By: Najla Banimalek, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Through the past year, the UAE has introduced 11 new laws relating to personal status, social life, and personal freedoms.
In November of 2020 Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a change stating that “the laws of the country in which a marriage took place would be applied with regards to the marriage’s terms.” This means that the court would look into the law of the country where the spouses were married, to make sure the marriage was valid.
The amendments also state that in a case if divorce, they shall be governed by the laws of the country where the marriage took place.
New laws towards women’s rights and gender equality have also taken place. Article 56 of the UAE Personal Status Law by virtue of Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2020, which states that “a woman must be obedient towards the husband”, has been completely repealed, creating a progressive step towards protecting and empowering women.
Federal Decree Law no.15 of 2020, which regulates the buying, distribution, and consumption of alcohol have had some changes.
“No penalties shall be imposed for drinking, possessing, or trading alcoholic beverages in authorized places”. Each emirate may regulate the use, circulation and possession or trade of alcoholic beverages.
“The imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh100,000 and no more than Dh500,000, or one of these two penalties, shall be imposed on whoever offers or sells alcoholic beverages to any person under (21) years old or buys them for the purpose of serving them to that person.”
Another amendment announced that two non married parties cannot be punished for any consensual sex acts. It is only punishable by law if one party is underage, or if they are deemed not credible due to dementia, insanity, etc. This means that non married couples can live freely together, as long as both are practicing reasonable behaviour.
Federal Decree Law No. 6 of 2020 dated August 25, 2020, states that both men and women should be paid the same salary
An announcement in 2020 states that expatriates are now allowed to buy 100% of limited liabilities companies (LLC), when in the past ownership was limited to only 49%.
New paternity leaves state that “a private sector employee will be granted a paid parental leave for five working days to look after his baby, effective from the baby’s date of birth until the child is six months old.”
Suicide laws also state that a person who has survived a suicide attempt shall not be imprisoned, but be provided with institutional treatment instead. It is only punishable if a party is caught assisting somebody in a suicide.