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Costs From Global Outage Could Exceed $1B – But Determining Liability is Complex

The world quickly learned that cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike was responsible for a crippling global tech outage on Friday. However, determining who will cover the cost of the damages might take significantly longer.

What one cybersecurity expert described as possibly the “largest IT outage in history” resulted in the cancellation of over 5,000 commercial airline flights worldwide and disrupted businesses from retail sales to package deliveries to hospital procedures, incurring losses in revenue, staff time, and productivity.

The issue stemmed from faulty code in CrowdStrike’s software “content update.” Unfortunately, rectifying the error proved far more time-consuming than causing it, and it could be days before all systems return to normal.

In a social media post late Sunday, CrowdStrike stated that a “significant number” of the approximately 8.5 million affected devices were back online and operational. They also issued another apology for the disruption.

While CrowdStrike has apologised, they have not indicated whether they plan to compensate affected customers. When questioned by CNN regarding potential compensation, their response did not address the matter.

Experts anticipate demands for remuneration and potentially lawsuits.

“If you’re a lawyer for CrowdStrike, you’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of your summer,” said Dan Ives, a tech analyst for Wedbush Securities.

Experts largely agree it’s too early to accurately estimate the financial impact of Friday’s global internet breakdown. However, costs could easily exceed $1 billion, said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan research firm specialising in estimating the economic cost of events like strikes and other business disruptions.

His firm estimates that a recent hack of CDK Global, a software firm serving US car dealerships, reached that $1 billion mark. Although that outage lasted much longer, about three weeks, it was confined to a single industry.

“This outage is affecting far more consumers and businesses, ranging from inconvenience to serious disruptions, resulting in out-of-pocket costs they can’t easily recover,” he said.

Anderson added that the costs could be particularly significant for airlines, due to lost revenue from cancelled flights and additional labour and fuel costs for the planes that did fly but faced significant delays.

Despite CrowdStrike’s prominence in the cybersecurity field, their annual revenue is just under $4 billion.

However, there may be legal protections for CrowdStrike in their customer contracts that shield them from liability, according to one expert.

“I would guess that the contracts protect them,” said James Lewis, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lewis referenced a recent case decided in favour of SolarWinds, another software company. A judge dismissed Securities and Exchange Commission charges against SolarWinds related to a Russian hack of federal government agencies in late 2020.

Lewis noted that in that case, SolarWinds faced charges for not disclosing its system’s vulnerabilities to an outside hack, not for damage caused by their own actions. Nonetheless, they won a dismissal.

Businesses affected by the outage are likely to find that traditional business interruption insurance won’t cover their losses, said Mark Friedlander, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute.
Such policies typically require some form of physical damage to the business property for claims to be paid.

There is a separate policy for computer outages, known as Business Network Interruption policies, which might cover claims.

However, these policies sometimes only cover malicious hacks and exclude non-malicious computer issues like this one, he said.

Will Customers Stay?

It’s also unclear how many customers CrowdStrike might lose due to Friday’s incident.
Wedbush Securities’ Ives estimates less than 5% of its customers might switch to other providers.
“They’re such an entrenched player, moving away from CrowdStrike would be a gamble,” he said.

It will be challenging and costly for many customers to switch from CrowdStrike to a competitor. However, the real damage to CrowdStrike could be reputational, making it difficult to attract new customers.

“Today CrowdStrike becomes a household name, but not in a good way, and this will take time to settle down,” Ives said.

CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz stated in an interview on Friday morning on CNBC that the firm has been focused on resolving the ongoing issues and that so far, he believes most customers have been understanding.

“My goal right now is to make sure every customer is back up and running,” he said. “I think many customers understand it’s a complex environment and staying one step ahead of the bad guys requires these content updates.”

Even if customers are understanding, it’s likely that CrowdStrike’s competitors will try to exploit Friday’s events to lure customers away.

“It’s a very competitive business. There will be salespeople from all the other companies saying, ‘This has never happened to us,’” said Eric O’Neill, a cybersecurity expert and former FBI counterintelligence operative.

“They’re an excellent company doing important work. I hope they survive this. If they don’t, the only winner will be the cybercriminals.”

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Violence Against Women and Girls in UK a 'National Emergency': Enforcement Bodies' Report

Violence against women and girls in England and Wales has been declared a "national emergency," with nearly 3,000 offences recorded daily, according to a new report.

The study, commissioned by two law enforcement bodies, estimates that at least one in every 12 women will be a victim each year, with the actual number expected to be significantly higher.

"Violence against women and girls is a national emergency," said Senior Police Chief Maggie Blyth in comments accompanying the report.

The study revealed that over one million violent crimes against women and girls were recorded by police in 2022-2023. These crimes accounted for just under a fifth of all police-recorded crime, excluding fraud, in England and Wales between April 2022 and March 2023.

The report noted a 37% increase in violence against women and girls between 2018-2019 and the previous year, with domestic abuse being one of the biggest demands on policing.

The study also found that one in 20 adults in England and Wales, or 2.3 million people, will perpetrate crimes against women and girls annually.

"These are cautious estimates, as much crime goes unreported and in policing, we often only see the tip of the iceberg," Blyth said.

She warned that violence against women in both countries had "reached epidemic levels" and called for government intervention in the "overwhelmed" criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, offences related to child sexual abuse and exploitation surged by 435% between 2013 and 2022, from just over 20,000 to nearly 107,000. Offenders are getting younger, with the average age of a suspect now 15.

The report also highlighted that stalking and harassment account for 85% of online-related offences.
Britain's Home Office declared violence against women and girls a national threat to public safety in February last year.

Over the past year, more than 4,500 new officers have been trained to investigate rape and serious sexual offences.

The report detailed a 38% increase in charges for adult rape from the year ending December 2022 to the year ending December 2023.

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Saudi Arabia's Cabinet Endorses New Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority Law

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, approved the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority Law on Tuesday.

During the meeting, updates were given on recent diplomatic engagements, including productive discussions between Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman and leaders from France, Russia, and Iraq.

These discussions were aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and boosting cooperation across various sectors.

Minister of Media Salman Al-Dossary noted that the Cabinet also reviewed the latest developments in regional and international affairs, highlighting Saudi Arabia's proactive role in mediating and supporting peace initiatives in Gaza and Yemen.

The Kingdom’s efforts underscore the critical need for international cooperation to maintain regional stability.

Additionally, the Cabinet welcomed the recent advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, which declared the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories as illegal.

The Cabinet reiterated Saudi Arabia’s call for actionable steps towards a just and comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue, in line with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant international resolutions.

Domestically, the Cabinet reviewed economic indicators, observing the stabilization of inflation rates at levels that are favourable compared to global trends, reflecting the effectiveness of the Kingdom’s economic policies in mitigating global price fluctuations.

Other significant decisions made during the meeting included authorisations for ministers to negotiate and sign various memorandums of understanding with international partners in fields such as culture, consumer protection, mineral resources, and human rights.

The Cabinet also approved bilateral employment agreements with Gambia and Tanzania, as well as tax agreements with Kuwait and Gambia to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion.

These agreements underscore Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fostering robust international labour and economic relations.

The Cabinet reaffirmed Saudi Arabia's dedication to environmental conservation efforts, including the 2030 Seagrass Breakthrough and a memorandum of understanding with Bahrain for sustainable waste management.

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Kuwait Upholds Decision to Drop Case Against Hacker Accused of Targeting Pentagon

Kuwait’s highest court has upheld a previous court ruling to drop a lawsuit against a young Kuwaiti man accused of hacking numerous US websites, including the Pentagon.

The Court of Cassation confirmed the verdict, dropping the case against the 28-year-old, who has been described by Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas as the "most dangerous Kuwaiti hacker."

He was accused of hacking 200 secret US government sites, including the Department of Defence, displaying classified information, and seizing money.

The court ruled the case dropped, stating it is unlawful to try the defendant more than 10 years after the incident. The defendant faced criminal charges for hacking the Pentagon website, accessing sensitive weaponry locations, and releasing the information in 2011.

In October last year, a Kuwaiti criminal court dropped the case against the man, citing that he could not be tried for actions committed from 2010 to 2012.

The court also dropped charges of jeopardising Kuwait’s international relations due to his hacking of the Pentagon website.

Prosecutors had earlier charged the then-teenager with hacking more than 200 websites, some containing classified information, as well as fraud for obtaining money through deceit by promoting his own website to solicit fees from victims.

Last September, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported that a hacker had targeted the Kuwaiti Finance Ministry and displayed data obtained from a website linked to the ministry.

According to the report, the hacker gave the ministry seven days to pay a ransom of 15 bitcoins (around £310,000) to retrieve the allegedly exclusive data or he would sell it to others.

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Lawyers Seek $122.5 Million Payout in Major Apple Securities Case Settlement

Attorneys who reached a $490 million securities class action settlement with Apple earlier this year are hoping to walk away with a quarter of that amount in legal fees, arguing that the risks they took warrant a hefty reward.

Lawyers at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd and Labaton Keller Sucharow this week asked a federal judge, opens new tab in Oakland, California to award them $122.5 million, or about $3,100 an hour for the 65 lawyers and staffers who together devoted 39,500 hours to the case, according to the firms' filings.

Multiplying those hours by the professionals' hourly rates would yield an award of about $27.8 million, they said, arguing that their much larger request is appropriate given their adversary was "the largest – and arguably one of the most powerful – companies on the planet."

The settlement resolves allegations that Apple CEO Tim Cook defrauded shareholders by concealing falling demand for iPhones in China.

When Apple reduced its quarterly revenue forecast by as much as $9 billion in 2019, it was the first time since the iPhone's launch that Apple had cut its revenue forecast. Apple denied the claims.

The firms' $122.5 million request matches the benchmark of 25% of a class action settlement fund for attorney fee awards adopted by federal courts in California and elsewhere in the 9th Circuit.

But courts there have sometimes pushed back at the 25% standard in so-called megafund cases where settlements exceed $100 million.

In 2015, for instance, a San Jose federal judge slashed an attorney fee request of 19.54% to around 10% in a $415 million settlement that ended a high-profile lawsuit accusing Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley companies of conspiring to hold down salaries.

"This 25% benchmark is clearly too high in some cases," said University of Michigan law professor Adam Pritchard, who studies securities class actions. Pritchard co-authored a 2023 study that estimated that Robbins Geller earned more than $1 billion in fees from securities class actions from 2005 to 2018.

Robbins Geller and Labaton said Apple's all-cash $490 million settlement is the third-largest deal of its kind in the Northern District of California, and one of the 40 largest settlements ever in a securities class action.

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is weighing the fee bid as she decides whether to grant final approval to the settlement. She is no stranger to major litigation against Apple, and in 2022 she approved a $26 million fee award in an antitrust class action related to the company's App Store that settled for $100 million.

Rogers is also currently weighing a $217 million fee request from Boies Schiller Flexner, Morgan & Morgan and Susman Godfrey after the firms reached a non-monetary settlement with Google in a consumer privacy case. Google has opposed the fee award.

Responses to the fee request in the Apple securities case are due July 29, and a hearing is scheduled for September 17.

Auction Averted

On the other side of the country, a dispute over a much smaller legal fee briefly caught the attention of South Florida's art scene when it threatened to put a prominent dealer's collection of Latin American and other artwork on the auction block.

A Miami judge cancelled the July 22 auction after the dealer, Gary Nader, put up a half-million-dollar bond to cover legal fees he was ordered to pay his ex-lawyers at Fort Lauderdale firm Stok Kon + Braverman.

Stok Kon's Robert Stok told Reuters he believed the auction could have forced Nader to sell a "large inventory of artwork" worth as much as $100 million.

A lawyer for Nader said his client owed Stok Kon nothing and accused the firm of "extremely aggressive collection tactics."

Stok Kon sued Nader in 2022, alleging he owed more than $216,000 in unpaid fees stemming from the firm's legal work on a failed museum development project.

A judge ruled in April that Nader must pay Stok Kon its fees plus interest, and last month ordered that Nader's sole membership interest in his company, Gary Nader & Company LLC, be auctioned off to satisfy the judgment.

The company's holdings include a building in Miami’s Wynwood Art District that houses Nader's gallery and museum.

The museum on its website said it has 30,000 square feet of exhibition space showcasing art from Latin America and the Caribbean, including a collection of work from Columbian artist Fernando Botero. Nader has appealed the court's judgment.

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UAE: Health Insurance with Tourist Visas Announced as Part of Transformative Project

A new initiative will soon enable tourists to the UAE to acquire health insurance as they apply for their visas, it was announced on Monday. The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) stated that the ‘health insurance for tourist visas’ is among its ‘transformative projects’.

Major-General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, Director-General of the authority, said the project will facilitate tourists in obtaining health insurance while applying for their visas online through the ICP website or app.

The project aims to provide health cover in emergency cases. It will automate the process of obtaining health insurance via an electronic platform that will “manage the pricing and issuance” of packages from all major insurance companies in the UAE.

The initiative would benefit not only the local healthcare system but also the visitors. Having insurance cover for all travellers ensures that they will be covered for their hospitalisation in case of an unexpected medical emergency.

This also guarantees that government and private hospitals in the country will not have to bear the cost of emergencies for visitors. The move would lead to a better experience for tourists and strengthen the UAE’s position as a top vacation destination.

