Law firms for distressed Indians’ cases

Dubai: Distressed Indians in Dubai and Northern Emirates will soon get their government’s aid in fighting their legal cases as the Indian Consulate is all set to hire a panel of law firms for the same.

The mission has invited proposals for empanelment of law firms for assisting it with court cases of distressed Indian nationals living in Dubai and Northern Emirates that fall under its jurisdiction.

The move follows the expansion of the scope of Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to provide financial assistance to distressed Indians to fight their legal cases here in the most deserving cases.

On Thursday, the consulate posted on its website that it would accept proposals from law firms for empanelment up to May 15.

Earlier it had invited legal firms to send their proposals in sealed covers with the caption “Proposals for Empanelment of Law Firms” addressed to Sumathi Vasudev, consul (Consular and Labour) by April 29.

When contacted, officials said the deadline was extended as the mission wishes to include as many law firms as possible in its panel.

“This is for addressing the problems of legal issues faced by community members,” said one official who did not wish to be named.

“We will be providing legal assistance to deserving community members on a means tested basis.”

Law firms, irrespective of the nationality of the owners and the lawyers, can be members of the missions’ panel.

Details such as the emirates in which they are permitted to practise in, major achievements of the firms, their experiences in handling Indians’ cases and other specific details need to be furnished to the consulate to be enrolled in its panel.

“Whenever there is a case of a distressed community member, which we choose on a means tested basis, we will provide the case synopsis and seek quotations from the panel of law firms. We will then hire the one quoting the least for taking up the case,” the official said.

The legal firm hired for the cases will be paid from the ICWF.

Most of the cases the mission receives are related to labourers.

“We even have cases where white collar workers are suffering. We do offer support if they are genuinely in need of it. We would like to provide assistance as many people as possible who are in distress,” the official said.

Before the expansion of the community fund, the mission’s role in legal assistance to the community members was limited to providing legal counselling through the Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC).

The IWRC offers free legal counselling by volunteering lawyers from the Indian community. It also conducts legal awareness campaigns in labour accommodations, holds open houses and streams Facebook live events with legal counsellors.

Open House today

The fourth Open House of the Indian Consulate in Dubai will be held from 3pm to 5pm today, the mission said.

Senior officers will be available to address the issues and grievances faced by the members of the Indian community. This is the forum where community members can bring the legal issues and other problems to the notice of their government. The first meeting of the recently formed community volunteering teams will also be held after the Open House session.

The IWRC is also conducting free Open House sessions on Friday and Saturday at its office in Dubai from 3pm to 6pm. The same will be held in its Sharjah office on Saturday at the same time.

Expert advice from lawyers and other counsellors will be provided without prior appointment, it tweeted.

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