In a landmark development, Hindi has become the third official language to be used in the courts of Abu Dhabi, in a move designed to improve access to the judicial system.
UAE based media reported that foreign nationals will be able to lodge claims and raise grievances in labour cases in Hindi, which is spoken by many expat workers in the UAE.
This comes after a change in rules last year which required the plaintiffs to translate all court documents into English in civil and commercial cases, if the defendant was not an Arabic speaker.
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said the change would allow Hindi speakers to learn about litigation procedures and their rights and responsibilities without a language barrier. Interactive forms in Hindi will be made available on its website.
Yousef Saeed Al Abri, the justice department undersecretary, said this would help attract foreign investment and enhance Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a destination for skilled labour. “The adoption of multilingual interactive forms for claim sheets, grievances and requests, aims to promote judicial services in line with the plan Tomorrow 2021, and increase the transparency of litigation procedures through the provision of bilingual forms which allow foreigners to know the litigation procedures, their rights and duties without a language barrier,” Mr Al Abri said.
“This in addition to facilitating registration procedures to the public through simplified and easy forms and raising litigants’ legal awareness via interactive forms of the statements of claims, to ensure access to the legal materials related to the subject of the dispute”, he added.
Mr Al Abri said that the extension of the adoption of interactive forms in several languages comes under the directives of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Abu Dhabi Judicial Department Chairman. This is an extension of the bilingual litigation system introduced in November last year, when the translation of legal documents into Engish was mandatory if the defendant is a foreigner.
“The foreign investor receives the case files translated, thus contributing to the provision of a global judicial service that meets the requirements of residents in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” he added.
It may be noted that Hindi has the fourth highest number of native speakers in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Apart from being spoken in most of North India, it is also used in several other countries, and spoken by the large Indian diaspora living in North America, Europe and the Middle East, South Africa and other places.