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Can Victims Claim Compensation?
Legal Articles: UAE Criminal Law
By Mr. Hassan Elhais ‐ Legal Consultant in Dubai
Many people often feel offended when they are charged with a Criminal case, such as for financial
crimes, physical violence, cyber crimes and so on. Some individuals think that they will receive
compensation if they file a criminal case against the accused. However, that is not the case. In
criminal cases the accused, if the guilt is proven, receives punishment accordingly. Even if the
criminal court decides to fine the accused, the fine is payable to the court, not the victim. The victim
will still have to file a separate case for claiming compensation from the accused. As people often
get confused at this stage, I decided to write this article to shed some light on the matter.
Nevertheless, it is regrettable that people face criminal offenses and trials, which might affect their
financial and personal prospects. That is why, the UAE Criminal Procedure Law gives the right to all
victims in any crimes without any exceptions, to claim compensation. Although we understand that in
many cases regardless of whether the matter is financial or non-financial, sometimes money does
not change things but it helps people ease their catastrophes.
The right of claiming money is given to the victim in the criminal procedure stage and before the
judgment of the First Instance Criminal Court and the law did not put any general limit, maximum or
minimum, for such amounts as its left to the discretionary power of the courts.
If there was insurance and there was damage done by the crime, the law even gives the insurer or
the insurance company the right to claim the money before the criminal courts at any stage of the
The criminal courts have the right decide on the civil claim, which was raised within the Criminal
Proceeding in more than one expected situations: Firstly, if the accused has been found guilty, the
courts will have the discretionary power to award the full compensation or part of it.
Secondly, if the person has been found guilty, and the court considers it to be difficult or timeconsuming to evaluate the compensation amount as it would require further investigation, they would
have the right to declare the accused as 'Guilty' and decide on his sentence. Then they would refer
the civil claim to the Civil Courts in accordance with Article 26 of UAE Criminal Procedures Law
Federal Law No. 35 of 1992.
Thirdly, if the person is found 'Not-Guilty', because the matter is solely related civil disputes, the
Criminal Courts in most cases would dismiss the criminal charges but would refer the civil cases to
the civil courts. Finally, if the accused has not been found guilty, it is more likely that the courts
would not favor the compensation.
One of the most common questions which we get from our clients is 'shall we file a civil case before
the Civil Courts now or the Criminal Courts?' Although the answer to this question varies from crime
to crime, depending on the nature of the accusation but if the client wishes to file for civil claim, it
would be more prudent to advise to file it first in the Criminal Courts. This is because that mainly
offers the victim and his lawyer, two important rights. First, to participate and attend the hearings in
the First Instance Courts. Second, to raise grievance for appeal in case the criminal charges are
Another important question raised by many clients is 'what will happen if the accused has been given
a 'Not-Guilty' judgment, does that mean that the civil case will automatically be dismissed?'
The answer to that is, no not necessarily. As in some cases, the courts might dismiss the charges
because there has not been any breach of the criminal law but still there is a valid claim in the civil
courts whether on the basis of tortious liability or contractual liability.
The victim has the right to drop the civil claim at any time throughout the whole proceedings.
Disclaimer: This article comprises broad and general information about legal materials. The material
is general advice and not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. The legal information in
this article is provided is extracted from the UAE Criminal Procedures Law Federal Law No. (35) Of
the Year 1992 and based on our experiences as a law firm. The information provided are only
guidelines. You should certainly not postpone pursuing legal advice, ignore legal advice, or begin or
suspend any legal action because of information provided in this article. You must not rely on the
information in this article as a substitute to legal counsel from your attorney or any other practiced
professional legal services provider.This information is drafted by licensed legal practitioner and sent
from Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants which is duly licensed law firm to practice law under
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