Travellers to the UAE will be able to enjoy their stay with the support of this service, knowing that their health and safety are prioritised from the moment they apply for their visa.

Visitors will always have quick access to high-quality medical care in the event of an emergency. The new initiative is also advantageous to tourists as they would receive more competitive prices.

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Dubai Special Driving Permit: Eligibility, Requirements and Fees :All You Need to Know

If you are a resident in Dubai looking to obtain a commercial driving permit, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the eligibility criteria, application process, and associated fees.

Whether you aim to drive a taxi, heavy vehicle, or any other commercial vehicle, understanding these details will help streamline your application process.

As Dubai continues to grow as a global hub for tourism, business and transportation, the demand for qualified commercial drivers has increased significantly.

A special driving permit is essential for residents seeking employment opportunities in the transportation sector, such as taxi drivers, delivery drivers, bus drivers and heavy vehicle operators.

These permits ensure that drivers are well-trained, medically fit and knowledgeable about the local traffic regulations, thereby enhancing road safety and service quality across the emirate.

Reasons Residents Pursue Special Driving Permits

Employment Opportunities: The booming economy of Dubai creates numerous job openings in the logistics and transportation sectors, making it an attractive option for residents seeking stable and well-paying jobs.

Compliance with Regulations: To operate commercial vehicles legally, a special driving permit is mandatory, ensuring that drivers meet the stringent safety and operational standards set by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Professional Advancement: For individuals already employed in driving-related jobs, obtaining a special permit can lead to career advancement, higher pay, and additional responsibilities.

Eligibility

To apply for a commercial driving permit in Dubai, applicants must meet the following requirements:

Age: Minimum age of 21 years for buses and heavy vehicles. For other commercial vehicles, the minimum age is typically 18 years.

Medical Fitness: Applicants must pass a medical fitness test, including an eye test, conducted at an RTA-approved facility. This ensures that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to drive.

Training and Testing: Enrol in a driving training programme at an RTA-approved driving institute. Applicants must pass both theoretical and practical driving tests.

Requirements

When applying for a commercial driving permit, you will need to provide the following documents:

* Copy of passport and residence visa page.

* Original and copy of Emirates ID.

* Two passport-sized photographs.

* Eye test report from an approved centre.

* No objection letter from the sponsor (if required by the traffic department).

How to Apply

Open a Traffic File: Visit an RTA-approved driving centre to open a traffic file.

Medical and Eye Test: Complete an eye test at an RTA-approved optical centre and obtain a medical fitness report.

Training: Enrol in a driving training programme at an approved institute and complete the required number of classes.

Theoretical Test: Pass the theoretical knowledge test, which assesses your understanding of traffic laws and safe driving practices.

Practical Tests: Successfully pass the yard test and the on-road driving test supervised by the RTA.

Service Fees

The fees for obtaining a commercial driving permit in Dubai can vary depending on the type of vehicle and the training programme selected. Here is a general breakdown:

* Safari Learning Permit: Dh200

* Safari Driving Permit: Dh300

* Occupational Driving Permit: Dh200

* Total Costs for Training and Testing: Typically range between Dh4,000 and Dh7,500, depending on the driving institute and any special offers available at the time.

Conclusion

Securing a commercial driving permit in Dubai involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, completing necessary training, and passing several tests.

By following the steps outlined and preparing the required documents, you can navigate the application process more efficiently.

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56 Judicial Enforcement Officers Took Legal Oath Before the Attorney General of Abu Dhabi

In front of Counselor Ali Mohammed Al Balooshi, Attorney General of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, fifty-six judicial enforcement officers from three government agencies in Abu Dhabi took the legal oath, marking the commencement of their duties in judicial enforcement for crimes and administrative infractions related to their roles, in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.

The legal oath-taking ceremony was held at the main headquarters of the Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi for the inspectors who have been granted the status of judicial enforcers.

These inspectors represent three entities: the Department of Municipalities and Transport, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority and the Department of Health.

According to Counselor Ali Al Balooshi, the decision to confer judicial enforcer status on inspectors working for government agencies follows directives from His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the UAE, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

These directives aim to enhance the quality of services across various sectors while ensuring comprehensive oversight and continuous monitoring of all activities to maintain the competitive standing of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

He emphasised the Judicial Department's commitment to the certification and training of applicants to become judicial enforcement officers, in line with the latest approved practices and standards.

This is done to ensure that auditing and inspection operations comply with the systems and laws governing the various service sectors, while integrating the principles of oversight required by law to ensure the proper application of legal procedures.

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Three Bangladeshis Get Life Imprisonment, 54 Others to be Jailed for Rioting

Three Bangladeshis have been sentenced to life imprisonment, and 54 others will be deported after serving prison terms for their involvement in riots and protests in the UAE, authorities announced.

The three individuals were given life sentences for organising demonstrations and inciting riots in the UAE to pressure their government during recent unrest over job reservation in Bangladesh.

The court also sentenced 53 others to 10 years and one defendant to 11 years for entering the country illegally and participating in the 'gathering'.

On  July 22, the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal handed down these sentences for illegal gathering. The court also ordered their deportation at the end of their prison terms and the confiscation of all seized devices.

The group of Bangladeshis was arrested on Friday for gathering and inciting riots in several streets across the UAE against their home country’s government. Chancellor Dr Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, UAE Attorney-General, ordered an immediate investigation and referred the suspects to an "urgent trial".

The defendants were brought to trial after an investigation led by a team of 30 investigators confirmed their involvement in gathering in public, inciting unrest, disrupting public security, and promoting such gatherings and protests, including recording and disseminating audiovisual footage of these actions online.

Several of the defendants confessed to the crimes they were accused of. During the trial, which was covered by the media, the Public Prosecution demanded the maximum penalty for the accused.

The court heard a witness who confirmed that the defendants gathered and organised large-scale marches in several streets of the UAE in protest against decisions made by the Bangladeshi government.

This led to riots, disruption of public security, obstruction of law enforcement, and endangerment of public and private property. The police had warned the protesters, ordering them to disperse, but they were unresponsive.

The court-appointed defence lawyer argued that the gathering had no criminal intent and that the evidence was insufficient, demanding the acquittal of the defendants. However, the court found sufficient evidence of their guilt and convicted them accordingly.

Unrest in Bangladesh

Protests erupted in Bangladesh against preferential hiring rules that prioritise women, residents of less developed districts, and other disadvantaged sections over merit-based selection.

This includes the reservation of 30 per cent of highly sought-after civil service posts for children of freedom fighters who fought in the country's 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

Amid the unrest, telecommunication lines were disrupted, a nationwide internet ban was enforced, and a curfew was imposed to quell the growing unrest. The military was called in after police failed to control the protests.

On Sunday, Bangladesh's Supreme Court scrapped most of the quotas that sparked the student-led protests, in which at least 114 people have been killed.

The court's Appellate Division directed that 93 per cent of government jobs would be open to candidates on merit, without quotas, according to reports.

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Madhya Pradesh High Court Calls for Uniform Civil Code Implementation

In a landmark ruling, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has advocated for the introduction of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) across India. The court stressed the need for a unified legal framework to ensure equality and justice for all citizens, regardless of their religion or community.

The call for a Uniform Civil Code, outlined in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, has been a matter of debate for decades.

This directive principle encourages the state to implement a UCC for all citizens, but successive governments have been reluctant to pursue it due to the country's diverse religious landscape.

During a hearing on a family dispute, the Madhya Pradesh High Court highlighted the inconsistencies in the application of personal laws.

The court noted that different legal frameworks based on religion often result in disparities and injustices, particularly affecting women and marginalised communities.

Justice S.K. Singh, delivering the observation, remarked, "The time has come for the Indian Parliament to heed the constitutional mandate and establish a Uniform Civil Code. It is essential for promoting national integration and ensuring that all citizens are treated equally under the law."

The court emphasised that a UCC would eliminate discriminatory practices embedded in various personal laws.

At present, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and other religious groups in India are governed by their own personal laws concerning marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption, leading to a lack of uniformity.

The High Court pointed out that many personal laws are inherently patriarchal, disadvantaging women in matters of inheritance, divorce, and maintenance. A UCC would promote gender equality by providing the same legal rights and protections to all women, regardless of their religion.

By creating a common set of laws, a UCC would foster a sense of unity and national identity among India’s diverse population. The court argued that such a code would help bridge the divides between various communities and strengthen the nation's social fabric.

The High Court's call for a UCC has prompted mixed reactions across the country:

Many legal experts, women’s rights activists, and progressive organisations have welcomed the court's observation. They argue that a UCC is long overdue and necessary for modernising and secularising India’s legal system.

Conversely, some religious groups and conservative factions have expressed concerns. They fear that a UCC could undermine religious freedom and erode cultural identities. Leaders from various communities have called for a cautious and inclusive approach to any proposed legislation.

The central government has yet to issue an official response to the High Court's observation. However, recent years have seen indications of growing political will to address the issue.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has included the implementation of a UCC in its election manifestos, signalling a potential move in this direction.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court's advocacy for a Uniform Civil Code represents a significant moment in the ongoing debate over legal uniformity in India. As the discussion gains momentum, it remains to be seen how the government and various stakeholders will navigate the complex landscape of religious, cultural, and legal considerations.

The court’s observation has once again brought the issue to the forefront, challenging India to reconcile its pluralistic ethos with the constitutional ideal of equality for all its citizens

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Dubai Police Impose Fines Up to Dh5000 on Jet Ski Owners for Safety Violations

In a significant move aimed at ensuring the safety of beachgoers and maritime enthusiasts, Dubai Police have announced fines of up to Dh5000 for jet ski owners who violate safety regulations.

The initiative, which comes into effect immediately, underscores the city's commitment to maintaining its reputation as a safe and secure destination for both residents and tourists.

The new regulations, announced by Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, form part of a broader strategy to enhance maritime safety. The fines will target a range of violations, including:

Jet ski operators caught speeding or engaging in reckless manoeuvres will face fines of up to Dh5000. This measure aims to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of all waterway users.

Operating a jet ski in restricted or unauthorised areas, such as swimming zones or near private properties, will also attract heavy fines. These areas are clearly marked, and adherence to the regulations is mandatory to avoid accidents.

Ensuring that all jet ski riders wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets, is a critical requirement. Failure to comply will result in substantial fines.

Allowing underage individuals to operate jet skis is strictly prohibited. Offenders will face significant penalties.

To support the enforcement of these new regulations, Dubai Police have launched a comprehensive public awareness campaign. The campaign includes:

Workshops and seminars will be held to educate jet ski owners and operators about the new regulations and the importance of maritime safety.

Informational brochures and digital content will be distributed through various channels, including social media, to reach a broader audience.

Dubai Police will work closely with jet ski rental companies to ensure that they inform their customers about the regulations and the associated fines.

The new regulations have received a mixed response from the public. While many beachgoers and safety advocates have welcomed the move, some jet ski enthusiasts have expressed concerns about the impact on their recreational activities.

As Dubai continues to grow as a premier destination for leisure and tourism, the implementation of these stringent safety measures reflects the city's proactive approach to ensuring the well-being of its residents and visitors.

The new fines for jet ski violations are a crucial step towards fostering a culture of safety and responsibility on Dubai's waterways.

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Understanding Internships in UAE: Work Hours, Age, Job Restrictions, and Rules

The UAE has become a hub for international business and innovation, attracting numerous interns from around the world.

To ensure a beneficial and regulated internship experience, the UAE has established specific guidelines regarding work hours, age, job restrictions, and other essential rules.

Here’s a detailed overview: Interns in the UAE are typically expected to adhere to the following work hours:

Standard Work Hours: Interns generally work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, similar to full-time employees. The maximum workweek is 48 hours.

Overtime: Overtime work is allowed but should not exceed 2 hours per day. Overtime pay is provided at a rate of 1.25 times the regular pay for hours worked beyond the standard 8-hour workday.

Breaks and Rest Periods: Interns are entitled to a break of at least 1 hour after 5 consecutive hours of work. Additionally, a minimum weekly rest period of 24 consecutive hours is mandatory.

Internships in the UAE are subject to specific age regulations:

Minimum Age: The minimum age for interns is 18 years. This aligns with the general employment laws in the UAE.

Underage Interns: In special cases, students aged 15-18 may be allowed to intern under strict conditions, including parental consent and adherence to specific working hours and duties.

Certain job roles and industries have restrictions for interns:

Hazardous Jobs: Interns are prohibited from working in hazardous environments or performing dangerous tasks. This includes industries such as construction, heavy machinery operation, and exposure to harmful substances.

Health and Safety: Employers must ensure that interns work in safe and healthy conditions, providing necessary protective equipment and training where applicable.

To ensure a fair and enriching internship experience, the following rules and regulations must be observed:

Contract and Documentation: Interns must be provided with a formal internship agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the internship, including duration, duties, work hours, and compensation.

Compensation: While internships can be unpaid, paid internships are encouraged. Compensation should be clearly defined in the internship agreement.

Learning Objectives: Internships should have clear learning objectives and provide opportunities for skill development and career growth.

Work Permits: International interns require a valid internship visa or work permit, which must be arranged by the host company.

Termination: Either party can terminate the internship agreement, but a notice period (usually 1-2 weeks) is recommended to allow for a smooth transition.

