The UAE Government has made iconic changes to marriage, suicide, inheritance, and alcohol laws. These changes have been made to ensure that the UAE – a country where expats outnumber the local citizens – becomes a better home for over 200 nationalities that live here.
These laws have come into power immediately and are bound to affect everything from the lives of expats and their safety
رئيس الدولة يعتمد تعديل بعض أحكام قانون الأحوال الشخصية وقانون المعاملات المدنية وقانون العقوبات وقانون الإجراءات الجزائية في إطار الجهود لتطوير البيئة التشريعية في دولة #الإمارات وضمان توافقها مع تعددية الثقافات.
— UAEGOV (@UAEmediaoffice) November 7, 2020
Here’s a roundup of all the changes made that might affect you now
Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance:
Unmarried couples are now legally allowed to live together. This is a first-time move in the country because up until this point, unrelated flatmates could not share the same space legally. This also includes any flatmates of the opposite gender living together.
When it comes to dividing the assets after a divorce, things are a lot different now. The country in which the marriage originally took place will come into power now and those will be applied if and when a couple decides to part ways. The court will step in only if there is mediation required and there is no particular agreement between the two parties.
As far as inheritance is concerned, so far, expats had to follow the Sharia Law. However, with the new laws in place, a person’s nationality will decide the division of their assets. This means that the rules from the home country of the deceased person will be applied while dividing their inheritance.
The ONLY exemption so far to this rule is for any property that is purchased in the UAE because that will still be managed as per this country’s laws.
After the announcement in September that allowed consumption of alcohol in Abu Dhabi without a license for residents, the laws have been loosened further.
Anyone who wants to drink, sell or have alcohol on them in all authorised areas across the UAE can now legally do so without an alcohol license and face NO PENALTIES WHATSOEVER.
The legal drinking age remains 21 but alcohol is now DECRIMINALISED.
Suicide and attempted suicide are also no longer criminalised in the UAE.
Earlier, if anyone attempted to take their own lives but survived the process, they would have to face jail sentences or fines. This is no longer the case and now anyone who is mentally vulnerable will be given proper mental health support by the Police and official courts.
In its previous clauses, the UAE law also stated that if someone tried to give CPR or provided first aid care in a situation like this could be punished for causing injury or death – this is no more the case.
Any ‘Good Samaritan’ who will try to help out with good intentions in an emergency or give any kind of assistance from this point on, will not be punished
• Good #Samaritan law will ensure a person helping someone in need, with CPR or first aid, could not be held responsible for the person's death.
• #Inheritance for non-citizens of the UAE can follow the laws of their home country or a written will.
— حسن سجواني 🇦🇪 Hassan Sajwani (@HSajwanization) November 7, 2020
A huge step towards gender equality and women’s safety has been taken by the government. Effective immediately, any crime that was earlier slotted as ‘honour crime’ and allowed male relatives a lighter sentence for assaulting a female family member is now ABOLISHED.
There are no lighter punishments anymore and the assault will be treated like any other assault.
Tougher sentences have also been announced for men who participate in any kind of harassment of women including harassment on the streets and stalking.
Any person who rapes a minor or someone with limited mental capacity will be executed.
It is now mandatory for translators to be present in court with any defendants or witnesses who do not speak Arabic. At the same time, any evidence related to ‘indecent acts’ will not be publicly disclosed anymore.