PRACTICE DIRECTION 3 SMALL CLAIMS

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Date issued: 30 May 2016

This Practice Direction is to be read with, and subject to, the ADGM Court Procedure Rules 2016 and the Divisions and Jurisdiction (Court of First Instance) Rules 2015. Except as provided otherwise in this Practice Direction, terms have the meanings set out in the ADGM Court Procedure Rules 2016.

APPLICATION

This Practice Direction must be read in conjunction with the following Practice Directions:

Practice Direction 1 — General

Practice Direction 7 — Applications before and after Trial

Practice Direction 9 — Costs

Practice Direction 10 — Offers to Settle

To the extent to which the provisions of this Practice Direction differ from or are inconsistent with provisions of other Practice Directions, the provisions of this Practice Direction prevail in relation to all claims that are, or are dealt with as, small claims.

A. SMALL CLAIMS

Definition
3.1. A "small claim" is a claim for:
(a) US$100,000 or less; or
(b) an employment claim which both parties agree is to be dealt with as a small claim.
Making a claim [r.27]
3.2. A claim form which commences proceedings in the Small Claims Division must be in accordance with Form CFI 2.
3.3. The claim form must:
(a) state what final orders the claimant seeks;
(b) include particulars of the claimant's case in summary form in numbered paragraphs, including any sum sought by way of interest from a date earlier than the date of judgment, and the propositions of law which the claimant will contend entitle the claimant to the final orders sought;
(c) state whether the claimant sues in person or, if represented by a lawyer, the name, address and email address of that lawyer; and
(d) state any dates that the claimant is unable to attend a hearing within 42 days after commencement of the claim.
3.4. As a general rule, a claim form should not exceed 10 pages.
3.5. Rules 15, 16 and 17 prescribe how a claim form may be served.
Rule 30 Procedure [r.30]
3.6. Rule 30 of the Rules provides that a claimant may use a simplified procedure ("Rule 30 procedure") where he seeks the Court's decision on a question which is unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact.
3.7. If a claimant seeks to use the Rule 30 procedure, he must:
(a) use the claim form in accordance with Form CFI 3; and
(b) identify what issue or issues the claimant says are to be decided by the Rule 30 procedure as an issue or as issues unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact.
3.8. The Rule 30 procedure may not be used in relation to the following claims or questions:
(a) fraud; or
(b) libel, slander, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment.
3.9. Claimants seeking to use the Rule 30 procedure must have regard to Rules 31 to 34 inclusive of the Rules which provide for the written evidence to be filed and served under the Rule 30 procedure, the procedure where a defendant objects to the use of the Rule 30 procedure and modifications to the Rules regarding the filing of a defence and certain time limits.
Service out [r.23, r.24 and r.28]
3.10. A claimant who serves a claim form on a defendant out of the jurisdiction and the Emirate must first file and serve with the claim form a copy of a notice containing a statement of the grounds on which the claimant is entitled to serve the claim form out of the jurisdiction or the Emirate.
3.11. A claimant who serves a claim form on a defendant out of the jurisdiction and the Emirate must serve the claim form and the notice on that defendant personally.
3.12. A claim form which is to be served on a defendant out of the jurisdiction and the Emirate must be endorsed on its first page with a notice substantially to the following effect:

"This claim form is to be served on a defendant out of the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