Insurance: Interns should be covered by the company’s health and safety insurance policies.

Mentorship: Interns should have access to mentors or supervisors to guide them through their tasks and provide feedback on their performance.

Evaluation: Regular evaluations and feedback sessions are beneficial for interns to understand their progress and areas for improvement.

Internships in the UAE offer valuable opportunities for young professionals to gain experience in a dynamic and diverse work environment.

By adhering to the established guidelines regarding work hours, age, job restrictions, and essential rules, both interns and employers can ensure a productive and rewarding internship experience.

As the UAE continues to grow as a global business centre, these internships play a crucial role in shaping the future workforce.

By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, interns can make the most of their experience in the UAE, gaining invaluable skills and insights while contributing to their host organisations.

Employers, in turn, can benefit from the fresh perspectives and enthusiasm that interns bring to their teams.Top of FormBottom of Form

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Dubai’s Renovation Regulations: Procedures for Property Modifications

If you're planning to add a room or partition a living area in Dubai, securing the necessary approvals from Dubai Municipality is essential.

The Building and Government Housing Department of Dubai Municipality oversees the issuance of permits for construction and renovation projects.

According to Article 3 of Local Order No. 3 of 1999, no individual or entity can carry out permanent or temporary modifications to any building or property without first obtaining a permit from the Competent Department.

Article 4 of the same order states that any construction work, whether permanent or temporary, must have prior approval. Property owners or their representatives, such as licensed contractors or engineers, must submit a permit application to the department.

This application, as outlined in Article 5, must include the required documents as specified by the implementing bylaws of the order.

All construction activities must follow the approved plans and technical requirements set by the Competent Department. As per Article 14, any changes to the approved plans must also receive prior approval.

The regulations also include detailed obligations for contractors and engineers, as specified in Articles 19 to 26. These articles highlight the safety conditions and standards that must be met during construction.

Additionally, Schedule No. 1 outlines the fees for engineering plan audits, and Schedule No. 6 details the fees for modifications and additions to approved plans.

Before starting any renovation work in your villa, it is advisable to hire a licensed contractor or engineer who can help navigate the permit application process with Dubai Municipality.

You may also need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the master developer or community management to ensure that your planned modifications comply with their guidelines, as well as those of Dubai Municipality, the Dubai Development Authority (DDA), and other relevant authorities.

In conclusion, securing the appropriate permits and approvals is a critical step in any renovation project to ensure compliance with Dubai's construction regulations and standards.\

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Can Employers Fire Employees for Extending Leave After Rejection in the UAE?

In the UAE, employees who have completed more than one year of service are entitled to 30 days of annual leave per year, per Article 29(1)(a) of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations. However, the employer has the discretion to decide the annual leave dates based on work requirements.

According to Article 29(4) of the UAE Employment Law, employers can fix the leave dates and rotate leaves among employees to ensure smooth work progress. Employees must be notified at least one month in advance of their leave dates.

If an employee does not return to work directly after the approved leave period without a valid reason, they are not entitled to a salary for the period of absence.

This is stipulated in Article 34 of the Employment Law, which states that an employee who does not return to work without a legitimate reason after their leave is not entitled to wages for the absence period following the end of the leave.

Furthermore, employers have the right to terminate an employee without notice if the employee is absent without a valid reason for seven consecutive days or 20 non-consecutive days in a year.

Article 44(8) of the UAE Employment Law provides that an employer may dismiss an employee without prior notice if the employee is absent without a legal cause for more than 20 interrupted days in a year or more than seven consecutive days.

Therefore, the approval of a leave extension is at the employer's discretion. If an employer has a valid reason, they may reject the extension request even if the employee has enough leave left.

If the employee extends their leave without approval, they risk losing their salary for the extended period and may face termination of employment.

However, if there are genuine reasons necessitating the extension, the employee should provide valid documentary evidence to the employer to justify the need for additional leave.

In the case of termination, the employee can challenge the decision if they have valid reasons and supporting documents for the leave extension without the employer's consent.

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Bangladeshis' Protests & Riots Against Home Government a Violation of Strict UAE Laws

A group of Bangladeshi nationals were recently arrested for inciting riots and participating in protests across various streets in the UAE.

Chancellor Dr Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, the UAE Attorney-General, ordered an immediate investigation and referred the suspects to an "urgent trial."

According to a statement released by the prosecution, the demonstrators disrupted transportation and caused damage to both public and private property. The protesters also called for such demonstrations, recorded videos and uploaded them online.

Investigations revealed that the individuals committed several violations, including public assembly, protesting against their home country's government with the intent to cause unrest, obstructing the enforcement of laws and regulations, endangering individuals, blocking traffic and assaulting and damaging property.

These actions threaten state security and public order, potentially endangering the state's interests, said the prosecution, led by Attorney-General Counsellor Dr. Hamad Al Shamsi. The suspects remain in custody as further investigations continue.

Dr. Al Shamsi emphasised the importance of adhering to the nation's laws and warned residents against being influenced by such calls to action, noting that these constitute serious crimes with harsh penalties.

Legality of Holding Protests in the UAE and Associated Punishments

The UAE maintains strict laws regarding public assembly and protests. Unauthorised demonstrations and gatherings are illegal and can result in severe penalties. The legal framework in the UAE is designed to ensure public order and security, reflecting the nation's commitment to maintaining stability and safety for all residents.

Under UAE law, individuals involved in unauthorised protests or demonstrations can face serious charges, including incitement to riot, public disturbance, and property damage. These offences carry significant penalties, which may include imprisonment, fines, and deportation.

The severity of the punishments underscores the UAE's zero-tolerance policy towards activities that threaten public order and security. Residents are urged to refrain from participating in such actions and to respect the nation's laws.

Unrest in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is experiencing severe unrest, with protests erupting over the government's preferential hiring rules for civil service jobs.

Last week's confrontations between student demonstrators and police have resulted in at least 139 deaths, according to hospital reports compiled by AFP.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh's Supreme Court scrapped most quotas on government jobs after nationwide action led by students spiralled into clashes, but some organisers said the protests would continue.

Dismissing a lower court order, the Supreme Court's Appellate Division directed that 93 per cent of government jobs should be open to candidates on merit, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin told Reuters.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government had scrapped the quota system in 2018, under which 56 per cent of jobs were reserved for groups such as freedom fighters' families, women and people from underdeveloped districts.

But the lower court reinstated it last month, sparking the protests and an ensuing clampdown that included an internet shutdown and a curfew with the army on the streets.

The recent clashes followed similar violent protests ahead of January's national elections by Hasina's opponents in response to what they called her authoritarian rule, and by garment workers demanding better pay amid high inflation.

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At the Helm: Sanjeev Krishan Re-elected as PwC India Chairperson for Second Term

PwC India announced on Friday that Sanjeev Krishan has been re-elected as chairperson for a second term. Krishan, 53, will commence his four-year term on 1 April 2025.

He will continue to represent PwC both externally and internally and will remain a member of the PwC Global Strategy Council.
Krishan began his first term as chairperson on January 1, 2021. He joined PwC in 1991 as an articled trainee and became a partner in 2006, leading the firm's deals, transactions and private equity business.

He also spent some time with PwC Sweden through an international exchange programme, working with various private equity funds and corporate clients on cross-border transactions.

"His re-election is a testament to his remarkable contributions towards building a future-ready firm, enhancing our prominence in the domestic market, and expanding our footprint within the PwC Network. His forward-thinking approach to leveraging technology is driving innovation and efficiency across the firm," said Dinesh Arora, Chair of the Partnership Oversight Committee, PwC in India.

Describing his re-election as "humbling," Krishan stated that PwC would "continue to ensure that we have the right capabilities to help our clients effectively leverage these opportunities and capitalise on growth prospects that lie ahead".

"As we navigate the years to come, macroeconomic headwinds and geopolitical realignments present numerous challenges and possibilities for us," he added. "The Indian economy, with its robust growth potential, is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the global economic landscape."

Krishan is a member of FICCI’s National Committee on Stressed Assets, the CII Corporate Governance Council, and the CII Economic Affairs Council. He also serves on the SEBI Primary Market Advisory Committee.

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Does Secretly Photographing a Woman in Public Amount to Stalking? Calcutta HC Decides

The Calcutta High Court recently dismissed a case of voyeurism and stalking against a man who was charged by the police in 2016 on accusations of secretly photographing a woman from his residence.

Justice Bibhas Ranjan De noted that while observing and photographing a woman engaged in a private act constitutes voyeurism under Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the offence of stalking also requires specific elements to be established.

In this instance, the accusation was that the defendant had taken photographs of the complainant from his residence while she was standing on the road in front of her home.

“It is also alleged that when the complainant noticed a flash, the accused retreated into his building. Such allegations do not fall under any penal provisions either under Section 354C or 354D of the IPC in relation to the essential elements required to constitute those offences,” the Court stated.

In 2016, the woman had filed a complaint with the police alleging that when she and her daughter went to school, the market, or for private tuition, the accused would watch and follow them. It was also claimed that he would photograph her with his camera and phone.

Specifically, the complainant mentioned an incident where, while she was standing on the road outside her house, the accused was surreptitiously taking her picture. The complainant reported that he fled into his house when she noticed a flash.
Following the complaint, the police had registered a case of voyeurism and stalking against the accused.

Challenging this, the accused argued that the complainant had filed the case merely to “exert pressure on the developer to provide her with an additional car parking space to which she had no right, title, or interest.”

However, the complainant contended that the ongoing civil dispute did not exempt the accused from criminal proceedings. The State also argued that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case. The Court examined the provisions related to voyeurism and stalking and reached the following conclusions:

Regarding Section 354C of the IPC, the Court stated: "Section 354C of the IPC aims to protect the modesty and decency of women and to maintain public order. It seeks to create a secure environment for women in public places by penalising acts that infringe upon their modesty and instil fear. The provision should be interpreted broadly to achieve its objectives."

Similarly, concerning the offence of stalking under Section 354D of the IPC, the Court outlined:

Perpetrator’s Gender: Stalking must be committed by a man. The offence is gender-specific, involving a male perpetrator and a female victim.

Unwanted Contact: The man must attempt to contact or contact a woman against her wishes. This includes any form of communication, whether in person or electronic, where the woman has shown disinterest and the man continues to pursue contact.

Repetition: Stalking must involve a pattern of persistent and unwanted attention or contact. It is not a one-time event but a continuous pattern of behaviour.

Absence of Interest: There must be a clear indication of disinterest from the woman. This is crucial to demonstrate that the woman’s lack of consent or interest is evident, and that the man persists despite her objections.

In the present case, the Court found that no specific evidence had been gathered to establish any of the elements of the two offences against the accused. As a result, the Court dismissed the criminal proceedings and also rejected the complainant's petition for a speedy trial.

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Private Equity Titans Compete in £12bn Auction for Major Global School Group

Three private equity firms are competing in the final stages of an auction for school operator Nord Anglia, which is set to be one of the largest European deals of the year.

Bain Capital, Permira, and Veritas Capital are among those through to the last round of the sale process, Financial Times reported, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

Final bids for a majority stake in the London-based group are expected later this month, with the business potentially valued at up to £12bn. Other bidders may still emerge, one source noted.

Nord Anglia’s current owners -- Swedish private equity group EQT and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board -- are expected to retain a stake in any agreement. The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC is also likely to co-invest alongside a successful bidder, the sources added.

The deal is among the largest potential transactions in Europe this year, alongside Abu Dhabi’s National Oil Company’s potential €14.4bn deal for German chemical group Covestro, and would-be buyers face complications due to the deal’s multibillion-pound size.

Larger private equity takeovers have encountered challenges recently as higher interest rates increase the cost of financing.
Another factor is how the new potential owner might realise a return from the deal, given the business is now so large it would likely need to return to the public markets via an initial public offering, one source said.

Although the European market for new listings has had its strongest start to the year since the Covid-19 pandemic, it remains volatile.

EQT and CPPIB might still consider an IPO for Nord Anglia as a contingency plan if a sale does not proceed, the sources added.
Nord Anglia operates 87 international day and boarding schools across 33 countries, including China, India, the Middle East and the Americas. Over the past two years, the company has added 10 schools mainly through acquisitions.

Some of its schools include Oxford International College in the UK and the exclusive Avenues in New York. In the UK, where Nord Anglia has a limited number of schools, the incoming Labour government has previously proposed removing tax benefits for private schools and imposing business rates on them.

More than 85,000 students up to the age of 18 are enrolled in its schools, alongside 11,000 teachers and thousands more support staff.

EQT’s Baring Private Equity Asia and CPPIB acquired Nord Anglia in 2017, delisting the company from the New York Stock Exchange for £3.4bn, including debt.

Private equity firms face a dual challenge: they are under pressure from their investors to divest assets to return cash, while also needing to make investments from their new buyout funds in a slower market. Education has been a popular sector for investment in private markets.

A consortium led by the Canadian investment group Brookfield agreed last month to invest in the Dubai-based education company GEMS.

Meanwhile, French investor Wendel earlier this month acquired a 50 per cent stake in the European primary and secondary school group Globeducate for €625mn, buying part of current shareholder Providence Equity Partners’ interest.

