Can a WhatsApp message be used as proof in UAE courts?
If you have forwarded or transferred the said messages to any other electronic device, it may not be treated as evidence
Last year, I lent Dh10,000 to a friend. I deposited the money in his bank account for which I have a cash deposit receipt from the ATM.
We did not have a written contract, but on WhatsApp we chatted about the money, and he accepted that he owes me that - but now he is refusing to pay me the money, claiming that he didn't borrow any money from me.
Do I have any legal options to retrieve the money, which I am owed?
Pursuant to your questions, you have legal options to receive back the money you have lent to your friend provided the said WhatsApp messages sent by your friend is in your device (mobile phone) or in the device of your friend. If you have forwarded or transferred the said messages of your friend to any other electronic device it may not be treated as the evidence in accordance with Article 8(1) of Electronic Transactions and Commerce Law No. 2 of 2002 (the "Electronic Transactions Law"), which states: "Where a rule of law requires that any document, record or information be retained, for whatever reason, that requirement is satisfied by retaining such document, record or information in the form of an Electronic Record, if the following conditions are observed:
(a) The Electronic Record is retained in the format in which it was originally generated, sent or received, or in a format which can be demonstrated to represent accurately the information originally generated, sent or received.
(b) The information remains stored in a way that is accessible and usable for subsequent reference."
In accordance with the Electronic Transactions Law contracts agreed between parties through electronic device even though it is partial is valid in accordance with Article 13, which states: "(1) For the purpose of contracting, it is permissible to express offer and acceptance, partly or wholly, by means of Electronic Communication. (2) A contract shall not be denied validity or enforceability on the sole ground that it was concluded by means of one or more Electronic Communications."
In continuance, any contents recorded in the electronic device may be used as the proof in the Court of law in accordance with Article 12(1) of the Electronic Transactions Law which states: "(1) Nothing shall prevent the acceptance of an Electronic Communication or Electronic Signature as proof:
(a) Solely on the ground that the Communication or the Signature was Electronic in its form.
(b) Solely on the ground that the Communication or the Signature was not original or in its original form, if such Electronic Communication or Signature is the best evidence that the person adducing it could reasonably be expected to obtain."
You may consider to file a civil claim against your friend to recover the loan paid to him.
No ban if not renewing contract
I am working on a limited contract at an LLC. I joined the company on August 29, 2014. My labour contract expires on the August 28, 2016, and my residency visa expires on October 19.
I am not willing to renew my contract with this company and have informed my HR manager when they asked for a renewal. Now they are planning to terminate me before my labour contract expires to put a ban on me. I did, however, offer to work until my visa expires in October. My question is: What should I do to avoid the ban? Do I have any legal recourse?
Pursuant to your questions, your employer may not be in a position to impose employment ban on you if you are not willing to renew the employment contract. In accordance to Article 1(I)(1) of Ministerial Decree 766 of 2015 on Rules and Conditions for granting a permit to a worker for employment by a new employer issued by the Minister of Labour states: "A new work permit may be granted to a worker upon the termination of the said worker's employment relation in the following instances in case of Term (limited) contracts:
The term of the contract has expired and not been renewed."
Pursuant to the aforementioned quote, if you don't renew your employment contract upon expiry, the employer would not be able to impose an employment ban. Since your employer is planning to terminate you before your employment contract expires, they are liable to compensate you for arbitrary termination. Article 122 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 related to Labour Relations (the 'Labour Law') states: "A worker's service shall be deemed to have been arbitrarily terminated by his employer if the reason for the termination is irrelevant to the worker and, more particularly, if the reason is that the worker has submitted a serious complaint to the competent authorities or has instituted legal proceedings against the employer that has proved to be valid."
Further, Article 1 (I) of the 'Ministerial Order Decree No. 765 of 2015 on Rules and Conditions for Termination of Employment Relations' states: "An employment relation between employer and worker may be terminated as follows:
1 - In the case of fixed-term (limited) contracts (approved by the ministry for a term of no more than two years), an employment relation is terminated if any of the following instances occurs:
1- The term of the contract expires and the contract is not renewed.
Based on the above-mentioned labour regulations, you and your employer may mutually consent to terminate the contract before the expiry of the term. In case you disagree for mutual termination, then you have the right to claim gross salary of three months if your employer terminates you.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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