UAE Amends Personal and Family Laws

Lavin Nalinababu, Business Consultancy


UAE is home to different nationalities and has people with different cultures residing here Considering the wide cultural mix the government of UAE has brought in relaxations to its Islamic laws. Laws related to personal freedom, protection of women and family are all included. This new stride will bring in more direct investment and more personals from all over the world to the country.

Beginning with the family laws, UAE has taken a significant step regarding divorce and inheritance. According to the amendments, if a couple who married in their home country decides to get separated in the UAE, then to get a divorce the laws of the home country will be applied hereafter. As for the joint assets and accounts, if there are no agreements between the two parties then the court shall act as a mediator.

Same will be the case for wills and inheritance. A deceased person’s asset will be divided according to the laws of the home country, in cases where they do not have a written will. For the land purchased in UAE, it will be dealt according to the laws here. 

Relaxations have been made to the laws relating to suicide as well. Earlier suicides and attempts to suicide were considered as criminal offenses. But according to the new amendments made a person who survived from attempting suicide will not be sentenced, instead of for those suffering from mental health issues will be provided with necessary aids. A Jail sentence will be ordered for those who are found assisting an individual commit suicide. 

If a person causes serious injury or death while giving aid or CPR or other first aid will not be held responsible for their injury or death and will not be given any punishment for the same. Those people will be considered as the “Good Samaritans”. The law clearly states that “any person who’s committing an act out of good intention that may end up hurting that person will not be punished

Laws regarding women’s safety and protection have also undergone tremendous changes, as the “honor crimes” no longer stands. If a male relative is found assaulting a woman in the name of “protecting honor”, he will have to face severe punishments now, unlike earlier where he was only given a lighter sentence in regard to “honor”. Harassment of any kind will also be regarded seriously, be it, men or women. Punishment for the rape of a minor or someone with limited mental capacity will be executed. 

Alcohol consumption has been legalized. The legal drinking age is 21 anyone caught selling alcohol to a minor will be punished. Drinking or possessing alcohol in authorized areas without a license is no longer a crime in the UAE. It can be consumed in private areas or in legalized public places.

UAE has legalized the cohabitation of unmarried couples. It was illegal for an unmarried couple or unrelated flatmates to live together in the country. 

According to the recent amendments, the courts should provide legal translators for defendants or witnesses in case they don’t speak Arabic. Also, any evidence related to any indecent act will not be disclosed publicly as per the new privacy laws. 

UAE has come a long way in protecting the personal needs of its residents. These new amendments will make the country a much more suitable place for investors and can be a source for more foreign direct investments. 

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