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Abu Dhabi: New 'Smart' Project Eliminates Need for Travel Documents, Staff Interaction

Abu Dhabi Airports announced on Sunday the launch of the Biometric Smart Travel project, which will offer automated traveller registration services, self-service baggage delivery and facial recognition verification at e-gates and boarding gates, eliminating the need for travel documents or direct interaction with airport staff for passengers.

The project will be implemented in three phases to integrate biometric authentication systems across all security and operations touchpoints at the airport.

The project uses databases from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security to automatically authenticate travellers using biometric technology, removing the need for prior registration for departing passengers.

Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Airways have deployed biometric systems across multiple touchpoints at the airport as part of the launch of the new terminal at Zayed International Airport in November 2023.

This includes automated traveller registration services, self-service baggage delivery, and facial recognition verification at e-gates and boarding gates, without the need for travel documents or direct interaction with airport staff.

Abu Dhabi Airports has begun implementing a further phase of this project by introducing biometric systems for five additional airlines at check-in, all boarding gates, and the installation of new e-gates in designated transit areas to register travellers' biometric data and facilitate facial recognition.

The future expansion also includes the Etihad Airways lounge and duty-free retail outlets.

“By 2025, we aim to expand these systems across all security and operations touchpoints and other airlines,” said Andrew Murphy, Chief Information Officer at Zayed International Airport.

"The Biometric Smart Travel project aims to enhance the travel experience at Zayed International Airport, ensuring high levels of security and safety. The project reduces the time to serve travellers from 25 seconds to just seven seconds, integrating ticket and travel document verification into a single process and alleviating the burden on human resources by relying on smart gates for identity verification," said Saeed Saif Al Khaili, General Director at the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security.

The Biometric Smart Travel project will enhance airline performance by eliminating the need for expensive infrastructure expansions and effectively detecting fraud and forgery in identification documents.

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Association with Dawood Alone Doesn't Mean Terror Gang Membership, Rules Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court recently ruled that mere association with Dawood Ibrahim, who has been designated a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), does not amount to membership of a terrorist gang or organisation.

A division bench consisting of Justice Bharati Dangre and Justice Manjusha Deshpande reasoned that since Ibrahim has been designated a terrorist solely in his "individual capacity", it is insufficient to invoke Section 20 on the grounds that an individual associated with him belongs to the D-gang/Dawood gang.

The Court clarified that UAPA includes separate provisions for the activities of individuals versus those of terrorist gangs or organisations.

"Section 20 prescribes punishment for being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation. In the present case, the evidence relied upon includes a Section 164 statement referring to Parvez Vaid (the petitioner) as a member of the D-gang.

In our view, this does not prima facie attract the offence under Section 20, as the amendment in Schedule IV designates Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar as a terrorist in his individual capacity. Therefore, mere association with him does not invoke the provisions of Section 20," the Court observed.

These remarks were made while addressing the petitions filed by Parvez Zubair Vaid and Faiz Shakeel Bhiwandiwala, who are accused in a case registered under the UAPA, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, and the Indian Penal Code.

Apart from the allegation of being a member of a terrorist organisation, they were also charged with conspiracy and raising funds for terrorist activities. Regarding the NDPS Act, an alleged recovery of 600 grams of ganja was made from Bhiwandiwala's premises. The accused had sought bail, arguing that there was no connection between them and the alleged offences.

In response, the Police admitted there was no material in the charge-sheet to support the invocation of Section 17 (Punishment for raising funds for terrorist acts) and Section 18 (Punishment for conspiracy, etc.), but defended the invocation of Section 20 UAPA. Some witnesses testified that they knew Vaid as a member of the D-Company, it was submitted.

The prosecution also highlighted a ₹25,000 transaction made by Parvez to an individual closely associated with Ibrahim.
After reviewing the evidence and noting that UAPA contains distinct provisions for individuals and organisations, the Court found that the statements were insufficient to warrant Section 20 charges against Vaid.

Regarding Bhiwandiwala, the Court found no evidence linking him to the 'D' gang.

Concerning the NDPS Act charges, the Court noted that only 600 grammes of ganja was recovered, which does not qualify as commercial or intermediate quantity, but only a small quantity. Thus, the bar on releasing Bhiwandiwala on bail under Section 37 of the NDPS Act was not an impediment, the Court observed.

"Mere sharing of images of narcotics or prohibited substances does not attract the provisions of the NDPS Act," it added.
With these observations, the Court granted bail to the accused.

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Kuwait Imposed Average of One Death Sentence per Month in Drug Cases Last Year

Kuwaiti courts issued an average of one death sentence per month against drug dealers last year as the country intensifies its efforts to combat narcotics trafficking and smuggling.

Twelve drug dealers were handed death sentences in Kuwait in 2023 after being convicted of smuggling or trading in illicit substances in various cases, Al Qabas newspaper reported, citing judicial statistics.

Three of the inmates were caught growing narcotics in home gardens and other places, as well as processing drugs for trading. The remaining convicts were found guilty of possessing and smuggling drugs in collaboration with international gangs.

According to the statistics, 59 other convicts received life sentences on charges of drug trafficking. These included eight defendants convicted of planting narcotics, 32 others for possessing and bringing in drugs with the intention of trading.

Twelve others were convicted of possessing drugs for personal use, four were found guilty of possessing psychotropic drugs, and three more defendants were convicted of drug taking and trafficking.

A total of 6,911 verdicts were delivered last year in Kuwait in drug-related cases. These included 6,034 conviction rulings and 877 acquittals.

The high conviction rates were attributed to the “professionalism in seizure and inspection” by law enforcement officers, according to a legal expert.

Last week, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry announced it had foiled an attempt to smuggle nearly 160 kilograms of hashish into the country. Four persons were arrested in connection with the attempt.

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Courts Should Encourage Compounding of Offences in Cheque Bounce Cases: SC

The Supreme Court has stressed the need to encourage compounding of offences in cheque bounce cases by courts, if parties are willing to do so.

A bench presided over by Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia said: “A large number of cases involving dishonour of cheques are pending before courts which is a serious concern for our judicial system. Keeping in mind that the ‘compensatory aspect’ of remedy shall have priority over the ‘punitive aspect’, courts should encourage compounding of offences under the NI Act if parties are willing to do so.”

Dishonour of cheques is a regulatory offence which was made an offence only in view of public interest so that the reliability of these instruments can be ensured, added the Bench, also comprising Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

The apex court was hearing a special leave petition filed against the Madras High Court decision convicting the appellants under the NI (Negotiable Instruments) Act in a cheque bounce case due to "insufficient funds."

In October 2012, the trial court convicted the appellants under Section 138 NI Act and imposed a sentence of one year of simple imprisonment each.

During the pendency of the appeal before the apex court, the respondent-complainant had entered into a settlement agreement in January 2024 and had settled the dispute among themselves.

“Now, when the accused and complainant have reached a settlement permissible by law and this Court has also satisfied itself regarding the genuineness of the settlement, we think that the conviction of the appellants would not serve any purpose and thus, it is required to be set aside,” the SC order said.

Considering the totality of the circumstances and compromise between the parties, it allowed the appeal and acquitted the appellants by setting aside the impugned orders of the Madras HC and trial court.

In its judgment, the top court also referred to the judgment in ‘Raj Reddy Kallem vs State of Haryana’ case, where conviction under the NI Act was quashed, by invoking its powers under Article 142, even though the complainant had declined to give consent for compounding, observing that the accused had sufficiently compensated the complainant.

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Biden Drops Out of Re-election Battle With Donald Trump, Endorses Kamala Harris

Joe Biden dropped out of the US presidential election and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Party's new nominee, in a political earthquake that upends an already extraordinary 2024 race for the White House.

Biden, 81, said he was acting in the "best interest of my party and the country" by bowing to weeks of pressure after a disastrous June debate against Donald Trump stoked worries about his age and mental fitness.

The stunning move throws Democrats into fresh turmoil ahead of the November 5 election. But it could also reenergize the demoralized party, with Harris swiftly confirming her goal to become America's first woman president and to "defeat Donald Trump." Biden said he would "speak to the nation later this week".

Trump reacted with a stream of posts on his Truth Social network, saying that because Biden is not "fit to run" for president, he is also not "fit to serve."

However, the dramatic shift will wrong-foot Republicans, whose campaign was solely focused on Biden and will now instead feature 78-year-old Trump -- the oldest presidential nominee in US history -- up against a far younger opponent.

The move also transforms what had been a highly unpopular and dragging Trump-Biden rematch into one of the most compelling presidential campaigns in modern American politics.

Biden's withdrawal had been widely expected at some point. The announcement finally came with no warning as he recovered from Covid at his Delaware beach house.

In a letter posted on X, Biden said it had been the "greatest honor of my life" to be president. He said he would address the nation later this week. The White House later said he had no public events scheduled for Monday.

"While it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term," he wrote.

Shortly after, he offered his "full support and endorsement" for Harris, with his campaign filing official notice to change its name to "Harris for President."

Endorsements began streaming in for Harris almost immediately from Democratic big shots as well as those seen as potential rivals for the nomination, such as California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The Democratic fundraising group ActBlue meanwhile reported that Harris received $27.5 million in small-donor contributions over the course of just five hours.

Party Convention in Chicago

Democrats must now scramble to confirm a new candidate at their party convention in Chicago on August 19. Harris, the first Black and South Asian woman vice president in US history, praised Biden for his "selfless and patriotic act" and vowed to "earn and win" the nomination.

Still highly influential former Democratic president Barack Obama cautioned that "uncharted waters" lie ahead. Biden's decision came after a period of enforced isolation, with only a few family members and aides around him to consult at his Rehoboth Beach home, as he nursed a Covid infection.

First Lady Jill Biden reacted by simply reposting his statement, along with two hearts. In a clear sign of how Republicans will try to frame Harris's image, Trump's new running mate JD Vance underlined that she had been "every step of the way" with Biden, "the worst president in my lifetime."

'Mental Decline'

Biden's decision to exit caps a tense and chaotic period in the US election, with Trump having survived an assassination attempt at a campaign rally on July 13, and Democrats tearing themselves apart for weeks over whether Biden should quit. The Democrat is the first president in US history to drop out so late in an election race.

Biden spent more than three weeks resisting calls to step down following the shock of the June 27 debate, during which he often lost his train of thought and stood with mouth agape.

Harris meanwhile struggled to make an impact in her first years in the White House, but performed strongly on the campaign trail on key issues such as abortion.

In recent weeks, the Biden campaign has reportedly been quietly carrying out a head-to-head survey of voters measuring how the former California prosecutor matched up against convicted felon Trump.

Biden took office in January 2021 pledging to heal the "soul of America" after four turbulent years under Trump and the shock of the January 6, 2021 Capitol assault by his supporters.

Overcoming a reputation for verbal flubs, Obama's former vice president gave strong backing to Ukraine's battle against Russia's 2022 invasion, pushed through a massive Covid recovery plan and historic green industry subsidies.

But he faced criticism over the catastrophic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, high inflation, and his support for Israel's war in Gaza -- while concerns over his age only mounted.

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UAE’s Corporate Tax Law: Managing Your Net Interest Expenditure, Taxable Income

Corporate tax is a direct tax on the net profits businesses and entities earn from their trade. The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) is responsible for the administration, collection and enforcement of this tax.

Implementation and Rates

In January 2022, the Ministry of Finance announced a Federal Corporate Tax (CT) rate of 9% on net business profits, applicable across all emirates. Companies with net profits exceeding Dh375,000 are subject to this tax at the specified rate.

The tax applies to businesses starting from their first financial year commencing on or after 1 June 2023, or January 1, 2024, as mandated by UAE Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022. Companies must prepare their financial statements according to UAE accounting standards.

Purpose and Benefits

The introduction of corporate tax aims to enhance the UAE's status as a leading global hub for trade and investment, promote economic growth, adhere to international tax transparency standards and deter harmful tax practices.

Scope of Application

The corporate tax applies to:

* Individuals conducting business or engaging in commercial activities in the UAE through an unincorporated partnership or sole proprietorship.

* Entities incorporated in the UAE with a commercial licence.

* Foreign entities or individuals with a permanent establishment in the UAE.

Exemptions

According to the UAE government’s official portal, the following are exempt from paying corporate tax:

* Businesses engaged in the extraction of natural resources.

* Profits earned by UAE businesses from their shareholdings.

* Qualifying intra-group transactions and reorganisations.

* Personal earnings such as salary, investment in real estate, shares, securities, etc.

* Income from bank deposits, savings plans, dividends, capital gains, interest, royalties and other investment returns.

* Earnings of foreign investors who do not conduct business in the UAE.

Free Zone Companies

Free zone companies will continue to follow their pre-agreed regulations. However, these rules may change, and if free zone businesses trade with mainland businesses, they must pay corporate tax on that particular income.

Net Interest Expenditure Limitations

The UAE corporate tax law allows net interest expenditure up to 30% of adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) or Dh12 million, whichever is greater. Any remaining net interest expenditure can be carried forward for up to 10 tax periods.

Net Interest Explained

"Net interest" refers to the excess of interest expenses over interest income. When calculating adjusted EBITDA, exempt income is excluded, and any interest related to exempt income is disregarded.

Tax Group Considerations

The net interest expenditure provisions apply to the entire tax group as a single taxable entity. This means the 30% cap and carry forward limits are calculated at the group level.

