By: Anas Aloulabi
Commercial litigation and cases have increased severely during the present days. The Dubai Courts have a separate division for viewing the commercial cases, but unfortunately, the judges in charge thereof do not belong to the commercial field.
A judge who views a commercial case also views a civil or labour case. And since the judge cannot be fully familiar with the commercial norms and standards he usually appoints an expert.
An expert (who is usually an accountant) has the ability to discuss the commercial aspects of the dispute away from the formalities of the court and its routine.
The accountant expert will be most successful when the dispute is focused on some differences between the litigants related to numbers, or on deliveries of disputed services. However, the commercial litigation is not limited to such cases, as for example the field of heavy equipment rentals which is a prosperous sector in Dubai is based on daily time sheets which should be signed by the litigants during the performance of the rent. And such relationship is not really known or familiar to most accountants, especially that such time sheets are usually signed by the driver of the equipment owner and the site manager of the tenant who might be different persons each day, and most probably those time sheets are not stamped by either party.
These facts may cause serious problems to some expert who can’t understand the necessity of both parties to avoid formalities during the work to avoid (in turn) the delay which leads to fines and damages.
During my practice lately I faced a similar case, where the expert was ignorant enough not consider the timesheets which have different signatures by the site manager depending upon that the equipment owner should be more careful in the manner of authenticating his documents, depriving thus the claimant from around AED 250,000 due to the expert’s ignorance.
Being a fair expert or arbitrator or having the ability to view commercial cases by an expert requires a high responsibility, an advanced level of legal knowledge or at least minimum understanding to the norms of the performed works. And this is the most practical difficulty in the commercial litigation.