Special panel for Ajman realty cases

Legal committee to be set up by first quarter of this year . Could also take up cases related to bounced cheques. (EB FILE)

A legal committee to settle disputes between developers and investors in Ajman is expected to be set up within the first quarter of 2010 and may take up cheque-related cases, a senior government official told Emirates Business.

"Although we expected the committee to start functioning by the end of 2009, we expect to get a clearance from the Ministry of Justice soon. Besides resolving disputes between developers and investors, it might also take up issues related to cheques and post-dated cheques involved in real estate transactions," said Omar Al Barguthi, Director-General of Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Arra).

The committee will comprise five members nominated by the Executive Council and will be headed by a judge assigned by the Ministry of Justice.

In November, the Dubai Government established a new judicial committee to deal with bounced cheque cases in the property sector.

"We understand that Arra is working with the Ruler's Court of Ajman on a decree to establish a 'bounced cheque committee'. The decree is expected to be passed within the next two months," said Lisa Dale, Partner and Head of Property Department, Al Tamimi & Company.

"This follows Dubai's move, where a similar committee was recently established on the directions of Dubai's Ruler. We are aware of a number of cases in Ajman where purchasers bought property off-plan and gave developers post-dated cheques. Where purchasers fail to honour these cheques, either because the developer has not progressed with construction or because the purchaser is facing financial difficulty, the developer will often file a criminal complaint to apply pressure on the purchaser to make payment. In a number of instances, purchasers have left the country rather than face criminal prosecution," she said.

 

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