CAN YOU USE WHATSAPP MESSAGES AS EVIDENCE IN UAE COURTS?
“I’ll WhatsApp you the details,” is a typical expression because WhatsApp is the most often used internet platform when compared to other electronic communication platforms. With the increasing use of WhatsApp messages in our daily lives, many people have begun to wonder if these messages can be used as written evidence in a court of law.
Federal Law No. 1 of 2006 Concerning Electronic Transactions and Commerce, also known as the Electronic Transactions Law, governs electronic evidence. Article 5/1 of the Electronic Transactions Law states that “1- If the law requires the retention of a document, record, or information for any reason, this condition is satisfied by the retention of this document, record, or information in electronic record form, provided that the following conditions are met:
a.) Retention of the electronic record in its original form, in which it was generated, sent, or received, or in a form that accurately reflects the information as it was generated, communicated, or received; and
b.) Retention of information that is available for later use and reference.
c.) Retention of information, if any, that enables the electronic message’s origin, destination, date, and time of sending and receipt.”
The preceding paragraph clearly states that the WhatsApp message saved on your mobile device can be used as evidence. Any message transferred from another electronic device to your mobile device, on the other hand, cannot be considered evidence.
Furthermore, under Article 4 of the Electronic Transactions law, all contents maintained in an electronic device may be used as evidence in court, the law states:
“1- An electronic message’s legal effect and enforceability shall not be denied solely because it is in electronic form.”
2- Information proven in an electronic message shall not be denied legal conclusiveness, even if it is briefly mentioned, if review of the contents of this information is available inside the electronic system of its originator, and review instructions are indicated in the message.”
Another important provision for any commercial dispute between the parties is found in Article 6 of the Electronic Transactions Law, which states that.
- This Law does not require any person to use or accept information in electronic form, but his consent is concluded from his positive behavior.”
- Information proven in an electronic message shall not be denied legal conclusiveness, even if given briefly, if the details of these are reviewed.
- All parties involved in the creation, transmission, receipt, storage, or processing of any electronic record may enter into agreements that contradict any of the provisions listed in chapter 2 of this law.
- In order to avoid the provisions of paragraph (1), the Government’s endorsement of electronic dealing in transactions in which it is a party must be explicit.”
According to previous laws, all courts in the UAE accept WhatsApp messages as significant evidence in all proceedings, whether they be criminal, civil, commercial, or domestic conflicts between the parties. However, it is important to note that these conversations must be printed and translated into Arabic to be accepted as evidence in court.