UAE Court Rejects Lawsuit for Unsettled Customer Fees
In a legal twist, a law firm found itself on the losing end of a civil lawsuit filed against its own client. The firm demanded the payment of 20 thousand dirhams; the remaining fees were agreed upon for handling an inheritance lawsuit.
Dispute over Unfulfilled Legal Services
However, the Ras Al Khaimah Civil Court of First Instance rejected the lawsuit, citing the law office's failure to initiate any action regarding the inheritance case.
Contractual Agreement and Fee Structure
The plaintiff, a law firm, asserted that an agreement was reached with the defendant to act as her legal representative in filing an inheritance lawsuit in the Ras Al Khaimah Court.
The fee structure was specified in the contract; thirty thousand dirhams were due upon agreement signing and twenty thousand dirhams were due upon first-degree ruling issuing. Be advised that the fees are non-refundable regardless of the situation, as specified in the agreement.
Allegations of Negligence and Defamation
The dispute arose when the defendant allegedly requested the case file to make copies but failed to return it. Subsequently, she sent defamatory messages through WhatsApp, tarnishing the law office's reputation. In response, the law firm sought the payment of the outstanding 20 thousand dirhams in fees.
Counterclaims and Allegations of Harm
The defendant countered that the plaintiff's negligence in filing the inheritance lawsuit resulted in harm to her, including the issuance of a summary judgment appointing a guardian for the estate. Furthermore, she claimed that the plaintiff received fees for an urgent case without making any effort. In a separate lawsuit, she demanded the return of amounts received from the law firm.
Court's Ruling: Dismissal of Lawsuit
The Civil Court of First Instance ruled that the attorney's fees agreement obligated the plaintiff to initiate procedures for filing the inheritance lawsuit. However, since no such measures were taken, the court dismissed the lawsuit. The court emphasized that the estimation of fees for services rendered is within its jurisdiction, and in the absence of any actions related to the inheritance case, the court held the law firm responsible for fees and expenses.
Legal Implications: Advocacy Law and Fee Determination
The court's decision underscores the importance of adhering to legal agreements and fulfilling contractual obligations. Additionally, it emphasizes the role of the Ras Al Khaimah Law of Advocacy in determining fair and just fees for legal services.
The ruling serves as a reminder that legal practitioners must take tangible steps in representing their clients' interests to justify the fees agreed upon in contractual arrangements.