Dubai: Dubai Courts has launched a new coat-lending service to help women caught in a quandary after finding themselves inappropriately dressed for court proceedings.
Judge Mohammad Yousuf, Deputy Director of Dubai Courts, said all judicial systems in the world require people approaching courts to wear formal and modest clothes, and that such a choice reflects respect for the judicial system and the authority of the state.
"People should have a respectful appearance and behaviour when they enter courts," he told Gulf News.
Both men and women should wear modest, formal and respectful clothing, and if they fail to do so, they are not allowed to enter the courts, he said.
Judge Yousuf explained that the law applies equally to men and women as wearing shorts, cargo pants, slippers and other casual clothes is not allowed for men.
Thani Khamis, Head of the General Services Section and the person behind the idea, said there were signs at the entrance of the Dubai Courts complex showing clearly that dressing modestly for men and women is a condition for entering the courts, which is in line with the UAE's Arab and Islamic culture and customs.
"Some women show up dressed inappropriately as they may not be aware of this beforehand," he said.
The step aims to help women who may have to return home to change their clothes, which can waste their time and delay their transactions, as well as delay the court hearings and procedures.
"Any woman who shows up inappropriately dressed will be lent a coat to wear during her visit to the court, which she needs to return when she leaves," Khamis said. When the coat is returned, it will be washed and ironed before being lent to another customer, he said.
The service, which was implemented last week, was welcomed by women visitors, who were spared the hassle of having to go back home to change and risk delaying their transactions, he added.
The service stems from the keenness of Dubai Courts to facilitate visitors' transactions without compromising the rules and respect for the court.
While being modestly dressed is a must to enter any court in Dubai and the UAE, Sharia courts in other emirates do not allow women in unless they cover their heads.
Other government departments do not display signs about a dress code, but a formal and modest dress code is implemented, while malls all over the UAE clearly stipulate acceptable a dress code, and courts have seen some cases against women who were deemed inappropriately dressed in public places. Sharjah saw a strict decency law implemented in 2002.
Dubai Courts employees received a detailed circular about the dress code regulations including an illustration of what acceptable attire looks like.
Clothes should not be revealing, see-through or tight. Shoulders should be covered and dresses or skirts should fall at mid-calf, at least.
Both men and women shall wear formal clothing and shoes. Flipflops and slippers are not allowed.
Shirts should not have obscene slogans or pictures, and torn or acid wash denim is also banned.