Area Of Practice

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

By the end of World War II, the British imperial government granted independence to its Indian colony and for that matter the British Parliament enacted the Indian Independence Act, 1947. Under the Act, the British Crown relinquished its sovereign powers over India and transferred those powers to the newly established dominions of India and Pakistan on 14 August 1947. The Government of India Act, 1935, hitherto the constitution of British India, was amended to bring it in consonance with the aims and objectives of independence as laid down in the 1947 Act. The combination of these two constitutional instruments served as an interim constitutional order for both countries until their respective constituent assemblies adopted their own constitutions.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: آئین پاکستان), also known as the 1973 Constitution is the supreme law of Pakistan. Drafted by the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, with additional assistance from the country’s opposition parties, it was approved by the Parliament on 10 April and ratified on 14 August 1973.

The Constitution is intended to guide Pakistan’s law and its political culture, and system. It identifies the state (its physical existence and its borders), people and their fundamental rights, state’s constitutional law and orders, and also the constitutional structure and establishment of the institutions and the country’s armed forces. The first three chapters establish the rules, mandate, and separate powers of the three branches of the government: a bicameral legislature; an executive branch governed by the Prime Minister as chief executive; and an apex federal judiciary headed by Supreme Court. The Constitution designates the President of Pakistan as a ceremonial Head of State who is to represent the unity of the state.[4] The first six articles of the constitution outline the political system as federal parliamentary republic system; as well as Islam as its state religion. The Constitution also encapsulates provisions stipulating the legal system’s compliance with Islamic injunctions contained in the Quran and Sunnah.

The Parliament cannot make any laws which may be repugnant or contrary to the Constitution, however the Constitution itself may be amended by a two-thirds majority in both the houses of the bicameral Parliament, unlike the previous legal documents of 1956 and 1962. It has been amended over time, and most recent impulses for political upgrades and reforms has been amended. Although enforced in 1973, Pakistan, however, celebrates the adoption of the constitution on 23 March—when the first set was promulgated in 1956—each and every year as Republic Day.

TAXATION LAWS

In the Pakistan there many type of taxation laws that are contributing revenues in the government exchequer. All of them falls under the following Categories

 

Federal Taxation Laws

Provincial Taxation Laws

  • DIRECT TAXES / INCOME TAXES

    Federal income taxes are administered by the Federal Board of Revenue. Period from July 1st to June 30th is considered as a normal tax year for Pakistan tax law purposes.

    Corporate Income tax rates Currently, the Corporate Income tax rate is 29% for tax year 2019 which will be gradually reduced to 25% with each passing year whereas corporate tax rate is 35% for Banking Industry for TY 2019.

    In addition to Corporate Tax, there are other applicable income taxes including Super Tax, Minimum Tax and Tax on Undistributed reserves.

    Generally, manufacturing business is taxable at Corporate Tax rate whereas trading business and commercial imports business is taxable as “full and final tax”. For example, 5.5% withholding income tax is applicable on commercial imports and is payable at import stage. This 5.5% withholding tax will be considered as full and final tax irrespective of profitability and Corporate Tax is not applicable on this business.

     

    INDIRECT TAXES

    Indirect tax or more commonly known as sales tax is also applicable on supply of goods and provision of services. Under the 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, the right to charge sales tax on services has been given to the provincial governments whereas the right to charge sales tax on goods has been given to the federal government. Consequently, provincial revenue authorities were created to manage and collect provincial sales tax in their respective provinces.

    Below is a summary of the applicable sales tax rates in Pakistan:

Sales tax on goods: 17%

Sindh Sales tax on services: 13%

Punjab Sales tax on services: 16%

Baluchistan Sales tax on services: 15%

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Sales tax on services: 15%

CIVIL LAWS

Civil law is a branch of the law. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales, the law of Pakistan and the law of the United States, the term refers to non-criminal law. The law relating to civil wrongs and quasi-contracts is part of the civil law, as is law of property (other than property-related crimes, such as theft or vandalism. Civil law may, like criminal law, be divided into substantive law and procedural law. The rights and duties of persons (natural persons and legal persons amongst themselves is the primary concern of civil law. It is often suggested that civil proceedings are taken for the purpose of obtaining compensation for injury, and may thus be distinguished from criminal proceedings, whose purpose is to inflict punishment. However, exemplary damages or punitive damages may be awarded in civil proceedings. It was also formerly possible for common informers to sue for a penalty in civil proceedings.

Because some courts have both civil and criminal jurisdiction, civil proceedings cannot be defined as those taken in civil courts. In the United States, the expression “civil courts” is used as a shorthand for “trial courts in civil cases”.

