
from clarity on the legal process through to the fee system.
Specializing in the drafting of all statement of claim, memos and consultation with regards to all
kind of litigation, Hassan has worked his way through the ranks of Al Rowaad Advocates from
joining as Legal Advisor to his current role as Managing Partner. Member of Egypt Bar
Association; Member of International Bar Association; and Recommended Lawyer of Embassy
of United States in Abu Dhabi.
Copyright Hassan Elhais
For more information about Hassan Elhais – Legal Consultant in Dubai