Challenging Expert Appointment in the UAE
The appointment of an expert in UAE (United Arab Emirates) can be challenged on the basis that the expert failed to carry out his duties in an impartial manner or without prejudice to either one of the parties. The expert appointed has to at all times exercise impartiality towards the parties in a dispute and has to act independently. An expert is defined as any legal person who practices the profession of expertise and is registered on the list recorded in the experts’ register in the Ministry of Justice of UAE under the Federal Law Number 7/2012 on the Regulation of Expertise before the Judicial Authorities (the “Law”). The expert appointed has to at all times exercise impartiality towards the parties in a dispute and has to act independently. There are certain conditions that the expert has to abide by at all times, and any failure of the expert in performing these duties shall render the expert’s decision to be challenged. These conditions that the expert has to conform to have been mandated under Article 11 of the Law and have been outlined below:
- The expert is to practice his profession with utmost honesty, sincerity and accuracy. It is to be practiced in a manner that is prudent whilst preserving its dignity and consideration. It is also imperative for an expert to take into account the principles and traditions of the profession in accordance with the Charter which lays down the set of rules and regulations governing the work of the expert;
- The expert shall be banked upon to handle the task entrusted to him personally and independently;
- The expert shall not indulge in any disclosure of information pertaining to his professional expertise work or anything that he may have accessed by virtue of his work of expertise;
- Neither the expert nor any one of his relatives (up to the fourth degree of kinship) are to have any personal interest either directly or indirectly in any business related to the subject of the case or the subject of his expertise;
- The employer of the expert shall not be a party to the dispute being considered by the expert;
- The expert should not accept any work of expertise in a dispute for which he has already been asked for consultancy or where he has been briefed on the documents related to the dispute by any party to the conflict;
- He has to update and develop his skills in the field of specialization in which he is licensed to practice the expertise;
- He has to associate his name, registration number and the name of the office through which he works in all publications, correspondences, certificates and reports signed by him;
- Maintain a special register where data of expertise work performed by him shall be recorded;
- Maintain a true copy of the reports prepared by him till the adjudication of a conclusive judgment regarding the case subjected to his work of expertise and
- The expert has to notify the Ministry of Justice of his address and any modification that might occur within a month of the respective modification. Any amendment or modification to the license data will also have to be notified to the Ministry within a month of the said notification.
In order to challenge the appointment of an expert, a committee shall be set up by a decision of the Minister of the Ministry of Justice, known as the “Experts Affairs Committee” and this committee shall be competent in reviewing complaints and reports related to the experts. The committee shall be equipped to take any necessary action in accordance with the procedure as specified by the Law and also in accordance with implementing regulations and decisions of the committee. The name of the expert can be struck off from the list upon a decision of the committee in case he loses a requirement of his registration, if he is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor inclusive of a breach of trust/honor and if he is incompetent or unable to perform his work any longer due of his health condition based on the report of the competent medical committee (Article 23 of the Law). The Public Prosecution shall notify the committee of the penal cases filed against the experts and of the judgments convicting them and the committee shall in furtherance of this notify the expert and the party for which he works of the complaint filed against him. The expert shall have a time period of 15 days to respond from the date of receiving such notification. Accordingly, the complaint, along with the expert’s response, shall be submitted to the committee upon which a decision can be rendered to dismiss it or refer it further to the investigation.
Federal Law number 10/1992 on Evidence in Civil and Commercial Transactions (Evidence Law) authorizes the court for the appointment of one or more experts where it deems fit in matters related to a dispute. Whenever deemed to be necessary, the court is authorized to deputize one or more experts from amongst the State employees or from the experts registered on the list to give their advice in matters related to the dispute concerned (Article 69 of the Evidence Law). If either of the parties to the legal dispute is not content with the appointment of the expert or the legal action, then they may lodge a complaint against the estimate within a prescribed time period of 8 days of it being announced. Such a complaint shall be carried forward with a deposition of a written report with the court’s record clerk which shall result in the order of estimation not being carried out. However, the said complaint shall be ruled on by another judge or another circuit upon hearing the statements of complainants and the ruling rendered in such matter shall be final and irrevocable (Article 91 of the Evidence Law).
In case the parties are not content with the appointment of an expert then the parties to a dispute shall have the right to apply for dismissal if such an expert based on the conditions mandated in Article 77 of the Evidence Law. Such conditions include the scenario where the parties may apply for removal of the expert if it appears that he is incapable of performing his assignment without bias. If it is shown that the expert is a relative or in-law to either of the parties in the legal action up to the fourth degree, then the expert’s appointment may be challenged. He should also not be a trustee or guardian, be working for any of the litigants or be appointed as an attorney for either party in his personal work. If the expert or his wife is involved in an existing dispute with any of the parties in the lawsuit, unless such dispute has arisen after the appointment of the expert for the purpose of having him dismissed, then the expert’s appointment holds ground for being contested. The appeal for dismissal of the expert shall be made by appearing before the court within a time period of one week of the date of his appointment if the order has been issued in the presence of the party who applies for such dismissal. If such an order has been issued in his absence, then the appeal for dismissal shall be submitted within the next week following the service of the order upon him. The right to appeal for dismissal shall not elapse on the basis of reasons arising after such time has been given or if the litigant has produced a proof that he has no knowledge of such reasons except after the lapse of the time given. The reports of the expert can be challenged by the court where the court decides not to follow such report provided that the judge specifically provides reasons for such decision.