The Trends in the Legal System of UAE amidst New Normal
Posted: Mar 15, 2021
Trends in the Legal System of UAE amidst New Normal
The start of the global pandemic has not only affected the life of individuals but has also resulted in the change of the administrative system of the government to cope up with this new normal. The UAE government has also undertaken new changes in the legal system amidst this pandemic, some of which are directly related to the pandemic, while others are just an attempt made by the government to modernize the old laws. The major trends that can be seen in the UAE with respect to the legal system are as follows:
- Laws relating to the commercial transaction laws:
- Amendments related to the Family Law:
- Amendments related to Criminal law:
The amendment is inclusive of modification of few laws such as the law for bounced cheques or for issuance of cheques without amount. It even provides for the civil mechanism of advanced nature in order to collect the specified payment through ways of cheque in an easy and smart way. One of such ways is that the bank shall partially pay the value after the deduction of the total amount available to the beneficiary. Also, another obligation on the bank is to make a bounced cheque, an executive document that will be executed in a specified court.
In addition to this, another aim which the amendment seeks to satisfy is to provide sufficient means in order to avoid criminal lawsuits. According to the act, the main way which is sought to achieve this aim is to initiate a reconciliation between the debtor and the creditor. According to the aim of the amendment, the paramount requisite for abatement of a criminal suit shall be the act of urging the payment of the value against the original cheque only. The penalties included in the new law are the cancellation of the cheque book of the convicted along with the prohibition of issuing the new cheque books to the convicted for the period of five years. In addition to this, a ban can be placed on their professional or commercial activities. The people undertaking legal profession, the barring banks as well as the financial institutions will all be charged with an additional penalty of suspension of their license along with a financial fine and if they continue to repeat any kind of violation, then their license will be dissolved.
Another concept that is introduced in the law is the introduction of the joint accounts for one or more persons. In case two people have a joint account and one of them dies or losses the power to hold a bank account, then in that case, the surviving partner shall inform the bank of the same, within a period of ten days from such death or disqualification. The result of the same will be that the bank will limit the power of the surviving partner to withdraw the cash according to his share from the date of such information.
Under this amendment, the government led the decriminalization of the crime for cohabitation of the unmarried couples which was regarded as a crime since a long time. It even led to jurisdictional issues, whereby, in matters of divorce among the expatriates, the law of their homeland will be applied. In case both the partners belong to the different countries, in such a case either the law of husband’s home country or the law of the country where they both were married will be applied.
Similarly, in case of inheritance of the property of the deceased, who is an expatriate, the law of that country will be applied, which was the home land of the deceased just at the time of his death. Just as the law of inheritance, the law governing the will, shall also be now the law of the homeland. In case, an expatriate owns a property in UAE and have no heirs, then in that case, the right to the property will be vested in the name of the government of UAE.
An exception to the homeland law is that if the property is bought by an expatriate within the mainland of UAE, then it shall be inherited according the Sharia Law only.
According to these amendments, few laws have been criminalized such as the law of honor killing. It has been done with the aim to improve the image of the UAE, according to which UAE is not a safe country for the females. In addition to this, it is advantageous as it attracts more investors. On the other hand, there are some laws which have been decriminalized. The first among them is the decriminalization of the consumption of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol was earlier a criminal offense. Secondly, the act of committing suicide is also now decriminalized as the government is of the opinion that a person who is already in trauma and is so much depressed that he had to resort to ending his life, will be forced under the inhuman conditions if he will be punished. Crimes such as molestation of females will now be charged with greater punishment, again with the aim of making the laws female friendly.
Even in this "New Normal", the government is still responsible to run the country smoothly and without any hindrance. As a result of which, new laws have been passed by the government, some are modified and others are deleted, all with a bona fide intent of coping up with the new normal. In case of amendments in family law, one can see trend that the laws passed are the ones attracting the expatriates to the country whose laws are now more user friendly and which provides a less cumbersome procedure to the people with respect to their personal lives. In case of the commercial transaction laws, an attempt is made to avoid the exploitation of both creditors and debtors from the hands of each other. Lastly, the criminal laws are depicting that a trend has been initiated to make the laws more gender neutral or in favor of the females, which was earlier dominated by men.
Dr. Hassan Elhais is a legal consultant in Dubai, specializing in the drafting of all statements of claim, memos and consultation on litigation of all manner.