A landmark class action against the UK government is being prepared by clients of Radha Stirling, David Haigh and a UK Queen’s Counsel.
The action is based on the UK government’s failure in its duty of care towards citizens about the dangers of places like Dubai and the UAE. The Government has failed to give sufficient warning to UK nationals travelling to the Sharia governed desert state, it has failed to respond to requests for help for British citizens who fall foul of the strict laws, and when it does respond, it takes almost no action on behalf of its citizens.
The Treaty between the UK and UAE on judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters. (2009) states in Article 1 that, “Nationals of one Party shall, in the territory of the other Party, enjoy the same judicial protection as nationals of the other Party and shall have the right of access to courts of the other Party under the same conditions as those for the nationals of the other Party.” This is clearly not the normal experience of UK Nationals in countries like the UAE.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Managing Partner at Stirling Haigh, a UK based legal advisory firm, along with Queen’s Counsel, have reviewed a number of cases of British nationals who have suffered legal abuse abroad. They are fielding calls from citizens seeking to join the action and expect the total number of complainants to be in the vicinity of 50-100.
Statements taken so far have included everything from small debt cases, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and detention without charges, to large commercial cases where the UK hasn’t enforced the Treaty and large amounts of money have been lost.
The breaches have left UK businessmen and private individuals flailing as Emirati companies are allowed to steal from UK businessmen with impunity. In the UK, they are protected by the lack of enforcement of the treaty and in the UAE, they are protected by the courts and the law, while UK nationals remain fully exposed, imprisoned and in many cases left penniless.
The recent case of Dr. Haddad who has lost millions of pounds of profits and investments in KMG holdings will feature prominently in the lawsuit. Dr. Haddad was a successful businessman in the UAE, and a partner in the highly profitable KM Holdings when he was illegally deprived of his corporate assets by his local business partner, who then employed Habib Al Mulla to file a series of frivolous civil cases against him.
Mr Haddad stated “The aim of this was to lock me out of my own business and to appropriate my shares in the company.
In order to achieve this, Habib Al Mulla illegally represented both partners in the same civil case, without having obtained Power of Attorney. During this farcical court case, Al Mulla “confessed” on my behalf (with no legal authority to do so) to the crime of embezzlement, which ultimately led to my being criminally charged, and to the theft of my GBP 250,000 pound share in my own company.”
Radha Stirling has issued a statement on the recent developments within the action, she says that, “repeated warnings have been issued to the UK FCO, by myself and other individuals concerning the inadequacy of their protection and the inaccuracy of their advice. Dr Haddad has spoken to them personally about his case, they admitted that the treaty has been breached but still refused to enforce it. The UK FCO have refused to make themselves publicly accountable, instead giving preference to diplomatic relations and protecting trade agreements; even to the detriment of UK citizens.”
Ms. Stirling continues, “Because Emiratis are the largest investors in the UK, they are being protected over the interests of UK nationals when it comes to business. Emirati companies are overtly favoured and using assets stolen from UK businessmen in the UAE to make their investments. It’s time for the treaty to be enforced thoroughly to stop all breaches, the UK government needs to make it known that it is on the side of its citizens, rather than foreign business investors. ”
Radha Stirling said “The FCO, while giving some travel advice, have not provided remotely sufficient information to the British public to help them avoid arrest. The majority of British nationals travelling to the UAE are committing 'crimes' without knowing it, such as sharing certain posts on Facebook and Twitter, drinking alcohol on the flight, sharing a room with their partner, holding hands in public and so on. The government does not advise citizens of the serious flaws in the judicial system that could leave people locked up for years merely on one person’s hearsay accusation. The UK Courts will not even extradite people to the UAE and in their high court ruling stated this is because of the “real risk of human rights violations and unfair trials”. If the UK courts are aware of the risks, the government needs to follow suit and advise their citizens.”