UAE NEWS: The UAE amends family laws, and criminal issues

These changes in the personal and social code will make it easier for countries to resolve conflicts, and promote more cultures.

The UAE has announced significant changes in the country’s private and public laws including property, women’s safety, suicide, good Samaritans and the use of alcohol.

The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued several resolutions amending other laws of Federal Personal Status Law, Federal Civil Transaction Law, Federal Penal Code, and Federal Criminal Procedure Law.

These changes in the personal and social code will make it easier for countries to resolve conflicts, and promote more cultures.

The proclamations come within the framework of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to improve its legal framework in line with the country’s commitment to tolerance and to expand its position as one of the world’s most attractive social and economic entities with foreign expertise and investment.

Of expats and assets

The new law allows expats living in the UAE to apply the laws of their home countries in dealing with inheritance issues. At the time of the expat’s death, the assets and properties can be managed in accordance with the Personal Status Law of his country of nationality. New changes to the Personal Status Code also mean that the laws of the country in which the marriage took place will apply to the terms of the marriage instead of the previous terms that applied to the laws of the country of nationality of each spouse.

By suicide

Suicide and self-harm attempts are often punished by law. Now, under the amendments to the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Act, acts that do not harm others or only harm them are not considered criminal. People who are diagnosed with self-harm will be referred for psychiatric treatment.

About the Good Samaritans

People, who have tried to help others but instead hurt unintentionally, will not be blamed under the new system.

In honor of murder

In reaffirming the government’s commitment to protecting women’s rights and enforcing the rule of law, an article that provides excuses for reducing so-called ‘honorary cases’ has been canceled, where murder cases are treated in conjunction with provisions to enforce a punitive code. Prominent murder cases will now be subject to criminal code.

The significant changes the UAE has introduced in its many laws show how the country is up to date, said an Emirati attorney.

Existing laws and legal provisions are amended where necessary and this is not new in the UAE, Emirati Attorney Abdel Monem bin Suwaidan of Bin Suwaidan Firm for Advocates and Legal Couns told the Khaleej Times. “A simple example was the criminal law that was made when people began to rely heavily on social media in their personal and professional lives,” he said.

Although the details have not yet been officially released, Suwaidan noted that new amendments have been made to the full investigation of the cases.

Commenting on the proposed changes, he said: “In cases of self-harm or suicide attempts, the legislature has violated the law as it has been proven that people who practice these acts are mentally ill.”

In the Personal Status Act, the common law is to apply UAE law, he explains. Now, if the parties concerned – whether they are foreigners or Arabs – are requesting that the law of their country be enforced, it can be done, as long as they send a copy of the law, certified by their ambassador to the UAE.

In Suuwaidan’s view, the expat is likely to request the application of the law of his country if it deems it in his best interests. However, if the parties to the case do not object, UAE law will apply, he said.

“For example, in some lands, we find that there are severe penalties or loose penalties for domestic violence – when a husband grabs his wife or a father grabs his daughter and commits adultery. The law previously gave him (a reputable criminal) the right to benefit from some form of humiliation when a crime or murder was committed against his wife, sister or daughter and / or partner. With a sudden discovery of these actions, the legislature gave the defendant a chance to relax because he was suddenly caught and just didn’t have time to think about the consequences. ”

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