Demystifying Evidence in UAE Courts: Your Complete Guide to How Cases Are Decided

Learn how evidence shapes verdicts and ensures fair trials in the UAE legal system

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on April 15, 2024, 08:57:39


Evidence, court, legal proceedings

In legal procedures and under UAE Law of Evidence, evidence is generally defined as any information presented by either party to support their position, with the objective of enabling the courts to definitively determine or decide the case.

Courts across the UAE, including those in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, carefully review the evidence presented in cases before the trial begins. This is essential to ensure that the trial is fair and based on solid facts.

In civil cases, the court examines the evidence to determine its relevance and credibility. The court's decision on the evidence guides the trial process.

In criminal cases, the prosecutor assesses whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial by reviewing all the evidence and making a determination. Based on this assessment, the case may either proceed to trial or be dismissed.

During criminal trials, witnesses may be asked to share their knowledge at different stages, such as when the complaint is made, during questioning by the prosecutor, and during the trial itself. This process helps in establishing all relevant facts.

In civil trials, witness questioning is less common, typically occurring only during the trial itself, not before. Before the trial, the prosecutor reviews all the evidence to determine whether there is enough to proceed to trial. If not, the case may be dismissed.

However, in civil trials, evidence is typically considered during the trial itself, not beforehand.

The Federal Law No. 10 of 1992 on Evidence in Civil and Commercial Agreements governs and regulates the use of evidence in civil and commercial cases in the UAE (Evidence Law). It outlines the methods and rules for presenting written evidence, utilising oral witnesses, expert testimony, and other relevant topics in the UAE Law of Evidence.

During the trial, the court evaluates different types of evidence to better understand the case. This includes:

  • Written Evidence: Official documents and customary documents are considered written evidence. Official documents are those endorsed by a government official or public authority, while customary documents are those signed or acknowledged by the involved parties.
  • Testimony of Witnesses: Witnesses provide statements about the facts they know, which aids in understanding what transpired. Witness testimony is a crucial part of the evidence.
  • Presumptions and Evidence of Accomplished Facts: Certain facts can be presumed true based on evidence or circumstances. These presumptions contribute to understanding the case.
  • Admission and Examination of the Adversaries: Both parties present their arguments and evidence to support their claims. The court assesses these arguments to render a fair decision.
  • Oaths: In some cases, oaths may be taken to affirm the truthfulness of statements or promises made.
  • Observation and Proof of Circumstances: The court may consider the circumstances surrounding the case to understand the context and render a judgment.
  • Expertise: Expert testimony may be sought in cases requiring specialised knowledge to understand the evidence.
    Checking evidence before trial is crucial to ensuring a fair trial and protecting everyone's rights.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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