UAE legal reforms lead to fewer trials, experts say


Reforms to the UAE’s legal system in November last year increase the country’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest, a senior Emirati judge said.

Changes to personal and civil laws last year related to divorce, assault, harassment, condominiums and bad checks.

Many measures had been discussed in the UAE for some time and were hailed last year as milestones in the country’s continued judicial progress.

Lawsuits for unmarried couples living together and for unlicensed alcohol consumption were already rare, but last year’s changes have lifted any uncertainty for residents and tourists alike.

I expect more changes in the near future as the laws need to keep pace with the developments the UAE is constantly making.

Judge Ayman Abdul Hakam, Former Head of Dubai One Day Court

“Any change in the legal system must serve a purpose and, in this case, it has served the country’s pursuit of innovation and attracting investment and talent,” said Ahmed Ibrahim Saif, senior judge at the Dubai Civil Court and former Chief Justice of the Dubai Criminal Court. Courts.

“They have also led to increasing residents’ sense of security, which is another goal that reflects the UAE’s efforts to promote tolerance and coexistence.”

Mr Saif said the changes to the law governing marital disputes were not against Islam.

“We have residents of different faiths, and Islam does not prevent them from resorting to the rules of their religion,” he said.

The overhaul was an example of the UAE’s commitment to reforms that would better serve justice, preserve families and accelerate progress that would make the UAE safer for all, he said.

“Looking at recent polls, we see that so many people have made the UAE their first choice for living and investing,” he said.

The changes that allow people to settle family property disputes in the courts have solved a big problem, said Hassan Elhais, legal consultant at Al Rowaad Advocates.

“Family business owners were not allowed to sell their share of the business to anyone except one of the owners themselves,” said Dr Elhais.

“I have seen many cases filed because of this kind of litigation. But following amendments that gave the courts the power to authorize sale outside the family, cases involving this type of litigation disappeared.

More changes expected

Judge Ayman Abdul Hakam, former head of the Dubai One-Day Court, predicted further changes to UAE laws.

“These important changes made by the government complement the rapid progress of the country which is home to 200 nationalities,” he said.

“I expect more changes in the near future, as laws need to keep pace with developments that the UAE is constantly making – a necessity the country’s government is aware of.”

Although he left Dubai last year to take up the post of Chief Justice of the Giza Criminal Court in Egypt, Judge Abdul Hakam is certain there are fewer files on judges’ desks due to the changes. .

“A significant drop in the number of cases heard by judges occurred when bad check cases were dealt with by prosecutors,” he said.

“And now, with these recent changes, the number has had to drop even further.”

He also underlined the importance of the presence of translators for the defendants.

“Changes have made it compulsory [that] translators are present during police interrogations, which is a first in the region, ”he said.

“Other changes regarding cohabitation and alcohol consumption have given people more personal freedom, as long as they don’t harm anyone. “

Updated: November 6, 2021, 4:25 a.m.

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