Abu Dhabi courts to require mandatory English translations for some cases

The move is described as a regional first



Abu Dhabi Judicial Department will from Sunday force plaintiffs in civil and commercial cases involving non-Arabic defendants to translate case files into English, according to reports.

The National said the new rules would apply to cases where the plaintiff is claiming money from the defendant.

Translation will be in English regardless of the defendant’s nationality.

Like other courts in the country, all documents would previously be presented in Arabic only, with defendants having to translate files themselves to find out details of the case against them.

This could mean significant personal cost, with translation costing up to Dhs100 ($27) per page.

Judicial department legal expert Hesham Elrafei told the publication under the current system plaintiffs would stretch claims that could have been summed up in 50 pages to 1,000 “just to complicate the litigation”.

“The plaintiff is requesting something, so they should take the responsibility of paying for the translation,” he was quoted as saying.

The change does not apply to labour court cases – as labourers cannot afford to translate their claims – or criminal and misdemeanour cases, according to officials.

Foreign residents make up the majority of Abu Dhabi’s estimated 3 million population.

Figures released in October last year showed 551,535 Emiratis living in the emirate.

Read: Abu Dhabi population hits three million