If the combined net interest expenses exceed Dh12 million and the group’s adjusted EBITDA is insufficient to offset these expenses, the 30% cap is enforced for the entire group.
This applies even if some group members individually have enough EBITDA to cover their interest expenses.

Subsidiary Changes and Group Dissolution

If a subsidiary leaves the tax group or there is a change in the parent company, net interest expenses remain within the group unless they are pre-grouping unutilised expenses of the subsidiary, which the subsidiary will carry forward.

If the group dissolves and the parent company remains taxable, the unutilised net interest expenses stay with the parent company. If the parent company ceases to exist, these expenses remain unutilised unless a new parent company replaces it.

In the case of a merger, the unused net interest expenses are accessible to the new parent company if it becomes the legal successor.

Handling Group Losses and Interest Expenditures

Within a tax group, various loss categories exist, including pre-grouping losses, restricted and unrestricted tax group losses, transferred losses, and those from business restructuring. However, there is no concept of restricted net interest expenditure like restricted tax group losses.

Additionally, a taxable person cannot transfer its net interest expenses to another entity, even in a business restructuring process.

Utilisation of Net Interest Expenditures

Net interest expenditures are offset in the sequence of their occurrence, after adjusting for the current period's net interest expenditures.

If multiple unused net interest expenditures originate from tax periods ending on the same date, there is no requirement to follow chronological order. Pre-grouping net interest expenditures can be utilised up to 30% of the group's adjusted EBITDA or Dh12 million, whichever is higher, provided the subsidiary has sufficient taxable income to offset these expenditures.

Transfer Restrictions

Unlike tax losses, net interest expenditure cannot be transferred between persons or groups under articles 37 and 38 of the law. Any unutilised net interest expenditure tied to a transferor ceases if the transferor exits.

Exemptions

The general interest deduction limitation rule does not affect banks, insurance providers and certain other taxable entities, such as those engaged in qualifying infrastructure projects, or those with loans taken out before December 9, 2022, without changes to the loan terms.

For these entities, their income and expenses are disregarded when calculating the tax group's total net interest expenditure and EBITDA.

Businesses and tax groups must carefully manage their net interest expenses and taxable income to ensure compliance with the UAE corporate tax law. Properly understanding and applying these regulations is crucial for optimising tax obligations and maintaining regulatory compliance.

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Lokpal Dismisses Complaint Against PM Modi Over Speech on Congress

The Lokpal, India's apex anti-corruption ombudsman, has dismissed a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi concerning a speech in which he accused the Congress party of accepting black money from industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani.

The decision, announced on Friday, has sparked discussions about the boundaries of political rhetoric and the role of oversight institutions in addressing such allegations.

The complaint was filed by a group of opposition leaders and civil society members following PM Modi's speech at a political rally earlier this year.

In his address, Modi alleged that the Congress party had received substantial sums of unaccounted money from Ambani and Adani, two of India’s most prominent businessmen. The accusations, made during an election campaign, were seen as a serious charge against the opposition party.

The Lokpal, after conducting a preliminary review, decided to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the statements made by the Prime Minister fell within the ambit of political speech. In its detailed order, the Lokpal emphasised the following points:

Freedom of Speech: The Lokpal underlined that political leaders are entitled to a wide latitude in their speech, particularly during election campaigns. It stressed that the allegations, while serious, were part of the political discourse and did not constitute a direct abuse of power or corruption.

Lack of Substantive Evidence: The complaint did not provide concrete evidence to substantiate the claims that PM Modi's speech was based on factual inaccuracies or that it had a corrupt intent. The Lokpal noted that political allegations, unless backed by irrefutable proof, do not warrant a formal investigation.

Context of the Speech: The Lokpal took into account the context in which the statements were made. It recognised the heightened rhetoric typical of election periods and the fact that political speeches often include sharp criticisms and accusations.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) welcomed the Lokpal’s decision, stating that it reaffirmed the right of political leaders to speak freely and criticise their opponents. The Congress party, on the other hand, expressed disappointment with the Lokpal’s decision.

Civil society groups and anti-corruption activists have had mixed reactions to the Lokpal’s dismissal of the complaint. Some argue that the decision sets a precedent that could embolden political figures to make unsubstantiated claims without fear of repercussions.

Others believe that the Lokpal acted within its mandate by focusing on actionable evidence and not political rhetoric.
The Lokpal’s dismissal of the complaint against PM Modi underscores the complex interplay between freedom of speech and accountability in political discourse.

While it reinforces the principle that political leaders can engage in robust debate, it also highlights the challenges in addressing allegations made in the heat of electoral contests.

As India moves forward, the balance between allowing free expression and ensuring accountability will continue to be a topic of significant importance in its democratic process.

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ICJ Declares Israel's Occupation of Palestinian Territories Illegal, Urges Withdrawal

The United Nations' highest court said on Friday that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and settlements there is illegal and should be withdrawn as soon as possible, in its strongest findings to date on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The advisory opinion by judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), known as the World Court, is not binding but carries weight under international law and may weaken support for Israel.

"Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the regime associated with them, have been established and are being maintained in violation of international law," President Nawaf Salam said, reading the findings of a 15-judge panel.

The court said Israel's obligations include paying restitution for harm and "the evacuation of all settlers from existing settlements".

In a swift reaction, Israel's foreign ministry rejected the opinion as "fundamentally wrong" and one-sided, and repeated its stance that a political settlement in the region can only be reached through negotiations.
"The Jewish nation cannot be an occupier in its own land," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

The opinion also angered West Bank settlers as well as politicians such as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, whose nationalist religious party is close to the settler movement and who himself lives in a West Bank settlement.

"The answer to The Hague - Sovereignty now," he said in a post on the social media platform X, in an apparent appeal to formally annex the West Bank.

Israel Gantz, head of the Binyamin Regional Council, one of the largest settler councils, said the ICJ opinion was "contrary to the Bible, morality, and international law".

The ICJ opinion also found that the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and all states have an obligation not to recognise the occupation as legal nor "render aid or assistance" towards maintaining Israel's presence in the occupied territories.

The United States is Israel's biggest military ally and supporter. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called the opinion "historic" and urged states to adhere to it.

"No aid. No assistance. No complicity. No money, no arms, no trade...no actions of any kind to support Israel's illegal occupation," Palestinian envoy Riyad al-Maliki said outside the court in The Hague.

The case stems from a 2022 request for a legal opinion from the UN General Assembly, predating the war in Gaza that began in October.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem - areas of historic Palestine which the Palestinians want for a state - in the 1967 Middle East war and has since built settlements in the West Bank and steadily expanded them.

Israeli leaders argue the territories are not occupied in legal terms because they are on disputed lands, but the United Nations and most of the international community regard them as occupied territory.

In February, more than 50 states presented their views before the court, with Palestinian representatives asking the court to find that Israel must withdraw from all the occupied areas and dismantle illegal settlements.

Israel did not participate in the oral hearings but filed a written statement telling the court that issuing an advisory opinion would be "harmful" to attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The majority of states participating asked the court to find the occupation illegal, while a handful, including Canada and Britain, argued it should refuse to give an advisory opinion.

The United States had asked the court not to order the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian territories. The US position was that the court should issue no decision that could hurt negotiations toward a two-state solution on a "land for peace" principle.

In 2004 the ICJ gave an advisory ruling that an Israeli separation barrier around most of the West Bank was illegal and Israeli settlements were established in breach of international law. Israel dismissed that ruling.

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Tech Outage in UAE: How the CrowdStrike Crash Disrupted Daily Life and What Comes Next?

It was not a cyberattack, but the world nearly came to a standstill after a massive IT outage wreaked havoc on computer systems worldwide on Friday.

Planes were grounded, airports crowded with passengers waiting for their flights, ATMs ceased dispensing cash, supermarkets and petrol stations declined digital payments, and companies were forced to reboot after their computers crashed, displaying only the so-called 'blue screen of death'.

The system glitch stemmed from a defect found in a single content update for Microsoft Windows. The Falcon Sensor by US-based cybersecurity technology firm CrowdStrike, supposedly “purpose-built to stop breaches and prevent all types of attacks”-- including malware and more -- caused the outage. Systems restarted or shut down automatically.

George Kurtz, CrowdStrike CEO, has apologised for the global outage. “This is not a security incident or cyberattack. The issue has been identified, isolated, and a fix has been deployed," he said in a post on social media platform X on Friday.

Microsoft stated it had fixed the underlying cause of the outage that affected its 365 apps and services, while Mac and Linux hosts were not impacted.

How Bad Was the Situation?

Air travel was the most severely affected, with airports and major airlines around the world reporting delays following issues with their system networks.

According to preliminary data released at 2 pm on Friday (UAE time) by aviation analytics company Cirium, out of more than 110,000 scheduled commercial flights that day, 1,390 were cancelled globally, and the numbers were rising.

Across Asia, airports in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, India, and Manila were among those affected, with long queues seen at check-in counters. Major US air carriers, including Delta, United, and American Airlines, also grounded all flights, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Bank transactions, hospital services, and financial markets were also disrupted.

How Was the UAE Affected?

Some online services by the UAE Government were affected, and Dubai International Airport (DXB) confirmed that their operations were temporarily impacted.

UAE residents, however, were assured that no hacks or cyberattacks were detected amid the large-scale technical failure on Friday. The UAE Cyber Security Council issued an alert urging users of CrowdStrike software to be wary of any software updates.

The Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) also issued a statement assuring that it "acted quickly to avoid any impact on Dubai government services".

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the global technical glitch “had minor impacts on the operation of the country's airports and airlines. Minor delays were reported in the check-in processes for a limited number of flights, as an alternative system was used by the airlines, allowing the check-in operations to resume normally.”

Some residents were surprised as they did not expect some shops to switch to "cash-only" payments due to technical issues. Those buying groceries or refuelling their cars had to scramble for instant cash as card payments were not working. Others were unable to withdraw from ATMs.

Dubai-based IT expert Rayad Kamal Ayub, managing director of Rayad Group, said: “Tech experts in the coming days will analyse if this was a cyberattack or a blunder on the part of the company to have deployed an update without following the complete protocols of testing.”

“This is a wake-up call for most governments and multinationals about their vulnerabilities. This is a case of complete dependence on one company for their cybersecurity requirements,” he underscored. “In the next few weeks and months, cybersecurity experts and security professionals will have to look at backup options if the enterprise software and cybersecurity company get compromised again,” he added.

Irene Corpuz, founding partner and board member at Women in Cybersecurity Middle East, said, “I can sense that CrowdStrike will be called by the US Senate to explain.” “It was not a cyberattack, but businesses and companies were heavily affected. Residents also felt the impact. The card payment system crashed in some stores, and not everyone is carrying cash nowadays,” she added.

Corpuz said tech companies normally do testing in a test environment before deploying patches in a live environment. “However, we do not know the case of the update on CrowdStrike and the patch management policy (methodology used to ensure hardware and software on a corporate network are regularly maintained) used before it was deployed to a live environment.”

One thing is for sure, as Ayub pointed out the irony of the situation: “What was supposed to be a protector for cybersecurity has compromised us.”

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UAE Visa and Emirates ID Fines: 14 Violations With Penalties up to Dh20,000

Residents in the UAE must obtain and renew their Emirates ID on time, as delays can result in significant fines.

According to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security (ICP), there are 14 specific violations related to Emirates ID and UAE visa services, with fines ranging from Dh20 per day to Dh20,000.

Emirates ID Violations

1 Late Registration and Renewal:
Residents must register for or renew their Emirates ID within 30 days of expiration. Delays incur fines of Dh20 per day, up to a maximum of Dh1,000.

2 Misuse and Obstruction:
Misuse of the system, obstructing ICP employees, or failing to cooperate results in a fine of Dh5,000.

3 False Information:
Inaccuracies in printing requests by system users incur a Dh100 fine while providing false information results in a Dh3,000 fine.

4 Non-existent Facility:

Issuing visas or entry permits to non-existent facilities results in a Dh20,000 fine.

Residency and Foreign Affairs Violations

ICP has outlined six fines, each Dh500, related to residency and foreign affairs services:

1 Incorrect Transactions:

Submitting transactions that do not belong to the company.

2 Data Mis-entry:

Entering data not belonging to the company via e-dirham.

3 Expired Representative Card:

Allowing the company representative’s card to expire.

4 Card Presentation:

Not carrying the card when submitting transactions.

5 Service Centre Violations:

Violating the work system in service centres.

6 Non-compliance:

Failing to comply with pledges submitted to ICP.

Lost Emirates ID

If you lose your Emirates ID or it is stolen or damaged, you must request a replacement from the ICP and pay the following fees:

* Replacement Fee: Dh300.

* Application Fee: Dh70 (typing centres) or Dh40 (eForm on the ICA website).

* Express Service: Additional Dh150 at ICA’s Customer Happiness Centre.

These fees apply to UAE nationals, GCC nationals, and expatriate residents.

Exemptions from Late Renewal Fines

Under specific circumstances, individuals may request exemptions from late renewal fines:

1 Extended Absence:

Individuals who left the country for more than three months and whose ID expired after departure.

2 Deportation or Legal Cases:

Individuals deported or whose passports are seized pending cases, with proper documentation.

3 Pre-Nationality Issuance:

Individuals who did not have an ID card before obtaining UAE nationality and family book.

