Qatar, officially called ‘State of Qatar’ located in Western Asia and its sole land, is neighbouring with GCC Monarchy Saudi Arabia with Islam as their official religion. Nowadays, Qatar also has challenges faced when it comes to debt collection procedures because of the difference in varied cultures and language barriers like other gulf countries. Thus, when the people refrain from paying the debt to the creditors, then the creditors will go for debt recovery methods available. As we have seen in other countries above, like Saudi Arabia and Oman, the creditors would not go directly to the court. Still, instead, they will go for the prelitigation process rather than dealing the court trials and complex procedures, which is time-consuming and expensive. This article will examine the debt collection procedures in Qatar and the prelitigation process, and the court proceedings to recover the debt.
As we have discussed in Saudi Arabia and Oman, the debt collection procedure will begin in the banks of Qatar, followed by the prelitigation and the court procedures if the debtors refrained from paying the debt. In Qatar, the debt collection will also get started when the creditor sets a date for the deduction and schedules the payment schedules agreed between both parties. The creditors could deduct the monthly payments from the debtor’s account, termed as instalments. But the creditors are not allowed to reduce or cut off any other additional costs or charge for the same. The bank has to reschedule the debt if any situations come up which was not voluntary from the debtor’s side. The reschedules must be done within 30 days. The bank could not block or deduct any instalment or amount from the debtor’s account without judgment or ruling.
Debt collection procedures will be initiated at the banks and will be followed by the prelitigation process. But mostly, the creditors will use the available prelitigation methods rather than the time-consuming and expensive court trials. In most cases, prelitigation methods for debt collection solve most of the issues and are very effective in getting the payment from the debtors in a favourable to both parties. Qatar also has similar kinds of prelitigation modes and the methods like Saudi Arabia and Oman. The creditors must use authorized communication modes like Emails, telephones, registered mails, SMS, message, etc. Such ways must include the creditor’s name, area of the defaulted payment, including the contact number and working hours of the third party. The creditors could try to reach the debtors through phone calls and keep in mind keeping all those call recordings safe. The creditors must not give any false information related to the consequences of the nonpayment of the debt.
In virtue of the Qatar Financial Center Law, no.7 of 2005, which is amended by law no.2 of 2009, the civil and commercial courts were established. The Minister of Economy and finance have enacted resolution No 1 of 2011 sets forth the regulations and the procedural laws courts, including the Appellate circuits. The Rules generally expounds the court as a Qatari court, but the court is international. The court proceedings are taken place in the English language through the court pay due respect to the fact that Arabic is their official language in Qatar. Thus, if the parties in the court want to conduct the trials in Arabic, they can do so. The court also encourages the parties to settle the matters through mediation, arbitration, or any other methods that come under the Alternative dispute resolution or dispute resolution centre. When it comes to the structure of the courts, it has two circuits and an appeal circuit. Each circuity consists of three judges. The decisions made by the appeal courts will be considered final.
The procedures to initiate a claim in a Qatar court is given as follows:
To resolve a dispute and to bring a dispute, the party must notify the Registrar of the Court. The notification given should be in writing, and the matters should be summarized in the notice. The party should contact the Registrar for the same.
Now, what should be included in the claim form?
The parties must keep in mind that the validity of the claim form is only up to 4 months from the date of stamping the Registrar.
a) The name of the parties involved in the dispute.
b) The nature of the dispute must be identified.
c) Any facts that are relied upon and the documents that have to be attached should be identified.
d) The Court’s jurisdiction.
e) The claim must include its legal base, and if there is any QFC legislation relied on, it should be noted accordingly.
f) The requested relief of remedy for the dispute.
Along with any other documents, the claim form should be filed by recorded mail, personal service, fax, or any other method agreed between the parties or by the court’s direction. The electronic service to serve claim forms is only permissible in addition to or instead of these methods or services. No need for any such claim form if the party is outside Qatar. The claimant is obliged to make sure that the claim form must be served according to the rules and regulations.
After receiving the notice against oneself in the court, the respondent responds with a defense—which should be in writing and given within 28 days. The response should be delivered to Registrar and to all other parties who are involved in the dispute. The reason must contain all the facts that are relied on and the documents that have to be attached. The defence also includes a certificate signed by the respondent stating that all the facts are accurate and genuine. The respondent must contest the jurisdiction of the court for the dispute. For doing the same, the respondent must notify the claimant and the registry within 14 days of writing the claim form.
The claimant should respond to the respondent’s defence, and if the claimant wants to file further statements regarding the case, the claimant has to seek permission from the court.
All such notice or documents filed to contest the court’s jurisdiction must be filed at the court’s registry. It should be filed through fax, by post, or in person. The electronic file is only allowed only in addition to or filing the actual copy of the document.
The procedural nature and its directions are generally given by a single judge or by the Registrar. In some instances, directions hearings can also be held through a telephone call. Sometimes, the court will order the case management directions and generally allow the parties to make representations regarding these directions on its initiative or with the party’s application.
All parties must disclose all documents in which the parties are relied upon in the dispute. Also, each of the parties can request to disclose all trusted documents or documents of the other party if they wanted to in court. The court may order to disclose certain records. The documents that need not be disclosed must set a specific period for the disclosure. The rules of the court will not derogate any rights of privilege. For examining a scientific and technical issue, an expert should be needed, and the court may appoint such experts. The experts must assist the court with his expertise.
At least 14 days of notice will be given when the parties are notified by the Registrar stating when and where will be the hearing could take place. The court will give proper directions regarding the language, venue, timing, length, an extension of written or oral submissions, or the adjournment. The court has the authority to dispense all the requests, which is an oral hearing. The primary purpose of the trials is to determine the existence of disputes between the parties. All the trail bundles which contain the relevant documents and facts must be prepared and given to the judges. It includes all the skeleton agreements and reading lists. All witnesses connected with the dispute must be given notice, and if they refrain from coming to the court, they must be summoned to the court. In some instances, the witnesses could deliver the evidence with the video links and through depositions.
There must be a summary of each party’s arguments in the case regarding the evidence, related documents, legal provisions, and witnesses. This summary must be provided to the court in advance and must not exceed 50 pages. The parties must draw a list of issues during the pre-trial review of the court. The parties require this contentious list of points for the court to decide.
Before the trial and even before the judgments, the civil claims often get settled amicably between the parties. The settlements must be recorded by the parties so that it is enforced by the courts properly. Judgments are the decisions made by the court, and the same will be handed down to the parties written either in Arabic or English and including the reason for the decision also. The decision may consist of something to do or not to do by the party. In the case of money judgments, the payment of the amount must comply within 14 days of the judgment unless the court sets a specific date. The judgment of the enforcement court is considered as any other judgment in Qatar. The parties will be deemed to be contravened the judgment if he fails to pay the amount or fails to obey the judgment made by the court and if he destroys, influences witnesses, or fabricates any such documents about the disputes.
For making any appeals, a notice of 60 days must be given to the Registrar after the judgment is delivered. For making any appeal, the parties must prove that there are substantial grounds and the decision is erroneous that it causes a severe injustice if the judgment is implemented. Thus, an appeal is always considered the case review and not a rehearing of the case again.
The cost incurred for the process is the cost that the court thinks to be fit, or the court may feel appropriate. But the general rule is that the unsuccessful party has to bear all the expenses incurred and the other party’s cost. It varies accordingly with extend and the degree of the disputes and the issues involved in the case.