Exploring Options for Non-payment by Defendants

The United Arab Emirates has enacted Federal Law No. 42 of 2022, which regulates the process, jurisdiction, and methods involved in Civil Procedural Law.

Once after securing a favorable judgment in a civil case, the claimants often face the challenge of ensuring that the defendant complies with the court’s order to pay a specified amount. This blog deals with the post-judgment scenario, referring to the available options for claimants to enforce a monetary judgment against a non-compliant defendant, including the possibility of imprisonment.

Post-Judgment Procedures:

Following a final and binding judgment, the claimant can initiate the enforcement process by approaching the Execution Court. This court is empowered to inspect and seize the defendant’s assets, compelling them to fulfill the judgment. A notice is served upon the defendant, allowing at least 15 days for payment.

Measures for Non-payment:

If the defendant fails to make the required payment within the stipulated time, the Execution Court can take various measures, including:

  • Attachment and sale of the defendant’s property (movables).
  • Seizure of stocks, bonds, and shares.
  • Auctioning of land/property.
  • Initiating bankruptcy proceedings (unusual but possible).
  • In exceptional cases, imprisonment of the defaulting debtor.
  • Civil Imprisonment/Detention:

Civil imprisonment is considered in certain circumstances. According to Article 183(1), the Execution judge can order the imprisonment of a non-compliant defendant who is not insolvent. The debtor’s solvency is negated if they possess only non-seizable funds.

Upon the claimant’s request, the Execution judge can order the defendant’s detention for a period of one month which can be extendable up to three years.  The debtor may be granted a maximum of six  months to settle the payment or allowed to pay in installments over three years with precautionary measures like travel bans.


Therefore, while in the case of imprisonment of a debtor, the Execution judge exercises discretion based on the debtor’s non-compliance and solvency status, mindful of the conditions prohibiting such measures so that law and order are been precisely exercised.

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