4 Health Conditions:

Bed-ridden individuals, those with contagious diseases, or disabilities, with medical certification.

5 Diplomatic Staff:

Staff of diplomatic or consular missions and their dependents.

6 Elderly:

Individuals aged 70 or older, unable to visit customer happiness centres, with proof of age.

7 Social Security Beneficiaries:

Emiratis under the social security system and their dependents, with official certification of financial status.

8 Technical Errors:

Delays due to computer errors can also result in waived fines.

By adhering to these regulations and promptly addressing any issues with your Emirates ID, you can avoid these substantial fines and ensure compliance with UAE laws.

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Can Your Employer Legally Reject Your Annual Leave Despite Giving Notice?

In the UAE, the approval of annual leave is largely at the employer's discretion, even if the leave application was submitted well in advance. This situation can be challenging for employees who have made travel plans based on their leave requests.

Employer's Discretion and Legal Framework

According to Article 29(4) of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations, employers have the right to set the dates of annual leave for their employees based on work requirements.

The law states, "The employee shall use his leave in the year of entitlement. The employer may fix the dates of leave according to the work requirements and in agreement with the employee, or rotate leaves among employees for the smooth progress of work, and shall notify the employee of the date of his leave at least one month before the same."

This means that despite applying for leave two months in advance, your employer can legally reject your request if it conflicts with the company's operational needs or if leave rotations are necessary to ensure the smooth running of the business.

Employer's Obligation to Grant Leave

However, the law also mandates that employers must grant annual leave at least once every two years unless the employee agrees to carry forward the leave or receive payment instead of leave.

Article 29(8) of the UAE Employment Law specifies, "The employer may not prevent the employee from using his accrued annual leave for more than two years unless the employee wants to carry it over or be paid in place of leave according to the Establishment bylaws and as specified by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law."

Handling Leave Rejection

If your leave has been pre-approved in writing and then rejected, your employer might be obligated to cover any non-refundable travel expenses you incurred based on the approved leave.

While the UAE Employment Law and subsequent ministerial decrees do not provide explicit remedies for such cases, having written approval can strengthen your position in negotiations with your employer.

Recommendations for Employees

To avoid potential financial losses and ensure your travel plans are not disrupted, it is advisable to:

* Obtain written pre-approval for your annual leave from your employer.

* Plan your vacation only after receiving this written confirmation.

* Keep records of all communications and approvals regarding your leave.

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ByteDance Loses Challenge to Gatekeeper Status Under EU Digital Markets Act

World

The General Court of the European Union (GC) on Wednesday ruled that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, qualifies as a gatekeeper under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which subjects the company to stricter regulations aimed at ensuring fair competition and user rights.

The Commission assigned ByteDance gatekeeper status in September 2023 under the DMA. Gatekeeper status under the DMA imposes additional obligations on companies with “a significant impact on their relevant digital market” to uphold European competition law.

The DMA can be seen as an extension of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which prohibits the abuse of dominance in market competition. Other companies that have been assigned gatekeeper status include Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft.

The General Court based its decision on several factors, including ByteDance’s significant market influence through its popular platform TikTok, control over critical digital infrastructure, and ability to set rules for other market participants.
The court noted that ByteDance’s substantial user base and extensive data collection capabilities position it as a critical player in the digital market.

As a designated gatekeeper, ByteDance will now be required to adhere to stringent regulations under the DMA. These include ensuring data portability, maintaining interoperability with third-party services, providing business users access to performance data, and avoiding practices that favour its services over competitors. Failure to comply could result in significant fines.

In rejecting ByteDance’s argument that their impact on the European internal market was limited, using TikTok’s European user base as evidence of financial capacity, the GC also ruled that ByteDance’s assertion of an infringement on their right to defence and principle of equal treatment was unfounded.

In response to the ruling, a company spokesperson told Reuters, “We believe that TikTok operates in a highly competitive environment and that our practices align with EU regulations.” ByteDance has not announced plans to appeal the decision.

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Supreme Court: Previous Tests for Judicial Interference in Arbitration Outdated

In a significant pro-arbitration judgment, the Supreme Court on Thursday held that referral courts cannot go beyond the scope of enquiry under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra outlined the importance of adhering to arbitration norms and agreements in this regard. A referral court only steps in when the procedure for appointing arbitrators is not adhered to, the Court added.

"If the referral court... goes beyond the scope of enquiry as provided under the section and examines the issue of 'accord and satisfaction', then it would amount to usurpation of the power which the parties had intended to be exercisable by the arbitral tribunal alone and not by the national courts.

Such a scenario would impeach arbitral autonomy and would not fit well with the scheme of the Act, 1996," the Court said.
Pertinently, the Bench took a dim view of previous tests for judicial interference in arbitration matters laid down by the apex court.

"Tests like the 'eye of the needle' and 'ex-facie meritless', although they try to minimise the extent of judicial interference, yet they require the referral court to examine contested facts and appreciate prima facie evidence (however limited the scope of enquiry may be) and thus are not in conformity with the principles of modern arbitration which place arbitral autonomy and judicial non-interference on the highest pedestal," the top court held.

The observations came in a judgment dealing with the scope and standard of judicial scrutiny when a plea of 'accord and satisfaction' is taken in an application under Section 11(6) of the 1996 Act.

The case involved SBI General Insurance (appellant) and Krish Spinning (respondent), following insurance claims related to two fire incidents at the latter's factory.

As the parties could not arrive at an amicable resolution of their dispute, the respondent invoked the arbitration clause and moved the Gujarat High Court for the appointment of an arbitrator. Before the High Court, it claimed that the appellant paid only ₹84 lakh out of the loss of ₹1.76 crore suffered by it.

The appellant contested the arbitration petition, arguing that the claim raised by the respondent was stale, and having once signed the consent letter dated in December 2018, it was not open for it to turn around and raise a dispute.

It pointed out that the respondent had signed an advance discharge voucher dated January 2019, confirming the receipt of ₹84 lakh. The discharge voucher also stated that the respondent was discharging the appellant of the liability arising under its claim.

The High Court held that if the dispute existing between the parties could be referred to arbitration under the arbitration agreement, then the appointment of an arbitrator must follow. An order for the appointment of an arbitrator was eventually passed, leading to the present appeal.

The following issues arose before the apex court:

1. Whether the execution of a discharge voucher towards the full and final settlement between the parties would operate as a bar to invoking arbitration?

2. What is the scope and standard of judicial scrutiny that an application under Section 11(6) of the Act, 1996 can be subjected to when a plea of 'accord and satisfaction' is taken by the defendant?

3. What is the effect of the decision of this Court in In Re: Interplay Between Arbitration Agreements under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1966 and the Indian Stamp Act 1899 on the scope of powers of the referral court under Section 11 of the Act, 1996?

To answer the first question, the Court said that a dispute on whether a contract has been discharged or not is an arbitrable dispute.

"The intention of the parties in discharging a contract by 'accord and satisfaction' is to relieve each other of the existing or any new obligations under the contract. Such a discharge of obligations under the substantive contract cannot be construed to mean that the parties also intended to relieve each other of their obligation to settle any dispute pertaining to the original contract through arbitration," the Court stated.

Regarding the second question, the Court delved into Section 11(6A), which limits the referral jurisdiction of a court when it comes to the appointment of arbitrators, to the examination of the existence of an arbitration agreement.

The position prior to the amendment that introduced Section 11(6A) was that a court could reject an application for the appointment of an arbitrator based on its 'accord and satisfaction.' It noted that despite the introduction of Section 11(6A), there have been diverging views on whether the scope of the referral court under Section 11 includes the power to go into the question of 'accord and satisfaction.'

After reviewing several judgments on the issue, the Court said that in such cases, the court should not examine such issues before the arbitral tribunal has had the opportunity to look into them first.

"The question of 'accord and satisfaction', being a mixed question of law and fact, comes within the exclusive jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal, if not otherwise agreed upon between the parties. Thus, the negative effect of competence-competence would require that the matter falling within the exclusive domain of the arbitral tribunal should not be looked into by the referral court, even for a prima facie determination, before the arbitral tribunal first has had the opportunity of looking into it," the judgment said.

For the third question, the Bench referred to its judgment in In Re: Interplay Between Indian Stamp Act and Indian Arbitration Act, in which it was held that while unstamped arbitration agreements are inadmissible, they are not rendered void ab initio.
It specifically referred to the aspect of arbitral autonomy, which it said permeates the Arbitration Act.

"What follows from the negative facet of arbitral autonomy when applied in the context of Section 16 is that the national courts are prohibited from interfering in matters pertaining to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal, as exclusive jurisdiction on those aspects vests with the arbitral tribunal," it held.

It also discussed the negative aspect of the doctrine of competence-competence, explaining,

"The negative aspect of competence-competence is aimed at restricting the interference of the courts at the referral stage by preventing the courts from examining the issues pertaining to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal before the arbitral tribunal itself has had the opportunity to entertain them."

The Court went on to uphold the arbitration agreement between the parties, including the appointment of retired Gujarat High Court judge Justice KA Puj as an arbitrator.

The judgment stressed that the scope of enquiry at the stage of the appointment of an arbitrator is limited to the scrutiny of the prima facie existence of the arbitration agreement, and the 'accord and satisfaction' of claims being contested does not question such agreements.

Thus, the question of 'accord and satisfaction' is to be decided by the arbitral tribunal and not the parties.
If referral courts delve into the details of such issues, the objective of expediency and simplification of arbitration pleadings is hindered, the Court added.

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Bilkis Bano Case: SC Refuses to Entertain Plea for Interim Bail by Two Convicts

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain pleas by two men convicted for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano amid the Gujarat riots of 2002.

The two convicts, Radheshyam Bhagwandas and Rajubhai Babulal Soni, moved the Court for interim bail till a fresh decision is taken on their pleas for remission (early release from prison).

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and PV Sanjay Kumar however, minced no words in making it clear that no such benefit would be extended to the convicts.

"What is this plea? How is it even maintainable? Absolutely misconceived. How can in (Article) 32, we sit over appeal?" the Court asked. The petition was eventually withdrawn by the two convicts.

Notably, on January 8 this year, the Supreme Court had cancelled the remission granted by the Gujarat government to all the convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.

In the January 8 judgment, the top court had concluded that the remission policy applicable to the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case was the remission policy in Maharashtra (where the rape case trial took place) and not that of the Gujarat government.

In other words, the Court said that the State of Gujarat had no authority to apply its remission policy to the rape convicts in this case. The Court, therefore, ordered the re-imprisonment of the convicts.

The Court also criticised the Gujarat government in harsh terms, commenting that the State government had “acted in tandem and was complicit with the accused", when it allowed their early release from jail.

Review petitions challenging the correctness of this verdict, which were filed by the Gujarat government as well as convicts, are pending before the top court. After the Court indicated that it was not inclined to allow this plea, the petitions were ultimately withdrawn.

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ADJD Reviews Technical Projects for Correctional and Rehabilitation Centres to Support Digital Systems

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has announced a comprehensive review of technical projects aimed at enhancing the digital infrastructure of correctional and rehabilitation centres across the emirate.

This initiative underscores the department's commitment to modernising the justice system and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of correctional facilities.

The primary goal of this review is to assess and implement advanced digital systems that can streamline operations, enhance security and provide better services to inmates.

The ADJD aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to support the ongoing transformation of correctional and rehabilitation centres into more efficient, secure, and rehabilitative environments.

One of the focal points of the review is the implementation of sophisticated security systems. This includes the integration of biometric identification, advanced surveillance systems, and automated monitoring tools.

These measures are designed to enhance the safety and security of both inmates and staff, reducing the potential for incidents and ensuring a more secure environment.

The ADJD is also exploring digital solutions to improve the quality of services provided to inmates. This includes the development of digital platforms for communication, education and rehabilitation programmes.

By providing inmates with access to online courses, virtual counselling sessions, and digital libraries, the department aims to support their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

The review will also focus on the digitalisation of administrative processes within correctional facilities. This includes the implementation of electronic record-keeping, automated scheduling, and digital case management systems.

These tools are expected to enhance operational efficiency, reduce paperwork, and facilitate better coordination between different departments.

The ADJD is working in close collaboration with various stakeholders, including technology providers, security experts and rehabilitation specialists. This collaborative approach ensures that the implemented solutions are comprehensive, effective, and tailored to the specific needs of correctional and rehabilitation centres.

Youssef Saeed Al Abri, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, emphasised the department's commitment to innovation and continuous improvement.

"We are dedicated to leveraging the latest technologies to enhance our correctional and rehabilitation centres. This review is a crucial step towards creating a more secure, efficient, and rehabilitative environment for inmates, reflecting our commitment to justice and human rights," he said.

The ADJD's review of technical projects is expected to lead to significant advancements in the digital infrastructure of correctional and rehabilitation centres. By embracing innovative technologies and modernising existing systems, the department aims to set new standards for correctional facilities in the UAE and beyond.

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department's initiative to review and enhance the digital systems of correctional and rehabilitation centres marks a significant step towards the modernisation of the justice system.

With a focus on security, efficiency, and rehabilitation, this initiative is poised to make a lasting impact on the lives of inmates and the overall effectiveness of correctional facilities in Abu Dhabi.