In England, the burden of proof in civil proceedings is, in general—with a number of exceptions such as committal proceedings for civil contempt—proof on a balance of probabilities. In civil cases in the law of the Maldives, the burden of proof requires the plaintiff to convince the court of the plaintiff’s entitlement to the relief sought. This means that the plaintiff must prove each element of the claim, or cause of action in order to recover. we provide the following rights under the civil litigation

Debt Recovery Law

Business Restructuring and Creditor Rights Practice Area represents debtors and creditors in all aspects of business restructurings, workouts and bankruptcies. Our value proposition for clients lies in providing “East Coast” experience and expertise at “Mid-West” hourly rates. The practice consists of partners and associates spread among the firm’s Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad offices. We have extensive experience in the automotive, steel, telecommunications, basic manufacturing, retail and wholesale goods, and distress debt trading industries. Our attorneys regularly appear on behalf of clients in bankruptcy courts in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and pro hac vice in bankruptcy courts across Pakistan, including in Peshawar and Quetta.

Defamation Law

The term defamation is defined as “Holding up to a person to ridicule, scorn or contempt in a respectable and considerable part of the community; may be criminal as well as civil. Includes both libel and slander. Defamation is that which tends to injure reputation; to diminish the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence in which the plaintiff is held, or to excite adverse, derogatory or unpleasant feelings or opinions against him. Statement which exposes person to contempt, hatred, ridicule or obloquy. The unprivileged publication of false statements which naturally and proximately result in injury to another. A communication is defamatory if it tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him. The meaning of a communication is that which the recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably, understands that it was intended to express.”

With regard to falsity the law is that if the matter is defamatory falsity is presumed until it is proved to be true. Words are prima facie defamatory when their natural, obvious and primary sense is defamatory, but there may be words and expressions which are prima facie innocent but in their secondary or latent meaning they may be defamatory.

Land Acquisition Law

Acquisition is the act of becoming the owner of certain property, the act by which one acquires or procures the property. The law relating to land acquisition is referred to in England as the law of “compulsory purchase” and it is an expression of what is known in Pakistan, as the “power of eminent domain”. This law empowers the state, as an exception to the general rule, to compel an owner of property to sell it to the state or to an agency or entity authorized by the state because the same is required for the use of the state or such agency or entity. The law also provides that a proper price be paid to such owner.

Land of the public may be acquired by the State for a public purpose meaning hereby for the use of the public or people at large, or, for a company. Acquisition of land needed for public purposes and for companies and for determining the amount of compensation to be paid on account of such acquisition. The purpose of land acquisition is two-fold: firstly to fulfill the needs of Government and companies for land required by them for their projects, and secondly, to determine and pay compensation to those private persons or bodies whose land is so acquired. The exercise of the power of acquisition has been limited to public purposes.

Leasing Law

In accordance with Section 2 (15A) (b) of the Companies Ordinance 1984, Financial Institution includes a leasing company. The provision as to establishment and regulation of leasing companies is contained in Section 282-A of the Companies Ordinance 1984, which is enlisted in the Non Banking Finance Companies (NBFC’s). The Federal Government has made rules for establishment and regulation of NBFC’s which include the rules for leasing companies. It cannot be incorporated without prior approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and license is issued by it. In view of the practical difficulties being faced by the NBFC’s, engaged in the business of leasing only (previously known as leasing companies), in giving effect to their business transactions and preparation of accounts, the Commission considering it necessary and expedient so to do, has decided to issue directions for the aforesaid NBFC’s. The Commission therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 282-D of the Companies Ordinance 1984 has directed all undertakings, the business of leasing only to conduct their business in conformity with the directions / regulations, called Prudential Regulations for NBFC’s undertaking, which are similar to the regulations prescribed through the Leasing Companies (Establishment and Regulations) Rules 2000.

Mortgage Laws

Mortgage is the transfer of an interest in specific immovable property for the purpose of securing the payment of money advanced or to be advanced by way of loan, an existing or future debt, or the performance of an engagement which may give rise to a pecuniary liability.

The transferor is called a mortgagor, the transferee a mortgagee; the principal money and interest of which payment is secured for the time being are called the mortgage-money, and the instrument (if any) by which the transfer is effected is called a mortgage-deed

Consumer Laws

The idea of consumer protection laws was firstly adopted in Pakistan by the Federal Government in 1995 when The Islamabad Consumer Protection Act, 1995 was passed. Later on The Provincial Governments followed this pattern and the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa passed The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Consumer Protection Act, 1997. The provincial assembly of Baluchistan passed The Baluchistan Consumer Protection Act, 2003, the provincial assembly of Punjab passed The Punjab Consumers Protection Act, 2005 and provincial assembly of Sindh passed a Consumer Protection Bill in 2015 to protect the rights of consumers. The basic purpose of making these Acts, a part of our legislation, is to establish a prosperous society where all consumers may feel themselves secured and where there is no room exists for fraudulent acts.

