New UAE criminal code among 40 legal changes in reform push

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates on Saturday said a new criminal code would come into force in January as part of what it called the most sweeping legal reform in the Gulf state's history.

State news agency WAM reported the government is changing 40 laws this year. It did not make clear, however, which of the changes - which concern commercial companies, online security, trade, copyright, residency, narcotics and social issues - were new and which had been previously reported.

One change that appears new is the ratification of a Federal Crime and Punishment Law, effective from Jan. 2, 2022, designed to better protect women, domestic staff and public safety.

The UAE wants to reform its legal system to keep a competitive edge as conservative Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia opens itself up to foreign investment and talent.

Major changes so far included decriminalising premarital sexual relations and alcohol consumption, and cancelling provisions for leniency when dealing with so-called "honour killings" in November 2020.

Saturday's statement adds clarity that had been previously lacking to the status of pre-marital sexual relations and children born from them - stating that parents need not be married.

"Any couple conceiving a child out of wedlock will be required to marry or singly or jointly acknowledge the child and provide identification papers and travel documents in accordance with the laws of the country of which either is a national," the statement said.

A criminal case with two years imprisonment would be brought should parents not acknowledge and care for the child.

Other recent changes by the UAE include introducing longer-term visas as a way to attract and retain talent and encourage more businesses to set up shop.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi this month introduced its own reform - a novel secular family law - aimed at making itself more attractive to expatriates.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Christina Fincher)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

Cambodia PM says Myanmar junta welcome at ASEAN if progress made
Thousands evacuated from Athens motorway as snowstorm hits Greece
Indonesia, Singapore sign extradition, airspace and defence agreements
UK PM Johnson under fresh pressure over lockdown birthday bash
Netherlands expected to ease COVID curbs despite record infections
Philippines' presidential bet Marcos shuns talk of past atrocities
Yemen's internet service returns after four-day outage following air strike
At least 19 die in blaze, brawl at karaoke bar in Indonesia's Papua
Royal crown slips as Elizabeth prepares to mark 70 years as queen
Flights halted and cars banned as snow silences Istanbul

Others Also Read