UAE: Lawyer suspended for 6 months for failing to protect client assets worth Dh500,000

She violated her obligation to manage her office directly and instead delegated authority to others

By Web Desk

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Published: Thu 20 Jul 2023, 2:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Jul 2023, 3:03 PM

The Lawyers Disciplinary Board of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) on Thursday suspended the license of a lawyer for a period of six months. The decision was taken due to the lawyer's failure to provide adequate protection for her client's funds in a substantial money claim, which amounted to over Dh500,000.

The lawyer faced penalties as she violated her obligation to manage her office directly and instead delegated authority to others, which goes against the laws and regulations governing the legal profession.

According to the case details, a complaint was filed against a lawyer by her client, who retained the latter to file a payment order application before Abu Dhabi courts, noting that the claimed amount is more than Dh500,000 paid in cheques. The client later received a request from the defendant to recover the original cheques, as the law firm received the claimed amount under receipt vouchers issued under its stamp and did not hand them over to the complainant without the lawyer's knowledge or an authorisation by the client to make settlements or receive money outside the court.

Upon informing the lawyer of the complaint details to defend herself, she argued that the complainant has many cases with the office, but she has no knowledge of this case and did not sign an agreement with the client for legal fees. She also indicated a criminal complaint filed against her employee, who used to work for her before he fled the country. This complaint concerns the receipt vouchers issued under the office stamp and whether this employee has or has not received the financial amount related to the case.

The Lawyers Disciplinary Council stated in its reasoning of the decision: after examining the subject of the complaint and the response submitted by the defendant and following the examination of the evidence and documents related thereto, it became clear that the amount was received by one of the law firm employees on behalf of the complainant and was not handed over to her. This forms a violation of the laws in force, the rules of professional conduct and the ethics of the legal profession, as the lawyer has an obligation to preserve a client's funds, run the firm directly, and refrain from empowering other to manage the office.

The board stated that the complaint supporting documents included proof of receiving the money under receipt vouchers from one of the law firm's employees. This evidences that the lawyer failed to directly follow up and run her business, which resulted in the receipt of the amounts by one of her employees.


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