Claim No. CFI 016/2015
THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
IN THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
(1) MOHAMMAD ABU ALHAJ
(2) ABU ALHAJ HOLDING
(1) SHEIK SULTAN KHALIFA SULTAN AL NEHAYAN IN HIS CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR OF GOLD HOLDING LTD
(2) SHEIK SULTAN KHALIFA SULTAN AL NEHAYAN
ORDER WITH REASONS OF JUSTICE ROGER GILES
UPON reviewing the Claimants’ request by way of email dated 2 March 2016 seeking an extension of time to file Particulars of Claim and an Appeal Notice
AND UPON reviewing the Defendants’ response dated 6 March 2016
AND UPON reading the submissions and evidence filed and recorded on the Court file
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1.The request for an extension of time to file Particulars of Claim be refused.
2. The request for an extension of time to file an Appeal Notice be granted, and the Appeal Notice (if any) shall be filed within 7 days of the date of this order and in any event no later than 4pm on Wednesday 16 March 2016.
3. The Claimants shall pay the Defendants’ costs of the request.
Date of Issue: 9 March 2016
SCHEDULE OF REASONS
1. There were three claims in the proceedings, identified in my reasons given on 16 February 2016 (issued on 18 February 2016) as the shares claim, the mismanagement claim and the defamation claim. I ordered –
(a) that there be judgment for the Defendants in relation to the mismanagement claim;
(b) that paragraphs of the Particulars of Claim relating to the defamation claim be struck out; and
(c) that further particulars of paragraphs relating to the shares claim be provided.
2. The date by which the further particulars were to be provided, in the events that happened, was 3 March 2016. The Claimants having indicated an intention to apply for permission to appeal, the time for filing an application was extended to the same date.
3. On 2 March 2016 the Claimants applied by email for extension of the times for providing the further particulars and “for filing an appeal”. Mr Abu Alhaj provided an email dated 1 March 2016 from a firm of lawyers declining to accept instructions (although in what regard was not made clear), said that this was unexpected, and requested an additional 45 days in which to retain other lawyers “and/or prepare the documents myself”.
4. The Defendants opposed any extension of time.
5. The statement that the declining to accept instructions was unexpected is curious, when the Claimants had requested that the hearing fixed for 16 February 2016 be adjourned because, despite their best efforts from at least the end of November 2015, a number of “international law firms” had declined to represent them. The email of 1 March 2016 was from such a firm. In refusing that request, I said that I was not satisfied as to inability to obtain legal representation. I remain of that view.
6. The provision of particulars and applying for permission to appeal should be separately addressed.
7. The particulars as identified in my reasons were apparently in Mr Abu Alhaj’s knowledge. It was not difficult for him to provide them, either when an approach to the firm was not promptly fruitful or after it was fruitless. I see no reason to extend the time. Failure to provide the particulars does not have an immediate consequence; it can found an application by the Defendants pursuant to RDC 4.16(3). If such an application is made, it can be decided on the materials and in the circumstances then presented.
8. Correct presentation of an application for permission to appeal can more readily explain an approach to the firm of lawyers and failure to apply within time: although as my earlier reasons indicate, I am satisfied that the Claimants have some informal legal assistance. I am prepared to allow a short further time, but it should be met whether or not legal assistance is obtained. I will extend the time for filing any application for permission to appeal until 4pm on 16 March 2016, being 7 days from the date of this Order.
9. The Claimants’ request was necessary because of their default. They must pay the Defendants’ costs of responding to it.
10. The Registry will email these reasons to the Claimants’ email address in the Claim Form.
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