A defendant who wishes to dispute the Court's jurisdiction to try the claim, or wishes to argue that the Court should not exercise its jurisdiction, may do so in accordance with Rule 38 of the ADGM Court Procedure Rules."
Answering a claim and making a counterclaim [r.35, r.36, r.37, r.44 and r.50]
3.13. The Rules require that a defendant must file and serve an acknowledgement of service 14 days after service of the claim form or, where the claim form has been served out of the jurisdiction or the Emirate, 28 days after service of the claim form.
3.14. An acknowledgment of service shall be in accordance with Form CFI 7.
3.15. The Rules also require that a defendant who wishes to defend all or part of a claim must file and serve a defence within 28 days after service of the claim form.
3.16. A defendant's defence must set out the claimant's statement of case and set out, in numbered paragraphs corresponding to and opposite the relevant paragraph of the claimant's statement of case, the defendant's answer to the allegations of fact and the propositions of law advanced by the claimant. The defendant's defence should also state any dates that the defendant is unable to attend a hearing within 42 days from the filing of the defence.
3.17. A defence shall be in accordance with Form CFI 8.
3.18. A defendant who wishes to make a counterclaim must set out in summary form and in numbered paragraphs:
(a) the particulars of the counterclaim and the propositions of law which the defendant will contend entitle the defendant to the final orders the defendant seeks by counterclaim; and
(b) the final orders which the defendant seeks by counterclaim.
3.19. A counterclaim shall be in accordance with Form CFI 9.
Reply to a Defence and any Counterclaim [r.45]
3.20. A claimant who seeks to reply to a defendant's defence, or to defend a defendant's counterclaim, must set out:
(a) the defendant's defence and any counterclaim, including the claimant's statement of case; and
(b) in numbered paragraphs corresponding to and opposite the relevant paragraph of the defendant's defence and any counterclaim, the claimant's reply to the particulars of claim and the propositions of law advanced by the defendant.
Order for disclosure against non-party [r.88]
3.21. Any application made to the Court for disclosure by a person who is not a party to the proceedings must be made by filing an application notice which must be supported by evidence.
3.22. The supporting evidence for an application for disclosure by a non-party must be contained in an affidavit detailing the specific facts, matters or circumstances relied upon to demonstrate that:
(a) the documents of which disclosure is sought are likely to support the case of the applicant or adversely affect the case of one of the other parties to the proceedings; and
(b) that disclosure is necessary in order to dispose fairly of the claim or to save costs.
3.23. An order for disclosure by a non-party must:
(a) specify the documents or the classes of documents which the non-party must disclose; and
(b) require the non-party, when making disclosure, to specify any of those documents:
(i) which are no longer in his control; or
(ii) in respect of which he claims a right or duty to withhold inspection.
3.24. Such an order may:
(a) require the non-party to indicate what has happened to any documents which are no longer in his control; and
(b) specify the time and place for disclosure and inspection.
Preparation and filing of statements of case and amendments to statements of case
3.25. The Rules define "statement of case" to mean a claim form, a defence, a claim under the Rule 30 procedure, or a reply to a defence, and includes any further information given in relation to them voluntarily or by Court order in accordance with Rule 54.
3.26. As the previous paragraphs of this Practice Direction require, statements of case prepared after the claimant's initial statement of case are to be prepared in a form which will:
(a) set out the particulars of claim and the propositions of law relied on by the claimant;
(b) set out opposite those allegations and propositions, the answers made to those particulars and propositions; and
(c) in like manner, set out opposite those answers, any reply made to those answers.
3.27. If amendments are made to a party's statement of case, it will be the responsibility of the amending party to prepare, file and serve a substitute document setting out the parties' statements of case in the manner described in paragraph 3.26 of this Practice Direction.
3.28. Within 14 days after the claimant files any reply and any defence to a counterclaim, or within 14 days after the time for filing a reply or defence to counterclaim has expired (whichever is the shorter), the claimant must file a copy of the last statement of case served between the parties.
Allocation of hearing date
3.29. A small claim will be given a hearing date as soon as reasonably possible after it is commenced as, or becomes, a small claim.
3.30. The Court will give the parties at least 28 days' notice of the date fixed for the hearing, unless the parties agree to accept less notice, and inform them of the amount of time allowed for the hearing.
