Legal View

UAE law: A man promised to marry me after hiding his identity. Can I file a case?

Ashish Mehta/Dubai
Filed on February 14, 2021
Illustrative photo:

Know your legal rights if you have been cheated.

Question: I met a man through a matrimonial site in Dubai. He promised to marry me and we were in a relationship for a year. Now, I have discovered through a series of events that the person had a fake profile on the site and concealed his real identity. He has left the UAE after losing his job. How can I file a case against him in his home country? Will it stand?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it may be noted that recently, a number of legal reforms have taken place in the UAE. These include the decriminalisation of the offence noted under Article 356 of the Federal Law No. (3) of 1987 related to issuance of Penal Code (the Penal Code).

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Prior to the reforms, under the said Article 356 of the Penal Code, the (indecent) act of engaging in a relationship (sexual) with someone without marriage was a punishable offence. This has now changed and has been decriminalised. Nonetheless, it may be pertinent to note that the amendments to the Penal Code remain silent on the retrospective application. Therefore, you may need to exercise caution in initiating legal action against the individual with whom you were in a relationship (if your relationship existed prior to the reforms, which only came in late last year).

In view of the aforesaid amendment to the Penal Code, you may file a complaint for misrepresentation and breach of trust against the Individual at a police station having jurisdiction in the UAE.

Further, along with your complaint, you may provide all sorts of documents evidencing your allegations in relation to the Individual’s breach of promise to marriage and his misrepresentation of his identity.

Based on the documents provided by you along with your complaint, the police may conduct an investigation and if they deem that your complaint has merit, they may register a case against him. Furthermore, since the Individual is not present in the UAE, an ex-parte judgment may be passed against him.

Additionally, you may consult a legal counsel in the UAE and in the country where the Individual resides.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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