UAE Court Rejects Husband Demand for Gifted Land 7 years ago

The Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal for Family, Civil, and Administrative Claims has affirmed a previous ruling that dismissed a lawsuit filed by a husband demanding the return of a gifted plot of land from his ex-wife.

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The court maintained that the lawsuit lacked a legal basis, especially since the defendant had constructed a building on the land and mortgaged it during the marriage.

Background of the Case

A man initiated legal proceedings against his ex-wife, seeking an obligation for her to return a piece of land he had gifted to her seven years ago. The husband aimed to annul the gift declaration, re-register the land in his name, and compel the ex-wife to cover fees and expenses. The initial lawsuit highlighted that the husband, burdened by debts and legal judgments, provided evidence of the gift, including plans, a family agreement, acknowledgment of the gift, and accounting reports.

Court's Consideration

During the case review, the plaintiff requested the inclusion of a bank, seeking to obligate it to transfer the mortgage on the land to his name. However, the bank refused the transfer, requesting that the mortgage remain with the current property possessor. The defendant countered the dismissal of the case, citing the construction of a villa on the gifted land and the mortgage arrangement with the bank.

Initial Court Ruling

The court of first instance rejected the case, requiring the plaintiff to cover fees, expenses, and attorney fees. Dissatisfied with the decision, the plaintiff appealed, arguing errors in the application of the law and citing impediments to returning the gift, including the building erected by the defendant and the mortgage.

Court of Appeal's Decision

The Court of Appeal emphasised that the defendant had constructed a villa worth three million and 180 thousand dirhams on the land and mortgaged it for two million dirhams. Therefore, the plaintiff's claim lacked legal merit, given that it was filed after the defendant had built on and mortgaged the land. The court rejected the lawsuit, emphasising that the timing of the gift and the plaintiff's financial situation were crucial factors. The appeal was rejected, and the appellant was obligated to cover the associated expenses.

This legal outcome underscores the significance of timing and legal considerations in cases involving gifted properties, construction, and mortgages, even in the context of divorce and financial challenges.

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