Landmark reforms to UAE laws will promote tolerance: Judge

Marie Nammour /Dubai Filed on November 9, 2020 | Last updated on November 9, 2020 at 08.34 pm
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The amendments have been introduced to some of the terms in the Personal Status Law, Civil Procedure Law, Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Law.

New reforms to civil and criminal laws will further promote tolerance and multiculturalism in the UAE, a chief justice has said.

Chief Justice of the Dubai civil court, Ahmed Ibrahim Saif, told Khaleej Times the reforms will ensure that the law is respected as the country welcomes a "mosaic of nationalities".

Landmark reforms to UAE laws will promote tolerance:  Judge (KT26724119.JPG)

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The amendments have been introduced to some of the terms in the Personal Status Law, Civil Procedure Law, Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Law.

Wills, divorce

Chief justice Saif pointed out that now non-Emiratis will have the choice to resort to the laws in their countries for matters of wills and estates and other personal status-related cases. This would make it easier to sort their matters out without having to be legally entangled.

"Regarding the personal status matters, it will now be easier for expats to have the option of choosing the laws of their own countries," he said.

At the time of an expat's death, wills and estates can be managed based on the Personal Status Law of his/her country of origin, unless there is a will already in place.

"For divorce cases, they would feel more comfortable that the laws implemented in their countries can be applied here."

Previously, expats had to go to the Dubai sharia court to apply for divorce and settlement of wills and inheritance. Wills could also be obtained at the DIFC wills service centre.

Now with the amendments, the law of the country - where the couple tied the knot - can be applied if they so wish.

"The UAE seeks to enact laws that are Islamic sharia-compliant, while taking into consideration the needs of the changing pace of life," the chief justice stressed. "In the UAE, all individuals are treated equally. Expats come from different cultural backgrounds. So having reforms introduced will make life easier for them within the legal foundations."

Sexual harassment

On the toughened penalties for sexual harassment, the chief justice said that this would serve as a deterrent for offenders. "I am in favour of harsher punishments for such offences. When an individual lacks moral principles and religious values, only the fear of law and the legal consequences of his actions can curb his behaviour. This will protect the community."

Terms and conditions may apply

The top judge believes that the reforms seen as 'relaxed' could have certain conditions. "It is better and more appropriate to wait for the amendments - with their elaborate details - to be announced in due course and published in the Official Gazette." 


Marie Nammour

Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, Lebanese community-related affairs and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, Marie worked as an in-house reporter, covering international affairs for the LBCI and the LBC Sat (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International), a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for Sagesse, a renowned law college in the heart of the Lebanese capital. Marie speaks fluently Arabic, French, English and Spanish. She is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more and of the French literature.

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