How to get relief from contractual obligation
January 12 2018 11:22 PM
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legal

By Dr Nizar Kochery/Doha

Question: In our subcontract, a clause stipulates that the risk of force majeure is with the subcontractor. Is there a way to get relief? Now we are in huge debt and there is no way to overcome it. Can we approach the court?
DT, Doha
Answer: The Qatar Civil Law – Law No. 22 of 2004 governs contracts and relationship between parties and force majeure provisions in contracts are enforceable. As per the said law, under the principle ‘freedom of contract’ parties are free to agree whatever contract terms they choose. The contract makes the law of the parties and can be revoked or altered only by mutual consent of the parties or for reasons provided for by the law. The debtor may, by agreement, accept liability for unforeseen events and for cases of force majeure or sudden accident. Accordingly, as the contract transfers this risk, it will be generally binding and enforceable. 
However, Article 171(2) stipulates that when performance of the contractual obligation becomes excessively onerous in such way as to threaten the debtor with exorbitant loss, as a result of exceptional and unpredictable events of a general character, the judge may, according to the circumstances, and after taking into consideration the interests of both parties, reduce to reasonable limits by lessening its extent or increasing its consideration, the obligation that has become excessive. Any agreement to the contrary is void. Hence, a debtor may apply to the court to have his contractual obligation reduced to a “reasonable margin”. 

End-of-service benefits for domestic workers
Q: Please explain whether the end-of-service provisions in the law are applicable to domestic workers. Are they entitled to end-of-service benefits? 
KK, Doha
A: The provisions of Law No.14 of 2004 – the Labour Law are not applicable to house drivers, cooks, nurses etc. working at home. However, upon implementation of Law No. 15 of 2017 – Domestic Workers Law, domestic workers will be entitled for various benefits including gratuity. Article 15 of the said law stipulates that the employer is responsible for paying end-of-service benefits to domestic workers who spent minimum one year in service. The benefits shall be determined by the agreement between parties provided that it shall be at least three weeks’ wages for each year spent in service. A domestic worker shall be entitled to fractions of the year multiplied by the period spent in service. 

Designated areas for clearing waste
Q: I am working in a waste management company. The company is forcing me to collect waste and dispose of in a suitable place. No designated place for clearing it is given to me. I am new to Qatar. Please advise. 
JX, Doha
A: Law No. 30 of 2002, the Environmental Protection Law, was implemented for protection and preservation of the quality and natural balance of the environment. According to Article 32 of the law, dumping and burning garbage or treatment of solid and liquid waste shall be restricted except in designated areas away from residential, industrial and agricultural areas and waterways. Any person who breaches the said provision shall be punished with a fine not less than QR5,000 and not exceeding QR50,000.

Wages during sick leave
Q: I am working in a LLC contracting company as site supervisor. Two weeks ago, I obtained leave from the company for undergoing medical treatment. Under the employment law, am I eligible for wages during my leave period? What is the procedure to be followed for extension of leave? 
KD, Doha
A: Article 82 of the Labour Law provides the worker sick leave with pay on completion of three months in service subject to production of sickness certificate to prove his sickness from a physician approved by the employer. The worker is entitled for full wage for the first two weeks and half of his wage for other four weeks. The extension of the sick leave thereafter shall be without pay until the worker resumes his work or resigns or his service is terminated for health reasons. The service of the worker may be terminated at the end of the 12th week of the sick leave if it has been proved by a report issued by the competent physician that the worker is unable to resume his work at that time.

Case of alcoholic drinks in the car
Q: What action will be taken against a person who was arrested with alcoholic drinks in the car in a public place? He was not drunk and the case was charged for selling alcohol. Please advise. 
SI, Doha 
A: According to Article 273 of penal law, anyone who sells or buys, delivers or receives, transports or possesses alcohol or alcoholic beverages, or deals with alcohol in any way for the purpose of trade or promotion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine not exceeding QR10,000, or with both.


 * Please send your questions by e-mail to: [email protected]

LEGAL SYSTEM IN QATAR

The defence of lack of jurisdiction, or invalidity of summons and all other defences pertaining to procedures shall be raised together before any application or defence is made in the case or the defence of non-acceptance, otherwise the right to use these defences shall lapse. The court shall decide on these defences separately before considering the subject matter of the lawsuit, unless it decides to add them to the subject matter, in which case the court shall clarify its decision on each one of them separately.
The defence of lack of power due to lack of jurisdiction, or by reason of kind and value of the case, shall be determined by the court of its own motion and may be raised at any stage of the lawsuit proceedings. The defence of unacceptability of a lawsuit due to res judicata shall be decided by the court of its own motion. 
As per Article 76, the court may, on its own motion, order the joinder of such person it deems fit or if a person associated with one of the parties through agreement or an obligation that cannot be separated or the person who may suffer damage upon delivery of a judgment on such case, if it will serve justice or reveal the truth. The court shall fix a date for the party who joined upon an order to appear. 
Any interested person may join the lawsuit to any of the parties or claim judgment for a remedy connected with the case. The joinder application shall be in accordance with the normal procedure for filing lawsuits, prior to the date of the hearing, or by verbal application in the presence of the parties, shall be recorded in its minutes. The joinder application shall not be permitted after close of pleadings. The court shall decide on every dispute relating to acceptance of joinder. Joinder shall cause deferment of judgment in the case whenever it is fit for judgment. The court shall decide on joinder applications together with the original case, whenever it is possible, otherwise it shall reserve the joinder application for judgment after granting the same. 
According to Article 79, Interlocutory applications from the plaintiff or the defendant shall be submitted to the court before the date of hearing or by verbal application to be submitted in the presence of the other party, and shall be noted in the hearing minutes. Interlocutory applications shall not be permitted after close of pleadings. 
The plaintiff may submit the following interlocutory applications: (1) Correction of the original application or amendment of its subject to deal with circumstances that occurred or emerged after filing the case; (2) Addition or amendment to the cause of action while the subject of the original application remains the same; (3) Complementary application to the original one or arising therefrom or connected therewith, in an indivisible manner; (4) Order for precautionary or provisional proceedings; and (5) Whatever the court may allow to be submitted relating to the original application. 
According to Article 82, the court shall decide on every dispute relating to the acceptance of interlocutory applications. Interlocutory applications shall not cause deferment of judgment in the case whenever it is fit for judgment. The court shall decide on matters pertaining to interlocutory applications together with the case, whenever it is possible, otherwise it shall reserve the interlocutory application for judgment after granting the same, unless a judgment in the case is subject to a judgment on the interlocutory application.



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