Preparation for the hearing
3.31. Not less than 14 days before the day fixed for the commencement of the hearing, the parties will exchange and file the following documents:
(a) a written summary of that party's case (including a summary of the evidence to be given by each witness that a party intends to call at the trial) in accordance with Form CFI 11; and
(b) a copy of every document that the party will seek to put in evidence.
3.32. Where a party has good reason to believe that documents held by the other party have not been exchanged and filed under paragraph 3.31(b) which would be likely to support their case or adversely affect the case of the other party, they may seek an order from the Court for the disclosure of such documents.
Experts
3.33. No expert may give evidence, whether written or oral, at a hearing without the permission of the Court.
Conduct of the hearing
3.34. The Court may adopt any method of proceedings at a hearing that it considers to be fair.
3.35. The Court may, if all parties agree, deal with the claim without a hearing.
3.36. The Court may give permission to a party who is not a natural person to be represented by an employee or director who is not a lawyer, on being satisfied that the person is likely to be able to present the party's case efficiently and to assist the Court in reaching a just result in accordance with the overriding objective set out in Rule 2(2).
Non-attendance of parties at hearing
3.37. If a party who does not attend a hearing:
(a) has given written notice to the Court and the other party at least 7 days before the hearing date that he will not attend; and
(b) has, in his written notice, requested the Court to decide the claim in his absence and has confirmed his compliance with paragraph 3.31 of this Practice Direction,
the Court will take into account that party's statement of case and any other documents he has filed and served when it decides the claim.
3.38. If a claimant neither attends the hearing nor gives notice under paragraph 3.37 of this Practice Direction, the Court may strike out the claim.
3.39. If a defendant neither attends the hearing nor gives notice under paragraph 3.37 of this Practice Direction, but the claimant either attends the hearing or gives notice under paragraph 3.37, the Court may decide the claim on the basis of the evidence of the claimant alone.
3.40. If neither party attends or gives notice under paragraph 3.37 of this Practice Direction, the Court may strike out the claim and any defence and counterclaim.
Interest
3.41. Where interest is payable on a judgment debt and there is no agreed rate, it shall be at the rate of 7 per cent from the date that judgment is given until payment.
Setting aside judgment and re-hearing
3.42. A party who was not present at the hearing of the claim may apply for an order that a judgment be set aside and the claim re-heard.
3.43. A party who applies for an order that a judgment be set aside must file an application notice not more than 7 days after the day on which notice of the judgment was served on him.
3.44. The Court may grant such application only if the applicant:
(a) had a good reason for not attending the hearing; and
(b) has a real prospect of success at the hearing.
3.45. If a judgment is set aside:
(a) the Court will fix a new hearing date for the claim; and
(b) the hearing may take place immediately after the hearing of the application to set aside the judgment.
3.46. A party may not apply to set aside a judgment if the Court dealt with the claim without a hearing under paragraph 3.35 of this Practice Direction.
Waiver or deferral of fees
3.47. Where a party seeks an order that the court fees associated with his claim should be waived or deferred for payment:
(a) he must state this in his claim form;
(b) he must set out in, or attach to, his claim form a statement of the grounds on which he seeks waiver or deferral of payment of the court fees; and
(c) the Registrar shall decide without any hearing whether to waive or defer the fees or defer payment of the fees until the end of the case.
B. APPEALS TO THE CIVIL DIVISION OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

Form of notice [r.205]
3.48. A notice of appeal must:
(a) be in accordance with Form CFI 19;
(b) not exceed 10 pages;
(c) attach a copy of the reasons given for the judgment or order against which the appeal is brought;
(d) state the question or questions of law which the appellant alleges arise;
(e) state in summary form why the appeal should be allowed; and
(f) state what judgment or order the appellant alleges should have been given or made.
Response to notice of appeal
3.49. A party who seeks to respond to a notice of appeal may file and serve on the other parties to the proceedings a written response within 21 days of being served with the notice.
3.50. Any response to a notice of appeal must:
(a) be in accordance with Form CFI 20;
(b) not exceed 10 pages; and
(c) set out the grounds on which the appeal should be refused.
3.51. A Judge of the Civil Division of the Court of First Instance may give written directions to the parties about the further conduct of the appeal.