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ABU DHABI: The UAE Federal Judiciary has approved the establishment of one-day misdemeanor courts to review and apply rules on specific minor cases in just one day based on the Code of Criminal Procedures with a view to reducing the backlog of cases in the courts, making the criminal legal system more efficient and expediting minor cases.

Toward this effect, Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi Al Dhaheri, Minister of Justice, has issued the Ministerial Decision No 704 of 2020 to establish a one-day misdemeanor court in every federal judicial department to look into over 50 misdemeanors in an expedited manner within one day.

“The decision falls within the ministry’s endeavours to ensure efficient and expeditious disposal of cases, inculcate belief in the rule of law, and strengthen efforts to enhance the legislative and legal environment in the State in keeping with the tremendous developments taking place across all economic, scientific and social fields and in a way that ensures the wellbeing of Emiratis, residents and visitors of the country and advances the state’s rankings across global competitiveness indices” said the Minister.

He underlined the ministry’s determination to continue to steadily develop the judicial system and facilitate litigation measures in line with the directives of the country’s wise leadership to ensure the UAE remains an oasis of security, stability, co-existence and peace.

Cases to be addressed

According to the ministerial decision, the new one-day misdemeanor courts may look into some of the cases addressed by the Penal Code, including, but not limited to, those related to labour strikes; eavesdropping on phone calls; intentional disturbance of others through means of wireless and wired communications; causing to set fire to the property of another by mistake; profanation of burial sites; hiding newborns from their legal guardians; false affiliation of newborns to other than their parents; non-implementation of judgements concerning alimony and child-support judgments; attempted suicide; and concealment of crime-related tools; in addition to other minor misdemeanors.

The one-day courts may also address all cases related to the Federal Law Concerning Entry and Residence of Foreign Nationals in the UAE, including, but not limited to, arrival via any means of transport without travel or entry permits, or providing misinformation to circumvent the law, including, but not limited to, forging entry visa or violating the law in any other manner.

The courts may as well look into traffic violations, punished by imprisonment or fining, including, but not limited to, falsifying, misusing, distorting or changing plate numbers or submitting false or misleading data to hide essential information needed to issue licenses. They also look into cases of driving a vehicle under intoxicating effects of alcohol or drug; driving a truck while being banned from driving under a court order or by the licensing authorities, in addition to any other cases related to traffic offenses that result in accidents or unintentional damaging of others’ properties, including, but not limited to, driving in opposite direction and refusing to provide driver’s name or providing misinformation to policemen while being caught red-handed.

The new courts may also look into crimes where penalties are abated under the accused’s objection in addition to the crimes where reconciliation is possible as per the Code of Criminal Procedures, as well as any other misdemeanors the UAE Attorney-General refers to them.

Under the ministerial decision, the procedures taken by the Public Prosecution in this respect must ensure balance between fair and expeditious proceedings so that expeditious enforcement of awards continues to drive social security and fair justice system.