New law will see justice dealt out of court in Dubai

Minor cases will soon be settled quickly outside court as part of a new law intended to streamline judges’ workloads.

In some misdemeanour cases such as low-value bounced cheques or drinking alcohol without a licence, prosecutors can issue an order similar to a court’s verdict and issue fines of about half the amount a court would have imposed.

The law will come into effect within three months and follows the success of a one-day court in Ras Al Khaimah, which has led to some cases being resolved in less than an hour.

Plaintiffs go directly to the judge’s office at RAK Courts to press charges, summon their opponents and receive a verdict as quickly as possible.

The new law will not apply to all types of misdemeanours.

Dubai’s attorney general is drawing up a list of petty crimes that prosecutors will be able to handle quickly.

Once issued, a judicial order can either be accepted or rejected within a week by those involved. If the order is rejected, both parties can insist on having the case referred to court.

Senior prosecutors will be assigned by the attorney general to revise all judicial orders and amend or cancel them within seven days.

The new law says the aim is to "secure speedy settlements that are in line with the legal process, curbing the number of criminal cases referred to court and to simplify legal procedures and save time, as well as effort and costs".

Judge Ezzat Abdullah praised the law as a great addition that would noticeably reduce the number of cases heard in courtrooms every day.

Yousef Al Bahar, from Al Bahar Advocates, said similar laws had been introduced in other Arab countries.

"This will contribute to further take Dubai towards excellence," Mr Al Bahar said.

Emirati lawyer Eman Al Rifaee agreed: "This is great. Some cases are not worth taking to court and this will free judges to handle other cases without being tight on time owing to a large number of cases they hear every day."

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