UAE adopts largest legislative reforms in its history; Includes 40 laws

The largest legal reform has been adopted by the UAE government in the young nation’s 50-year history. UAE said that a new criminal code would come into force in January 2022. 

UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has formally approved one of the most comprehensive legal reforms in the history of the country, amending more than 40 laws, including the protection of women, protection of personal data, copyright laws, and ways to combat misinformation. Some of the laws have already been amended and some others are being introduced. A new change is the approval of the Federal Crime and Penal Code.

President Sheikh Khalifa said the move could strengthen economic, investment, and commercial opportunities, in addition to maximizing social stability, security, and ensuring the rights of both individuals and institutions- Khaleej Times reported and updated.

Major changes so far include the decriminalization of premarital sex and alcohol and the abolition of penalties for dealing with so-called “honor killings” in November 2020. Some of the main legal reforms include:

  1. In the case of having sexual relations before the marriage and having children from the relation, the parents need not have to get married as per the new reform.
  1. If the parents do not approve and take care of the child, a criminal case with a sentence of two years imprisonment will be taken.
  1. 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.
  2. The emirate of Abu Dhabi this month introduced its own reform – a novel secular family law – aimed at making itself more attractive to expatriates.
  1. Moreover, Major changes were also introduced to the conviction of the rapists, and a newly reformed law specifies life imprisonment for rapists that are minors, under the legal age of 18 or disabled.

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As a whole, the legal reform or the legislative structure will be developed in various sectors, including investment, trade, and industry, as well as a commercial company. It also aims to include regulation and protection of industrial property, copyright, trademarks, commercial register, electronic transactions, trust services, factoring, and residency, in addition to laws related to society and personal security including as the Crime and Punishment Law, the Online Security Law, and laws regulating the production, sale, and use of narcotics and psychotropic substances.