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GPSSA Announces 17,304 Emirati Contributors Under New Federal Pension Law No. (57) of 2023

The General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) is pleased to announce that 17,304 Emirati citizens have registered as contributors under the new Federal Pension Law No. (57) of 2023.

This landmark legislation, which came into effect earlier this year, represents a significant advancement in the UAE’s ongoing efforts to enhance social security and provide robust pension benefits for its citizens.

The introduction of Federal Pension Law No. (57) of 2023 has been hailed as a major milestone in the UAE's social security landscape. This law, designed to provide comprehensive pension coverage to Emirati employees, has received a strong positive response from the community.

The GPSSA’s latest figures underscore the widespread acceptance and proactive participation of Emiratis in securing their financial future.

Federal Pension Law No. (57) of 2023 introduces several key features aimed at bolstering the pension system in the UAE. Among the highlights are:

* Enhanced Pension Benefits: The law offers improved pension benefits, ensuring that retirees receive adequate financial support.

* Extended Coverage: The law extends pension coverage to a broader segment of the Emirati workforce, including those in new and emerging sectors.

* Flexible Contribution Plans: The new regulations provide flexible contribution plans, allowing employees to choose options that best suit their financial situations.

* Strengthened Social Security Framework: The law strengthens the overall social security framework, providing a safety net for Emirati citizens and their families.

The GPSSA has been actively engaging with the community to raise awareness about the new law and its benefits. Through a series of workshops, seminars and media campaigns, the authority has ensured that Emirati citizens are well-informed and able to make educated decisions regarding their pension contributions.

The GPSSA continues to work tirelessly to ensure the successful implementation of Federal Pension Law No. (57) of 2023. With 17,304 contributors already on board, the authority is optimistic about the future and remains committed to providing exemplary service and support to all Emirati citizens.

As the UAE moves forward, the new pension law stands as a beacon of progress, reflecting the nation’s dedication to enhancing the well-being and financial security of its people. The GPSSA encourages all eligible Emiratis to take advantage of the opportunities provided by this landmark legislation and secure their futures through active participation in the pension system.

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UAE Immigration: A Guide to Key Entry Requirements, Visa Types and Deportation Rules

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), understanding immigration and deportation processes is essential for both residents and newcomers.

These procedures are governed by well-defined legal frameworks to maintain public order, ensure security, and regulate residency.

Immigration

Federal Law No. (6) of 1973: UAE Immigration and Residence Regulations

To streamline immigration and residence procedures, the UAE has implemented Federal Law No. (6) of 1973. This law provides clear guidelines for the entry, residence, and employment of foreigners in the country.

Amended by Federal Decree-Law No. (17) of 2017, it aims to ensure orderly immigration processes while safeguarding national security and economic interests.

Key Points of the Law

Entry Requirements: Foreigners entering the UAE must do so through designated ports of entry with a valid passport and the appropriate visa or entry permit. Certain exemptions may apply as per Cabinet decisions.

Visas and Permits: The law categorises visas into various types, including visit visas for tourists and short-term visitors, and residence visas for those seeking long-term stay. The issuance, renewal, and cancellation of these visas are governed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Work Regulations: Holders of visit visas are prohibited from working in the UAE without explicit permission. Employment is strictly regulated to ensure compliance with labour laws and protect both employers and employees.

Residence Permits: Foreigners intending to reside in the UAE for an extended period must obtain a residence permit. These permits are issued based on specific criteria, including employment, investment, or family sponsorship.

Registration Requirements: Upon arrival, foreigners must register their details with immigration authorities. Employers also play a crucial role in ensuring compliance by reporting changes in employment status or residence to the relevant authorities.

Penalties and Enforcement: The law imposes penalties for violations such as illegal entry, unauthorised employment, and forgery of documents. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, and deportation, depending on the severity of the offence.

Special Provisions: Certain categories of individuals, such as diplomats and heads of state, enjoy exemptions from certain provisions based on international treaties and reciprocity agreements.

Implementation and Compliance

Federal Law No. (6) of 1973 emphasises the importance of co-operation between various governmental bodies to enforce its provisions effectively. It also provides mechanisms for the regularisation of illegal residency, offering opportunities for individuals to rectify their status within the legal framework.

Deportation

There are two primary types of deportation in the UAE:

Judicial Deportation: This type of deportation is issued under a court order against a foreigner convicted of serious crimes, including felonies punishable by imprisonment or offences involving sexual assault.

According to Article 121 of Law No. 3 of 1987 on the penal code, amended by Federal Law No. 34 of 2005 and further amended by Federal Decree-Law No. 7 of 2016, such individuals are mandated to be deported from the UAE.

Administrative Deportation: Administered by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, administrative deportation occurs for reasons related to public interest, security, morals, or health.

It can also be enforced if the foreigner lacks visible means of support. Individuals subject to administrative deportation may apply for removal through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in their emirate.

Reasons for Deportation

Deportation orders are issued for various reasons, including criminal activities, threats to public safety and violations of residency regulations. Individuals may face deportation for failing to maintain lawful residency status or engaging in activities deemed harmful to society.

Lifting Deportation Orders

Foreigners under deportation orders may request a grace period upon posting bail to resolve ongoing interests in the UAE. Typically, this grace period, overseen by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, does not exceed three months.

Re-entry to the UAE after deportation requires special permission from the director general of the authority, involving a detailed application outlining previous residency permits, reasons for deportation, and justifications for return.

Blacklists and Administrative Lists

In addition to deportation, individuals may be placed on blacklists or administrative lists, restricting entry to or exit from the UAE. Blacklists include individuals convicted of crimes, those posing threats to public security, or those with outstanding financial obligations.

Administrative lists cover individuals such as domestic helpers who violate residency rules or abscond from sponsors.

Lifting Names from Lists

Names on blacklists or administrative lists can be lifted under specific conditions set by competent courts, ministerial decisions, or relevant government authorities. Procedures vary based on the reasons for listing, emphasising compliance with legal requirements.

Understanding and Compliance

Understanding these immigration and deportation procedures is essential for anyone residing or planning to reside in the UAE, ensuring adherence to local laws and avoiding legal repercussions.

This combined guide provides essential insights into navigating UAE's immigration and deportation processes, promoting informed decisions and legal compliance.

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Will Other GCC Countries Follow Oman's Lead in Introducing Personal Income Tax?

Oman is anticipated to introduce personal income tax, making it the first country in the GCC to do so, sometime next year.

This follows the kingdom’s Shura Council advancing the draft law to the State Council. Since the bill is nearing the end of its legislative approvals, it is likely to be introduced in 2025.

The initial bill was drafted back in 2020. Analysts expect other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to also introduce personal income tax; however, not in the near future. Oman could serve as a template for launching the tax in other GCC countries.

Global financial institutions have been encouraging the UAE and other GCC countries to introduce new taxes to expand their revenues, away from the petrodollars. The UAE recently introduced a 9 per cent tax on corporate incomes to boost its revenues.

Most expatriates and nationals in Oman will not be impacted by this new tax regime. Quoting reports, Emirates NBD Research said that foreign nationals will be liable to personal income tax of 5 per cent to 9 per cent on income from Oman over $100,000.

For Omani citizens, the threshold will be orders of magnitude higher at net global income over $1 million, which would be taxed at 5 per cent. “Initially, at least the new PIT will not impact the majority of people in Oman, whether expatriate workers or citizens,” Emirates NBD Research said in its latest report on the UAE’s neighbouring country.

“The new personal income tax could be introduced as early as 2025, which would put the country back in the vanguard of widening the tax base in the GCC. Oman has long had a corporate income tax, even in a limited capacity.

It was introduced in 2009 and raised from 12 per cent to 15 per cent in 2017, with the tax only now introduced in the UAE. However, Oman subsequently lagged behind the UAE and Saudi Arabia in introducing VAT,” it added.

There are 2.2 million expatriates in Oman, making up 42.3 per cent of the total population of 5.2 million. Within this 2.2 million, the majority (1.4 million) have an educational attainment level of less than a general diploma.

“While it is not a perfect indicator of income, only 214,503 expatriate workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher diploma, so the number of foreign workers on the kind of $100,000-plus salary that would be liable to personal income tax is likely lower still than this – so fewer than 4.2 per cent of the population at large.

The number of Omani citizens meeting the $1 million annual income threshold is likely to be similarly small,” the report said.

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Residents Advised to Verify Legal Status, Check for Travel Bans Before Going on Holidays

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has urged residents to take advantage of its range of services before travelling. This includes settling any outstanding financial dues and ensuring there are no travel bans related to any court cases.

In an effort to educate the public during the summer holiday season, the ADJD has launched a campaign called “Enquire...and be reassured.” The campaign aims to introduce its travel-related services and encourage people to verify their legal status before leaving the country.

The department highlighted that individuals should use the “automatic cancellation of executive decisions system,” available on ADJD’s smart application or official website, to resolve any restrictions related to unpaid dues and ensure they have clearance to travel.

The department emphasised that checking one’s legal status before travelling is essential, as it contributes to a hassle-free journey and helps avoid any financial losses that may occur if the traveller is prevented from boarding the plane.

The ADJD facilitates and expedites the completion of all transactions, aligning with its strategic vision of providing prompt access to judicial services. This initiative aims to ensure the well-being of citizens and residents and to save time, effort and expenses.

When planning to travel abroad, it is necessary to check the validity of your passport and visa requirements for the intended destination, in addition to reviewing the instructions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website.
It is also good practice to familiarise yourself with the local laws of the destination country before travelling.

How to Check Travel Bans

The Dubai Police website offers a free service allowing individuals to check the criminal status of financial cases and any possible travel bans electronically, available round the clock.

This service is accessible to all members of society and requires the individual to enter their UAE-issued ID card number. The travel ban inquiry service is also available on the Dubai Police application.

In Abu Dhabi, the ADJD provides the “Inquire” electronic service, enabling individuals to check for any cases against them with Public Prosecution by entering their unified number. Individuals can also inquire about cases through the Federal Public Prosecution.

Before planning any travel, it is advisable to check and resolve any issues that may prevent a person from passing through passport control. If necessary, assistance from a lawyer should be sought. Contacting the nearest office of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) or a local police station can also provide advice.

It is prudent to check the validity and machine-readability of your passport, as many countries do not accept non-electronic passports.

UAE citizens can verify the validity of their passports through the GDRFA Nationality Section, while expatriates can contact their home country’s embassy or consulate in the UAE.

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Employment Termination in UAE: Legal Rights, Notice Periods, Arbitrary Dismissal

In the UAE, either an employer or an employee can terminate an employment contract, provided they follow the required notice period and other legal stipulations.

Here's a comprehensive guide on when and how either party can end a contract, including situations that constitute arbitrary dismissal.

Situations for Terminating an Employment Contract

According to Article 42 of the Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations in the Private Sector (UAE Labour Law), employment contracts can be terminated under the following circumstances:

Contract Expiry: When the contract term expires and is not renewed.

Mutual Agreement: When both parties agree in writing to terminate the contract.

Unilateral Termination: Either party can terminate the contract, provided they observe the legal provisions and notice period.

Employer’s Death: If the employer's death directly impacts the employment contract.

Employee’s Death or Disability: If the employee dies or becomes permanently unable to work, as certified by a medical authority.

Legal Penalty: If the employee receives a final court judgment with a freedom-restricting penalty of at least three months.

Closure of Business: If the establishment is permanently closed in line with UAE legislation.

Bankruptcy or Insolvency: If the employer becomes bankrupt, insolvent, or encounters exceptional circumstances that prevent business continuation.

Work Permit Issues: If the employee fails to renew their work permit for reasons beyond the employer’s control.

Notice Period for Termination

Article 43 stipulates that either party can terminate the contract for any legitimate reason with a written notice. The notice period ranges from 30 days to 90 days, depending on the agreement. During this period:

Work Continuation: The employee must continue to work as per the contract.

Wage Entitlement: The employee is entitled to full wages during the notice period.

Compensation for Missing Notice: If a party fails to serve the notice period, they must compensate the other party with an allowance equivalent to the wage for the notice period.

Job Search Leave: If the employer terminates the contract, the employee is entitled to one unpaid leave day per week to search for a new job.

The notice period can be reduced or waived if both parties agree without infringing on their rights.

Termination Without Notice by the Employer

Article 44 allows employers to terminate an employee without notice under specific conditions, such as:

False Identity or Forged Documents: If the employee adopts a false identity or submits forged documents.

Material Loss or Damage: If the employee causes significant material loss or deliberately damages the employer’s property, the employer reports this to MoHRE within seven working days.

Safety Violations: If the employee violates workplace safety instructions.

Persistent Non-performance: If the employee fails to perform essential duties despite two warnings.

Confidentiality Breach: If the employee divulges company secrets, causing losses or missed opportunities for the employer.

Intoxication or Immoral Conduct: If the employee is found drunk, under the influence of drugs, or commits immoral acts at work.

Assault: If the employee assaults the employer, manager, or colleagues.

Excessive Absenteeism: If the employee is absent without a lawful excuse for over 20 intermittent days or more than seven consecutive days in a year.

Illegal Position Exploitation: If the employee exploits their position for personal gain.

Unauthorised Employment: If the employee joins another establishment without following the proper procedures.
The employer must conduct a written investigation before terminating the employee without notice, and the dismissal notice must be justified and in writing.

