Being the victim of a crime can have a significant impact on your life, from the emotional trauma to the financial burden that sometimes follows. However, if you’ve been a victim of a criminal offense, you have the legal right to claim compensation for any damages or losses incurred as a result. Navigating the process of seeking compensation can be complex and challenging, but with the right guidance and support, it is possible to secure the justice you deserve. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to claim compensation as a victim of a criminal case in the United Arab Emirates.
In the UAE, the Criminal Procedure legislation empowers victims of various crimes to claim compensation through legitimate means. As part of the legal process, civil claims by victims are taken up by the criminal courts, which adjudicate on them before the First Instance Criminal Court makes a ruling on civil matters. This approach serves to uphold the constitutional rights of both suspects and defendants, as it ensures that all phases of the investigation, arrest, trial, and sentencing are carried out fairly and without bias. The maximum amount of compensation that can be awarded to the victim is at the discretion of the courts and is dependent on the unique circumstances of each case.
Filing a Criminal Complaint
To initiate the compensation claim process, a victim must first file a criminal complaint with the relevant authorities. This should be done as soon as possible after the crime has occurred. The complaint can be filed at the nearest police station or online through the UAE Ministry of Interior’s e-services portal. The victim should provide all relevant details of the crime, including the date, time, location, and any available information about the perpetrator. It is crucial to be as thorough and accurate as possible when filing the complaint, as this will form the basis of the investigation and any subsequent legal action.
Filing a Civil Case
When it comes to filing a civil case in the United Arab Emirates, the timing of the filing can have a significant impact on the outcome. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, it is generally recommended to file the case first in the Criminal Courts. This approach allows the victim and their legal representative to participate in the proceedings and attend the hearings in the First Instance Courts. In the event that the criminal charges are dismissed, the victim still has the right to file an appeal against the decision. Ultimately, the decision on where to file the case depends on the specific nature of the offense and the advice of legal counsel.
If an accused person is found not guilty in a criminal case, it does not necessarily mean that a civil case filed by the victim will also be dismissed. A criminal case may be dismissed due to lack of evidence or absence of breach of criminal law, resulting in a not-guilty verdict. However, if there is a valid claim in the civil courts, such as a tortious liability for the violation of a person’s rights or a contractual liability assumed under a contract, the civil case will proceed regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. It is also worth noting that the victim has the option to drop the civil case at any time during the legal process.
Role of the Public Prosecutor
Once the complaint is filed, it will be referred to the Public Prosecutor, who will investigate the case and decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator. The Public Prosecutor acts on behalf of the state and has the responsibility of ensuring that justice is served.
During the investigation, the victim may be asked to provide additional evidence, such as medical reports, witness statements, or photographs. It is essential to cooperate with the authorities and provide any requested information to the best of their ability.
Compensation Claim in Court
If the Public Prosecutor decides to pursue criminal charges, the case will be brought before the criminal court. The victim has the right to appoint a legal representative (a lawyer) to assist them throughout the proceedings, though this is not mandatory.
In addition to the criminal proceedings, the victim can also file a civil claim for compensation against the perpetrator. The compensation claim should include details of the harm suffered by the victim, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, loss of earnings, or damage to property. It should also specify the amount of compensation being sought.