The United Arab Emirates announced significant changes to the nation’s criminal and civil laws on November 19, 2020. This involves the legalization of alcohol drinking. To improve the legal climate in the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the country’s president, issued federal law decrees that change the criminal code, criminal procedural rules, civil transactions, and personal status regulations.

The UAE government’s program solidifies the value of tolerance within the community and enhances the nation’s status as the area where people from all over the world prefer to live and work in. Millions of foreigners currently reside in the nation.

The local newspaper described the modifications as one of the biggest legal system reforms in the nation. The country’s progressive policies aimed at raising citizens’ living standards are reflected in the new legislation. The most recent revisions are thought to be a significant step in elevating the UAE to the top spot for foreign investment in the Middle East and worldwide.

Consequences of the new regulations

Residents of the UAE, especially expatriates, may be greatly impacted by several recent changes to the law because, in some cases, such as divorce, the laws of the resident’s country of origin now apply. The item that provides lower punishments in what are known as honor crimes has been removed as a result of changes to criminal procedural law and the penal code, which are based on the UAE’s strong commitment to preserving the rights of women.

The laws of the nation where the wedding or marriage ceremony took place shall be utilized in circumstances of separation or divorce for ex-pats living outside the UAE. The partition of shared assets, including joint accounts, may be mediated by the courts. In contrast to how they were previously handled, the division of assets for ex-pats who have passed away without leaving a will and all other cases of wills will now be governed by the law of the resident’s country of nationality.

Suicide and suicide attempts are no longer considered crimes as a result of the reforms. With the former laws, anyone who had survived a suicide attempt would have been charged.

Additionally, drinking alcohol was made legal. There are no consequences for those who are drinking or are seen in possession of alcoholic beverages. This covers the sale of alcohol without an alcohol license in places that are permitted. But to legally consume alcohol, a person must be at least twenty-one years old. Anyone discovered selling alcoholic beverages to children or those who are not of the legal drinking age will be penalized.

Changes will also make it permissible for unmarried couples to live together. Unmarried couples or unrelated people were not allowed to live under the same roof in the UAE prior to the issuance of the federal law decrees. The new modifications also eliminate the notion that having intercourse with someone you know is illegal. However, it is forbidden to engage in consensual intercourse with anyone under the age of fourteen or with a mentally impaired person. Those found guilty of coercively engaging in sexual activity with children or mentally ill people will face the death penalty.

The recent announcement of changes to the penal code included the elimination of an article that permitted a lesser punishment for an honor crime. In light of current developments, an honor crime. An honor crime will now be prosecuted in the same way as murder or assault following recent amendments.

The update to the procedural law, which specifies that the arresting officers must have translators present if witnesses or suspects don’t speak Arabic, is another significant reform that can help ex-pats in the nation. Additionally, courts must ensure that witnesses and defendants who don’t know Arabic will have access to legal translators.