Attorney Diana Hamade of International Advocate based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates poses in her new offices on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. Photo: Charles Crowell for The National
Lawyer Diana Hamade is the founder of International Advocate Legal Services. Charles Crowell/The National

How to file a case against your bank over escalating credit card debt

Diana Hamade is the founder and managing partner of International Advocate Legal Services. Here she explains how someone with grievances against their credit card provider can take their case to court:

When does someone have grounds to take a bank to court over credit card debt?

Any individual has a right to file a claim against a bank as long he/she has sufficient documents to prove his/her right against the said bank. Documents such as emails from the bank, statement of account, or any such correspondence would suffice.

What steps need to be taken to register a case?

To register a case, the individual would have to visit the Dubai or Abu Dhabi Courts and register his/her case through the typing centre.

What documents do they need and how long does the process take?

The individual may use the same documents validating his/her rights against the bank to register his/her case. This may include any form of correspondence in the form of emails, statement of accounts. The more evidence, the stronger the case. Online registration may take up to two to three days, whereas the actual hearing itself may span across an average of three months. However, the time period varies from case to case.

Can you represent yourself or is a lawyer necessary?

An individual can represent himself/herself in court. However, a thorough understanding of UAE laws may be required alongside a grasp of drafting a legal memorandum for submission to the court’s expert.

I understand an expert is appointed. Who does that expert represent – the individual or the bank?

Dh5,000 is the fee for the appointment of an expert and is paid into the court’s treasury. The expert is independently appointed by the court and will be neutral in his/her discourse.

What reasons would justify someone taking a bank to court over credit card debt?

This is subject to the nature of the case but it would be as follows:

1. Evidence of the fact that the debt has not been incurred in the first place and that the individual has no liability.

2. This has to be viewed in the light of the terms of the credit agreement with the bank.

3. The individual may also produce evidence that the bank has misled him/her to make them look like they owed the bank a debt when they actually did not.

Have you dealt with cases like this before.? If so, what do the courts generally rule?

We have dealt with several such cases from which no consistent, general ruling has emerged. Sometimes clients win cases against the bank and are able to claim against the bank and other times, it is vice versa.

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