The payment order is a much-needed and useful method to recover debts whenever a debt is formed by a certain amount of money or an identifiable (by type and quantity) movable asset.
The payment order’s practicality is sought where the debtor is in default for cheques, promissory notes, invoices, etc. The eligibility criteria for a debt to be qualified and requested through a payment order can be outlined as follows:
- The first and most important criteria is that the debt should be stated in a written document, which can be a contract, an email, letter, etc. It is essential to understand that any claim brought before a court has to be proven; oral claims without material evidence do not qualify to be presented before courts for a payment order.
- The debt has to be due, meaning that the creditor’s right has matured (in case there is a period to lapse or a condition to be fulfilled before the creditor can exercise his right of claiming and entitlement, then the creditor has no other way but to wait for the time to pass or the condition to happen)
- As mentioned above as well, a creditor can present his claim before the court only if the object of claim is a determined amount of money or movable assets (for the later by type and quantity)
- Lastly, the law allows for legal interests to be calculated (in such case, since the debt is due, the legal interest can be claimed and calculated as a penalty for the delay in payment). Moreover, the creditor can also use the precautionary measures (such as the attachment of the debtor’s assets in possessions of third parties, movable assets, shares, bonds reaching as far as debtor’s detention, and/or imposing a travel ban on him to secure the recovery of the due funds).
Claims arising out of commercial contracts or commercial papers are also eligible to be recovered by using the payment order. The law does expressly mention this eligibility to avoid any doubt that such claims can be recovered only by filing a commercial case.
If the creditor’s claim meets the requirements, before submitting such a request before the court, the debtor must be duly and legally notified with notice of a minimum five days to pay all the amounts due to the creditor. Such notification must be made through the Notary Public, since this is the only official channel and will present credibility when the case reaches the judge, eliminating at the same time any possible argument by the debtor of not receiving such notification, or such notification did not respect the minimum requirements.
The payment order is an extremely useful instrument and provides expenditure and fast forward process for the funds’ recovery, with the minimum hustle and few requirements.
If the claim is disputed, and the debtor rejects the creditor’s claim for any reason, then it is advisable not to choose the payment order route to recuperate the debt since the court may reject it due to the fact that disputed claims/amounts will generate a larger dispute where parties will be requested to bring extra evidence, more hearings will take place and, generally speaking, payment orders are meant to be the “fast lane” of debts collection cases, not the classical one.
Payment orders can be used for any subject that meets the above-mentioned criteria, related either to civil claims, personal status claims, commercial claims, or even employment claims. As long as they claim it is not disputed by the debtor/defendant. If the payment order request is rejected, the creditor can always return and file a substantive claim before the court.
We would recommend that everybody consult a professional specialized legal consultant before taking such a route to avoid later disappointment. A one-hour meeting with a professional to review the documents and make sure the payment order criteria can be applied to a given debt collection case may save a lot of time, effort, and money.
Elnaggar & Partners
Legal Editor of The UAE Jurist