After the approval of these Acts, district consumer courts are established for all the districts of Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan while the enactment in Sindh province is in process, so that people may easily access to these courts for the protection of their rights. Along these district consumer courts a network of district consumer protection councils has been spread in all four provinces of Pakistan. These councils are established to create awareness among masses about their basic rights and benefits as a consumer.

CRIMINAL LAWS

Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people inclusive of one’s self. Most criminal law is established by statute, which is to say that the laws are enacted by a legislature. Criminal law includes the punishment and rehabilitation of people who violate such laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation, rather than on punishment or rehabilitation. Criminal procedure is a formalized official activity that authenticates the fact of commission of a crime and authorizes punitive or rehabilitative treatment of the offender.

 

The criminal justice system encompasses the entire criminal process itself — from investigation and arrest, to conviction and sentencing — and the people who play a role in that process. These include the accused, police officers, prosecuting attorneys, bail bondsmen, criminal defense attorneys, judges, witnesses, probation officers, and corrections officers.

At all stages of the criminal process, a person suspected of or charged with a crime is entitled to certain fundamental rights that derive from the Pakistan Constitution and key court decisions. These include the right to an attorney and the right to a speedy jury trial. These constitutional rights provide a balance between the government’s interest in ensuring that criminal behavior is identified and punished, and the fundamental need to preserve and promote the individual freedoms that characterize a democratic society.

ACTUS REUS

Actus reus is Latin for “guilty act” and is the physical element of committing a crime. It may be accomplished by an action, by threat of action, or exceptionally, by an omission to act, which is a legal duty to act. For example, the act of A striking B might suffice, or a parent’s failure to give food to a young child also may provide the actus reus for a crime.

Where the actus reus is a failure to act, there must be a duty of care. A duty can arise through contract, a voluntary undertaking, a blood relation with whom one lives, and occasionally through one’s official position. Duty also can arise from one’s own creation of a dangerous situation. On the other hand, it was held in the U.K. that switching off the life support of someone in a persistent vegetative state is an omission to act and not criminal. Since discontinuation of power is not a voluntary act, not grossly negligent, and is in the patient’s best interests, no crime takes place. In this case it was held that since a PVS patient could not give or withhold consent to medical treatment, it was for the doctors to decide whether treatment was in the patient’s best interest. It was reasonable for them to conclude that treatment was not in the patient’s best interest, and should therefore be stopped, when there was no prospect of improvement. It was never lawful to take active steps to cause or accelerate death, although in certain circumstances it was lawful to withhold life sustaining treatment, including feeding, without which the patient would die.

An actus reus may be nullified by an absence of causation. For example, a crime involves harm to a person, the person’s action must be the but for cause and proximate cause of the harm. If more than one cause exists (e.g. harm comes at the hands of more than one culprit) the act must have “more than a slight or trifling link” to the harm.

Causation is not broken simply because a victim is particularly vulnerable. This is known as the thin skull rule.[18] However, it may be broken by an intervening act (novus actus interveniens) of a third party, the victim’s own conduct, or another unpredictable event. A mistake in medical treatment typically will not sever the chain, unless the mistakes are in themselves “so potent in causing death.

Mens rea

Mens rea is another Latin phrase, meaning “guilty mind”. This is the mental element of the crime. A guilty mind means an intention to commit some wrongful act. Intention under criminal law is separate from a person’s motive (although motive does not exist in Scots law).

A lower threshold of mens rea is satisfied when a defendant recognizes an act is dangerous but decides to commit it anyway. This is recklessness. It is the mental state of mind of the person at the time the actus reus was committed. For instance, if C tears a gas meter from a wall to get the money inside, and knows this will let flammable gas escape into a neighbour’s house, he could be liable for poisoning. Courts often consider whether the actor did recognize the danger, or alternatively ought to have recognized a risk. Of course, a requirement only that one ought to have recognized a danger (though he did not) is tantamount to erasing intent as a requirement. In this way, the importance of mens rea has been reduced in some areas of the criminal law but is obviously still an important part in the criminal system.

