Bahrain is officially called as ‘Kingdom of Bahrain’ and is situated in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain was considered a state that was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad in around 628 CE. Since a country has varied cultures and diversities often leads to risks in the debt recovery process. Like all other Arab countries, the Kingdom of Bahrain also prefers and relies upon the prelitigation methods to resolve the disputes. Bahrain also has the debt recovery process in their respective banks where the creditors can collect the debt from the debtors through the registered bank. But the disputes will arise when the debtors are reluctant to pay the amount to the creditors through the bank. Thus, the creditors will adopt the prelitigation methods for the follow-up of the debtors so that the creditors can recover the debt amounts quickly. Still, suppose the debtors refrain from making payment. In that case, the creditors can claim the respective amount, which the creditors do not usually prefer since it is time-consuming and not economically feasible. Let’s take a closer look at the debt collection procedures and the prelitigation methods for debt recovery.
The debt collection procedures in Bahrain are initiated in the nation’s banks in which the creditors will set out a date for the deduction of the amount from the creditor’s account. Like every other Arab country, the debt collection process through banks is the first stage for debt recovery where the creditors cannot deduct or charge any extra fees or costs upon the deduction on the debt payment. The bank could reschedule the collection procedure if there are any circumstances for creditors, and this should be rescheduled within 30 days. The creditors cannot deduct any additional cost or fee from the debtor’s account without any relevant judgment or ruling.
Before filing any suits against the debtors in the respective court on the default payment of the debts, the creditors often rely upon the prelitigation methods because the court trials and procedures are usually expensive and time-consuming. The pre-litigation often renders the parties with the best resolution without taking a lot of time and not wasting the money unnecessarily. The creditors can use prelitigation methods through the communication modes, including the registered mails, SMS, Emails, telephones, etc. The communication must contain all the relevant matters related to the debt and details of creditors and debtors. The creditors should keep all the call recordings of the debtor at least for ten years and not give false information on the consequences of the default payment. Like other Arab countries, the prelitigation methods of Bahrain are also similar in terms of communication and methods. An important point which the creditor should keep in mind is that the envelope used to reach the debtors should not contain any information about the debt.
The court system in Bahrain is operated under the Civil Law system, and it comprises Civil Courts and Shari’a Courts accordingly. The courts in Bahrain did not follow any system of precedents. All the procedures have to be conducted in Arabic. The non-Arabic documents are required to be translated into Arabic. The Civil Courts in Bahrain have the authority to deal with all the commercial and civil cases, including the cases corresponding to the personal status of the Non-Muslims. The system is generally a four-tier system in which it comprises the Court of Minor Causes which is also called the Court of Execution, the High Court, the High Court of Appeal, and the Court of Cassation. The Court Of Cassation is the Supreme Court holding the highest civil authority. Usually, in this court, the experts are appointed to assist in various aspects such as finance, accounting, technical and other matters regarding engineering.
The Shari’a Court deals with all personal matters regarding Muslims of all countries. It comprises a four-tier system such as Lower Shari’a Court, Higher Shari’a Court, the High Shari’a Court of Appeal, and Cassation. These courts are further classified into two parts for Sunni and Shia Muslims accordingly. In addition to all the above courts, Bahrain also comprises a Constitutional Court, which acts as an independent authority solely entitled to check whether no laws have contradicted the provisions in the constitution of Bahrain.
Usually, the limitation period for initiating claims in Bahrain is 15 years from the commission of the act. Ergo, there are exceptional cases in which the limitation period on the disputes. For example, the disputes corresponding to the claims of insurance, construction, and employment. For such disputes, the limitation period given is three years along with further a one more year from the commission of the unlawful act.
All the documents which have to be submitted to the court have to be written in Arabic. If not, it must have been translated into Arabic with the help of a licensed translator. The procedures to initiate a claim in the Courts of Bahrain are as follows:
a) The claimant must apply the claimant statement to the Case Registration Department in the competent court.
b) Within a week, a hearing will be scheduled with the claimant of the dispute. After the first hearing, the court will send a summons to the defendant and a copy of the claim statement. The defendant must also submit a defence memorandum three days before the coming hearing.
c) Before the Court of Minor Causes, the timeline to send the summons and the parties first appearance should be within eight days, and it will 15 days for the matters before the High Court or High Court of Appeal
d) For urgent matters and their proceedings, the court will usually give a 24-hour notice period for the attendance. The periods of each dispute will vary concerning the complexities of the cases.
The Court of Minor Causes will take about six months from the commencement up to judgment. In High Court, it’s up to 3 to 6 months, while it’s 2-4 months in the case of the High Court of Appeals. When it comes to the Court of Cassation, it will take up to 12 months. If we take a closer look at the Lower Courts of Shari’a, the time frame is up to 3 to 6 months. While in the Higher Court of Shari’a, it will take up to 3 to 6 months and 18 months in the Court of Cassation under Shari’a Court.
All the lower courts can apply for Appeal to their following superior courts. The time frame to file for an appeal in each court is about 45 days once the judgment is issued. If the court issued a decision in front of all parties, then the time frame for commencement for filing will be from the date of issue of judgment. The chance to file an appeal will be declined if the party fails to appeal within the time limit.
It varies by the complexities of the case. In High Court, the time frame is up to 6 months, while it’s up to 2 to 4 months for the High Courts of Appeal. For the Court of Cassation, it’s up to 12 months. The Higher Court of Shari’a and High Shari’a Courts of Appeal it’s up to 3 to 6 months. When it comes to the Court of Cassation, the time frame is up to 18 months.
The litigation costs in Bahrain courts are classified as court fees and lawyer’s fees. The court fee will comprise the claim registration fee, which is up to 2.5% of the claim amount to the clerk, expert fees, the court’s sole discretion, and the judges. The court has the full authority to award the court fee, including the lawyer’s fee, from the unsuccessful party. Generally, the other fees rather than the court fees are awarded, which is minimal, and it will not reflect the actual costs which the party incurs. Such fees will usually be less than USD 600.