Cheques in the United Arab Emirates
Legal Articles: UAE Criminal Law
By Mr. Hassan Elhais - Legal Consultant in Dubai
Since a cheque is meant to replace money, people must have trust in it. Therefore the UAE
penal law levied a punishment against anyone issuing insufficient funds its due date. Such a
crime is known as the bounce cheque crime.
However, some requirements must be found in a cheque in order to gain the penal law's
protection. Those requirements are: 1- the word cheque must be stated clearly in it, 2- states a
specific amount, 3- has drawee's name, 4- has the beneficiary's name, 5- states the place of
payment, 6- states the cheque's date, 7- has the drawer's name, 8- the drawer's signature.
However if the place of payment was not mentioned on the cheque, then the place stated
beside the drawee's name is considered as the place of payment or else the place of payment
shall be at the drawee's headquarters office.
Additionally, the payment of the cheque should not be conditional. Whereas, if the payment of
the cheque was related to some conditions, and those conditions were not fulfilled, the cheque
will still remain due on its date. However, a cheque cannot be paid before the date mentioned
in it, as it becomes due only on such date. In case the cheque did not bear a date, then it means
that the drawer has delegated the beneficiary to write the date he finds suitable.
The actus reas in a bounce cheque crime is giving the cheque to the beneficiary. Therefore if
the drawer made the cheque, but he did not give it to the beneficiary or kept it for himself or it
was stolen from him, then he cannot be chargered for bounce cheque crime. Additionally if the
drawer was forced or deceived to issue the cheque, he cannot be charged for a bounce cheque
Bounce cheque crime takes place if there was not enough balance to cover the cheque's
amount or the amount cannot be withdrawn or the drawer ordered the bank not to pay the
cheque's amount. However as stipulated through commercial transactions law the drawer has
the right to order the bank not to pay the cheque's amount to the bearer in case he lost the
cheque or in case the bearer is bankrupt. Additionally one of the common methods of
committing a bounce cheque crime is putting a signature on the cheque different from the one
known to the bank, or putting any other signature that will make the cheque invalid.
Unlike many crimes, a bounce cheque crime does not require the incidence of any damages to
the victim. Such crime is punishable by imprisonment for period between one year and three
years, or a fine between one thousand Dirhams and Thirty thousand Dirhams.
Furthermore, in case of insufficient funds in the account to cover the cheque, the beneficiary
has the right to submit a request to the bank in order to pay him the remaining amount in the
account as a partial payment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hassan Elhais
After qualifying as a lawyer in his native Egypt and years of successful practice within the field
of criminal and public law, Mr. Elhais moved to Dubai in 2005 and has been practicing as a legal
consultant in Dubai since then. Working exclusively with Al Rowaad Advocates, Hassan is an
effective leader of the company, the spokesperson and driving force. Hassan has a strong
ethical stance with regards to the place of the law firm and its work on behalf of the client,
from clarity on the legal process through to the fee system.
Specializing in the drafting of all statement of claim, memos and consultation with regards to all
kind of litigation, Hassan has worked his way through the ranks of Al Rowaad Advocates from
joining as Legal Advisor to his current role as Managing Partner. Member of Egypt Bar
Association; Member of International Bar Association; and Recommended Lawyer of Embassy
of United States in Abu Dhabi.
Copyright Hassan Elhais
For more information about Hassan Elhais – Legal Consultant in Dubai