The UAE has currently amended a series of changes to improve the legislation foundation of the country which will eventually help in attracting many tourists to stay and invest in UAE. Some of the changes include the federal penal code and the federal presurgical penal law, law on personal status, inheritance of assets.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a number of decrees amending some vital laws related to expatriate inheritance and wills, marriage and divorce, honour crimes, indecency laws, alcohol consumption law which will give a boost to UAE’s tourist attraction, as it will become safer socially and economically for the expats.
Main highlights in the changes of the law:
- Expats’ inheritance to be applied as per nationality
- Marriage laws to be applied as per the country where it took place
- Death penalty for sex with minor
- Honour crime to be treated as murder
- Cohabitation of unmarried couples is allowed
- Only financial fines for public indecency
- Cases of attempt to suicide to be sent for treatment
- Consumption of alcohol without an alcohol license
- Good Samaritan Law
Expats’ inheritance to be applied as per nationality
A deceased person’s property/assets will be distributed amongst their next of kin will not be determined by the SHARIAH LAW but it will be determined by the prevailing laws in their home country, except if the deceased person has executed a will. There is an exception related to the property bought in UAE which will still be governed as per the Shariah Law. As this will solve the biggest question to the expats in UAE the economy is expecting a boom in the market which will eventually make an impact on the real estate.
Marriage laws to be applied as per the country where it took place
Marriage laws will no more be applied as per the home country law of the husband’s or wife’s nationality but all the regulations will be now valid as per the country where the marriage has been taken place. For divorce also the same amendment will be valid.
Death penalty for sex with minor
Even a consensual sex with a male or female who is under 14years of age or if the victim is deprived of their will due to their young age, insanity or mentally challenged or if the culprit is the first degree relative of the victim or responsible for the upbringing of the victim or takes usual care or has an authority of the minor victim the punishment will be execution.
Honour crime to be treated as murder
The most prominent change in the penal code is that honour killing will be treated as murder and hence will be treated in the same way as per the relevant articles in the Penal Code. This law change shows the interest to match the step with the modern world and supporting women empowerment.
Cohabitation of unmarried couples is allowed
Live-in relationship for unmarried couples was not allowed in UAE and was treated punishable. This law also has been modified by allowing unmarried couple accommodating together.
Only financial fines for public indecency
Many expats from different parts of the world carry the same culture to UAE with them during migration as they were born and brought up which were punishable as indecency in UAE. This has been restrained to only financial fines now instead of prison. This will give a comfort to the people brought up in different culture as there will not be any criminal case against any public indecency.
Cases of attempt to suicide to be sent for treatment
A person attempting suicide will no more be punishable but will be sent for treatment. But by any mean any other person assisting any person for attempting suicide will be punished by sending behind the bars.
Consumption of alcohol without an alcohol license
The punishment for Consuming, buying or selling or serving alcohol has been restricted until the person is not lesser than 21years old. Previously, an alcohol license was required to consume or buy alcohol, which has now been removed.
Good Samaritan Law
A person will not be liable if he has done any harmful act to another person with a good intention with an attempt of rescuing or helping the other person who was in urgent need of help.
The changes of laws in UAE has spread positively in different countries promoting the message of tolerance and increasing a huge pull of new visitors with their new investments in different sectors of the economy. The changed laws of personal status and family will give a comfort to the visitors from different country, further solidifying the status of UAE as tolerant, and highly expat friendly economic hub.
This blog is written by Ms. Ananya Mukherjee, Business Advisor at Flyingcolour Business Setup, VAT and Accounting Services, Dubai. If you have any question regarding setting up an offshore, freezone or mainland business in Dubai or anywhere across the UAE then please contact us at +971 4 4542366 or email us at info[at]flyingcolour[dot]com.
*Please Note: This article was published on 22nd December, 2020. The information provided in the article is based on the policies and rules applicable at the time of writing it. Talk to one of our consultants for any recent update or change.