Dubai property dispute victims to get free legal advice

UPDATE 1: Group formed by Dubai Land Dep't to offer home owners legal option.
Dubai property dispute victims to get free legal advice
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 02 Nov 2009 01:44 PM

Dubai Land Department on Monday announced a new initiative to introduce a free legal service to support home owners involved in real estate-related court cases.

The announcement follows a meeting between senior Land Department officials and representatives of law firms to finalise details of the move.

The Land Department said an agreement had been signed which would see the law firms become part of a new Legal Care Group.

The group will bring together senior lawyers, professional firms and consultants to offer free legal assistance to members of the public with "genuine real estate issues" who might otherwise be dissuaded from taking action because of the prohibitive cost of fees, the Land Department said in a statement.

Mohammed Sultan Thani, assistant director general of the Dubai Land Department, said: "The objective of this initiative is not merely to meet a need but to ensure fairness and justice is available to anyone who might have a concern which involves property, no matter their circumstances.

"This reflects the government's commitment to ensuring there is in place a comprehensive equitable system of legalizing ownership and property transactions."

He added: "Now, no one is prevented from pursuing their rights merely because of the possibility they might be priced out of the legal system."

Richard Green, head of research at CB Richard Ellis Middle East, said: "The offer of free legal advice is another step in the right direction. Overall confidence in the legal dispute system has been somewhat low due to a time lag in addressing the current case backlog.

"This announcement will go some way to renewing faith in the system as well as providing confidence to individual investors facing financial difficulties in their disputes against developers.

"Overall this is seen as another positive advancement for the Dubai market."

In August it was reported that property dispute cases that were originally submitted to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) and Dubai Courts are now being dealt with by Dubai’s new Property Court.

The new court, which started operations in October, was set up under the First Instance Court to deal exclusively with property-related cases.

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