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 time-consuming 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 dismissed.
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
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
The victim has the right to drop the civil claim at any time
throughout the whole proceedings.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Last year we reported that the DIFC had successfully established itself as a so called ‘conduit' jurisdiction for the enforcement of foreign and domestic arbitral awards as well as foreign money judgements.
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