Wrongfulness of intent also may vary the seriousness of an offense and possibly reduce the punishment but this is not always the case. A killing committed with specific intent to kill or with conscious recognition that death or serious bodily harm will result, would be murder, whereas a killing effected by reckless acts lacking such a consciousness could be manslaughter. On the other hand, it matters not who is actually harmed through a defendant’s actions. The doctrine of transferred malice means, for instance, that if a man intends to strike a person with his belt, but the belt bounces off and hits another, mens rea is transferred from the intended target to the person who actually was struck.[Note: The notion of transferred intent does not exist within Scots’ Law. In Scotland, one would not be charged with assault due to transferred intent, but instead assault due to recklessness.

FAMILY LAWS

Divorce Law

Here you may find information about divorce law and lawyers in Pakistan. Our dedicated team of professional lawyers best assists their clients as to divorce law in Pakistan. Divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage before the death of either spouse. It can be contrasted with an annulment, which is a declaration that a marriage is void, though the effects of marriage may be recognized in such unions, such as spousal support or alimony, child custody, child support, and distribution of property.

In some jurisdictions, a divorce must be certified by a court of law, as a legal action is needed to dissolve the prior legal act of marriage. The terms of the divorce are also determined by the court, though they may take into account prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements, or simply ratify terms that the spouses have agreed on privately. Often, however, the spouses disagree about the terms of the divorce, which can lead to stressful and expensive litigation. Less adversarial approaches to divorce settlements have recently emerged, such as mediation and collaborative divorce, which negotiate mutually acceptable resolution to conflicts. In some other countries, when the spouses agree to divorce and to the terms of the divorce, it can be certified by a non-judiciary administrative entity.

Succession Law / Law of Inheritance

 

We have a great expertise in the settlement of inheritance as per suni and shia Laws. It may include filing of suit for declaration for the children and wife of the deceased person. Succession Certificate will be issued.

Child Adoption

Here you may find information about child adoption law and legal guardianship under the Guardians and Wards Act 1890 in Pakistan. Our dedicated team of professional lawyers best assists their clients as to child adoption in Pakistan.

Children of all ages need permanent, stable, loving families. The Department of Human Services at ZB-Laws ensures that children placed for adoption within Pakistan or across Pakistan or international lines benefit from all legal protections. Further assistance may be available to a child and their adoptive family. ZB-Laws offers complete, comprehensive and individual adoption services to adoptive parents and the couple intended to abandon their child in a professional, caring and supportive manner.

Rental Laws / Tenancy Laws

  1. There are many complications and risk involved when you are giving your own land, House and shops to a person under the tenancy law. The Laws relevant to the tenancy provide rights and obligation for both tenant and Land lord. Therefore, the drafting of tenancy laws is very important for the getting your rights against the each other.
  2. If the tenant become stubborn and not handover the premises of the land lord. Then the ejectment petition will be filed against the tenant so that land lord may claim his right against the tenant.
  1. If the Land Lord is vacating the rented shop before any notice or violating the agreement, then also a suit may be filed on the behalf of tenant.
  1. Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 is ONLY applicable to the province of Punjab, Pakistan.
  1. The purpose of under mentioned brief is to provide landlords and tenants in Punjab with information about their responsibilities and legal rights especially for overseas Pakistanis who want to rent out their residential and commercial properties. The said information is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice because factual circumstances are different in each case, detailed legal research is necessary to resolve any dispute or giving any opinion.
  1. Q: Which law deals for regulating relationship between landlord and tenant in respect of rented premises in the province of Punjab, Pakistan?
  1. A: Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 is the Act which regulates the relationship of landlord and tenant in respect of rented premises in the province of Punjab, Pakistan.
  1. Q: Whether the Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 is applicable to commercial premises also?
  1. A: Rented Premises law governs the rental of commercial and residential property both.
  1. Q: Is Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 is also applicable in Cantonment areas?
  1. A: The said law is not applicable in cantonment areas the law which governs Cantonment area in tenancy matters is Cantonment Rent Restriction Act, 1963.
  1. Q: Is agricultural land also covered in Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009?
  1. A: No, agricultural land is not covered.
  1. Q: Is agreement in writing necessary to create the relationship of landlord and tenant?
  1. A: Yes. Landlord shall not let out the premises to a tenant, except by a tenancy agreement. Tenancy agreement should be in writing and should be registered by rent Registrar. A tenancy agreement entered in the office of a rent Registrar shall be a proof of the relationship of landlord and tenant.
  1. Q: What is tenancy agreement?
  1. A: Tenancy agreement is an agreement in writing between landlord and tenant by which landlord lets out his premises to a tenant.
  1. Q: How is tenancy agreement made?
  1. A: There is no prescribed format for a tenancy agreement. The contents of the tenancy are up to the landlord and the tenant, however tenancy agreement must comply with the provisions of Punjab Rented Restriction Act, 2009
  1. Q: Who is responsible for registration of the tenancy agreement before Rent Registrar?
  1. A: Landlord is responsible to present the agreement before the rent Registrar for registration.
  1. Q: What happens if tenancy agreement is not registered in the office of Rent Registrar?
  1. A: If tenancy agreement is not registered with rent Registrar then Rent Tribunal shall not entertain an application on behalf of landlord unless he deposits fine equivalent to 10% of the value of the annual rent in the Government Treasury and in case the tenant needs any legal remedy he has to deposit fine equivalent to 5% of the annual rent in Government Treasury.
  1. Q: What are the provisions for rent increment in The Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009?
  1. A: The Act recognizes the agreement between landlord and tenant for enhancement of rent, in terms of section 6 (1) (d) of the Punjab Rented Premises Act. The said section states a tenancy agreement shall contain rate of rent, rate of enhancement and due date and mode of payment of rent.
  1. Q: What is the mode of payment of rent?
  1. A: Tenant shall pay or tender the rent to the landlord in the mode and by the date mentioned in the tenancy agreement and if the date is not mentioned then not later than tenth day of the following month.
  1. Q: What if mode of payment is not mentioned in the tenancy agreement?
  1. A: If mode of payment is not mentioned in the tenancy agreement then tenant shall pay the rent to the landlord by paying cash, through money order, or deposit in the bank account of the landlord.
  1. Q: How does the eviction of tenant takes place according to Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009?
  1. A: A landlord may seek eviction of the tenant if period of tenancy has expired; tenant has failed to pay rent; tenant has committed breach of tenancy agreement; tenant has used the premises for a purpose which is different from the purpose for which it was let out and if premises is sub-let without permission of landlord.
  1. Q: What is subletting? Can a tenant without consent of landlord sublet rented premises?
  1. A: Subletting is an act where tenant re-transfers the rented premises to any other person. Tenant cannot sublet rented premises without the consent of landlord.
  1. Q: Can a lease be terminated before an agreed time period?
  1. A: Lease can be terminated by the consent of parties or by an order of the Rent Tribunal.
  1. Q: Who will pay taxes on the property, landlord or tenant?
  1. A: Tax, fee or charge will be paid by the landlord; however, if a landlord fails to pay a tax, fee or charge relating to the premises then tenant shall pay such charges and will be entitled to reimbursement.
  1. Q: Can landlord and tenant freely agree to determine any rent or the law fixes any particular amount of rent?
  1. A: Punjab Rented Premises Act does not fix any amount or rate of rent. The parties may agree to any amount of rent by mutual consent.
  1. Q: What can a tenant do if a landlord refuses to return his security?
  1. A: There is no provision in the Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 for filing an application by the tenant for refund of security therefore in such cases the tenant shall have to file a civil suit before the competent civil court.
  1. Q: Can I make rent agreement for more than 11 months or is it compulsory to make agreement for less than 11 months.
  1. A: An agreement of tenancy can be made for any period agreed between the parties. If such an agreement is for a year or exceeding one year then such agreement requires registration under the Registration Act, 1908.
  1. Q: My lease /rent agreement has been expired, now tenant has been overstaying. The agreement was not renewed; tenant now refuses to vacate my house. What legal action can be taken?
  1. A: A landlord can institute an application for eviction of tenant.
  1. Q: Can a landlord get his property vacated from a tenant, by filing a petition, when there is no written agreement of tenancy between landlord and tenant?
  1. A: No petition for eviction of tenant is competent under the Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 unless the tenancy agreement is in writing. Therefore, a suit for possession before a Civil Court shall be competent.
  1. Q: If a tenant wants to improve the landlord’s premises, can he do so and will he end up paying more rent because of improvements made by him?
  1. A: The improvement to the property and any fixation depends on agreement between the parties.
  1. Q: Is a verbal tenancy agreement legal?
  1. A: No, these types of agreement are not recommended by Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009.
  1. Q: Do tenancy agreements need to be witnessed?
  1. A: Yes it needs to be witnessed.
  1. ZB-LAWS provides services in: Resolving dispute between landlord and tenant; Drafting and negotiating commercial leases for offices, shops and industrial projects; Residential and Commercial Transactions; Advising overseas or nonresident Pakistanis on preventive measures they can take for their property; Landlord/Tenant litigation; Property Management Services; Deed for modification of the terms of lease; Business Lease renewals and terminations; Rent review disputes and all other connected matters.