Termination Without Notice by the Employee

Article 45 allows employees to terminate the contract without notice if the employer:

Breaches Contractual Obligations: Fails to meet contractual or legal obligations, and does not rectify the breach within 14 working days after notification by MoHRE.

Harassment or Assault: Assaults or harasses the employee, and the employee reports it to the authorities within five working days.

Fundamental Work Change: Instructs the employee to perform fundamentally different work without written consent, except in cases of absolute necessity.

Workplace Danger: Fails to remove grave dangers threatening the employee’s safety or health, despite being aware of it.

Arbitrary Dismissal

Article 47 defines arbitrary dismissal as termination due to the employee filing a legitimate complaint with MoHRE or a lawsuit against the employer. If proven, the court will order the employer to compensate the employee up to three months' wages and any unpaid dues such as gratuity and notice period compensation.

Changing Jobs or Working for Another Employer

Article 27 of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 permits employees to work for another employer and obtain a new work permit after contract termination if:

* The previous contract term ends without renewal.

* The contract is terminated under Articles 42 and 45.

* The employer terminates the contract without giving a reason.

After termination or contract expiry, employees have a grace period to obtain a new work permit and residency or leave the country. Illegal residents face fines or deportation.

For more information on grace periods, work permits, and residency, refer to MoHRE and the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Ports Security (ICP).

Article 8 of Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022 states that an employee may be barred from obtaining a work permit for one year if they terminate the contract during the probation period without the employer breaching contractual obligations, or if a 'work abandonment' report against them is found to be true.

For detailed procedures and assistance, consult the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

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How to Recover Money from a Client After Facing Repeated Cheque Bounces in the UAE

When dealing with bounced cheques in the UAE, it's important to understand the legal remedies available to recover your money.

If a cheque issued by a client bounces due to insufficient funds, here are the steps you can take to reclaim your funds.

Legal Framework for Execution Cases

According to Article 212 of Federal Decree-Law No. 42 of 2022 on the Civil Procedures Law, you can file an execution case, also known as a 'Writ of Execution,' against the drawer. This law outlines several key points:

Compulsory Enforcement: Can only be carried out under a writ of execution for a verified, urgent, and specified right.

Writ of Execution Types
:

* Judgments and orders, including penal judgments with refunds, compensation, fines, and other civil rights.

* Authenticated documents.

* Court-ratified conciliation minutes.

* Other documents granted such capacity by the law.

* Execution Process: The execution may only take place under a stamped copy of the writ of execution.

* File Closure: If no action is taken for over a year, the execution judge may order the temporary closure of the file.

* Validity Period: Writs of execution are valid for 15 years from the last executory transaction or issuance without enforcement.

Filing Execution Proceedings

Suppose you obtain an execution order in your favour. In that case, you can file execution proceedings as per Article 667 of Federal Decree-Law No. 50 of 2022 on the Commercial Transactions Law and Articles 233-238 of the UAE Civil Procedures Law.

The relevant court will notify the drawer, including details such as the cheque amount, court fees, legal costs, and other fees.

The drawer may propose to deposit part or the whole execution amount to the court’s treasury in favour of the drawee as per Article 235. If the drawer fails to pay within seven days of notification, the court may issue an arrest warrant and impose a travel ban for amounts exceeding Dh10,000.

Additional Provisions for Dishonoured Cheques

Articles 663-667 of the UAE Commercial Transactions Law outline the recourse available for dishonoured cheques, allowing the bearer to seek compensation from the drawer and endorsers. This requires presenting the cheque within the legal timeframe and proving dishonour through a protest or a statement by the drawee.

Alternative Legal Actions

For a swift resolution, you might also consider filing a commercial case before a competent court in the UAE. Start by serving a legal notice to your client. If the client fails to settle the cheque amount, you can proceed with the case, including a copy of the dishonoured cheque and other documentary evidence.

By following these legal steps, you can efficiently address the issue of bounced cheques and recover the money owed to you.

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256 Realty Brokers Penalised for Breaching Advertisement Regulations This Year

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) announced on Wednesday that it has fined 256 property brokers for failing to comply with the regulations and terms and conditions of advertisements during the first half of 2024.

In a statement issued by the regulator, it was revealed that over 1,200 legal warnings were also issued for non-compliance with the laws. During the first half of 2024, DLD inspectors carried out 450 field inspections and 1,530 inspections of related advertisements.

"These operations are part of the regular monitoring conducted by the Real Estate Control Department to enhance market transparency and integrity and protect the rights of investors and customers," said Ali Abdullah Al Ali, Director of the Real Estate Control Department at the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) in the Dubai Land Department.

The regulator's goal is to guide broker compliance with the terms and conditions for advertisements, specifically ensuring the presence of a QR code that meets approved specifications, is readable when scanned, and that the advertisement data matches the code authorisation.

"We continuously work on developing monitoring and inspection mechanisms so that all parties comply with the regulations governing the real estate sector in the emirate.

We urge all real estate brokers and companies to fully adhere to the instructions and directives issued by DLD to maintain the market’s sustainability and development. We also call on the public not to engage with any property advertisements not approved by DLD," said Al Ali.

The regulator will soon deploy artificial intelligence technologies for advertisement monitoring, which will significantly enhance the governance of the control process and reduce related violations.

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Abu Dhabi Global Market Announces 50% Fee Reduction for Certain Retail Licences

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has announced reductions of 50 per cent or more for obtaining non-financial and retail licences within its jurisdiction.

The revised licensing fee schedule will take effect from January 1, 2025 and is part of the transitional arrangements for businesses on Al Reem Island.

The international financial centre of the UAE’s capital, ADGM’s jurisdiction encompasses both Al Maryah and Al Reem Island. Under the revised structure, new registrations within the non-financial business category will see fees reduced from $10,000 to $5,000.

The annual licence renewal fees for the same category will decrease from $8,000 to $5,000. Fees for the retail category have also been significantly reduced, with new registration fees cut from $6,000 to $2,000.

Licence renewals for the retail category will also see a 50 per cent reduction, bringing the fee down to $2,000.

The effective date for the revised licensing fees has been set as January 1 next year, as the current ones expire on 31 December.

Qualifying non-financial and retail businesses located on Al Reem Island were previously exempted from paying any fees for obtaining ADGM commercial licences until 31 October 2024.

Fee revisions for other categories include changes in the structure within the financial category, which now increases from $15,000 to $20,000.

Renewals will increase from $13,000 to $15,000. For tech and fintech start-ups, the fees have changed from $1,000 to $1,500 for both new and existing licence renewals.

The fees for the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) category remain unchanged at $1,900.
According to the ADGM, the revised fees came after a “series of consultations” conducted in 2023 with a focus group of Al Reem Island businesses.

Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, the CEO of ADGM’s Registration Authority (RA), said: “We assessed the financial impact on different business categories and previously implemented a fee waiver for qualifying non-financial and retail businesses on Al Reem Island.

Building on these efforts, we have now revised our fee structure to include significant reductions for the same categories starting next year. Our aim is to minimise potential disruptions for businesses transitioning to an ADGM licence, enabling them to operate efficiently within our jurisdiction.”

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Leasing Property in Dubai: Understanding Rent Rates, Ejari System, and Eviction Notices

Dubai's property market is continuously expanding, making it a popular choice for expats. For those unable to purchase property, leasing remains a viable option.

Understanding the emirate's rental laws and processes is essential for landlords and tenants, with the Ejari system by RERA as a critical resource.

Understanding Ejari and the Law

Ejari, administered by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), is a mandatory registration system for all rental agreements in Dubai.

It ensures that both landlords and tenants adhere to the 'Law Regulating Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai' (Law No. 26 of 2007).

This law encompasses all aspects of rental contracts, excluding hotel accommodations and company-provided employee housing.

Required Documents for Leasing

Before securing a lease, tenants must gather and keep the following documents up to date:

* Passport copy

* Residence visa copy

* Emirates ID copy

* Cheque for 5 per cent of the total annual rent

To Finalise a Tenancy Contract, the Following Additional Documents are Required:

* Proof of paying the security deposit

* Specified rental contract term

Registering with Ejari requires:

* Original contract document

* Emirates ID copy

* Proof of security deposit payment and cheques

* Passport copies of both landlord and tenant

* Landlord’s ownership certificate

* Residence visa copy

* Unit’s DEWA number

For DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) Registration, Tenants Need:

* DEWA premises number

* Ejari number

* Passport copies of landlord and tenant

* DEWA form

* Security deposit payment

Key Considerations

* Ensure the real estate agent is RERA registered via the DubaiRest app.

* Only hand over payments upon receiving a detailed receipt.

* Know that agency commission is typically 5 Per cent + VAT, and security deposits are 5 per cent for unfurnished units and 10 per cent for furnished ones.

* Request a handover report and take photos to document the unit’s condition at the time of handover.

Rent Rates and Payments

Tenants can pay rent in one or multiple installments. Agents may charge up to 5 per cent commission of the total rent. According to RERA, landlords can increase rent by 5 per cent if the current rate is 11-20 per cent below the average market rate and may also increase it upon lease renewal.

Tenants must pay rent by the agreed date, or in four advance annual installments if no specific date is set. Additionally, housing fees amounting to 5 per cent of the annual rent are paid to the Dubai Municipality and included in monthly utility bills.

Eviction Guidelines

* Landlords may evict tenants for several reasons, including:

* Failure to pay rent within 30 days of the notice period.

* Misuse of the property.

* Required property renovations (with Dubai Municipality approval).

* Illegal activities or property damage.

Disputes between landlords and tenants are resolved through the Rental Dispute Centre at the Dubai Land Department.

 For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Exploring Legal Framework of Suicide Attempts and Assault in the UAE: A Detailed Analysis

In a recent high-profile case, Dubai authorities decided to drop charges of attempted suicide against Tori Towey, an Irish national.

The case also involved mutual assault charges between Tori and her South African husband, which were later withdrawn following the couple's reconciliation.

The Dubai Public Prosecution opted to drop the attempted suicide charges against Tori, taking into account the circumstances and aiming to support her return to normal life. Similarly, the mutual assault charges were withdrawn after the couple reached a compromise.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Irish premier Simon Harris intervened, with the Irish government providing consular assistance to Tori throughout the proceedings.

Legal Perspective: UAE Laws on Suicide and Assault

Suicide and attempted suicide were previously criminalised under UAE law, carrying severe penalties. However, the UAE has since implemented reforms to decriminalise suicide attempts.

Despite these changes, individuals who attempt suicide can still potentially face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to Dh5,000. Courts retain the discretion to mandate treatment at a medical facility instead of incarceration.

Article 335 of the UAE Penal Code outlines penalties for attempted suicide, including imprisonment or fines. Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021, an updated penal code, reaffirms these penalties while stressing judicial flexibility in directing individuals towards treatment facilities.

Assault Charges

The UAE law addresses assault charges strictly, with penalties depending on the severity and circumstances of the case. In Tori Towey's case, mutual complaints were filed, but reconciliation led to the withdrawal of charges.

Legal Process and Authorities' Role

The Dubai Public Prosecution is the central authority in such cases, ensuring legal processes are followed and justice is served. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) provides guidance and oversight in labour-related disputes, including those involving expatriates.

Support Systems for Mental Health in the UAE

  • 999: The UAE's emergency police hotline.
  • Mental Health Support Line (800 HOPE): A toll-free hotline launched to support mental health and well-being, particularly during COVID-19, staffed by trained professionals.
  • MOHAP's Psychological Counselling Line: Provides phone and WhatsApp support, operated by Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital psychologists.
  • Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK): A support centre for Indian expatriates offering psychological support and counselling.

The case of Tori Towey underscores the importance of understanding the legal intricacies in the UAE, especially concerning suicide and assault.

While the country has made strides in decriminalising certain acts, the legal framework still poses significant challenges for individuals. The support from the Irish government and advocacy groups like Detained in Dubai played a crucial role in resolving this case.

As the UAE continues to modernise its laws, awareness and support systems remain vital for expatriates navigating these legal landscapes.

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Saudi Inspections Reveal 20,093 Violations of Residency, Labour and Border Security Laws

The Ministry of Interior conducted inspection campaigns in the Kingdom between 4th July and 10th July 2024 to ensure compliance with residency, labour, and border security regulations.

Across Saudi Arabia, 20,093 violations were recorded: 12,460 of residency, 5,400 of border security and 2,233 of labour laws.
Some 1,737 individuals attempted to cross the border into the Kingdom illegally, of whom 42 per cent were Yemenis, 57 per cent Ethiopians, and 1 per cent from other nationalities.

Forty-nine people were arrested for attempting to leave the Kingdom illegally. Sixteen people involved in transporting, sheltering and employing violators were arrested.

A total of 19,841 expatriates (18,209 men and 1,632 women) are currently undergoing procedures to enforce regulations.
9,438 people were detained for violating laws and instructed to contact their countries’ embassies or consulates to obtain proper travel documentation. 3,833 were instructed to arrange their departure, and 11,655 were repatriated.

The Ministry of Interior has warned that any person who facilitates the illegal entry of individuals into the Kingdom, transports them within its territory, provides them shelter, or any other assistance or service may be penalised with up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to SR1 million, and that the vehicles used for transport or houses used for shelter may be impounded.

The ministry stressed that such acts are major crimes that warrant arrest. It also urges people to report any violations by calling 911 in the Makkah, Riyadh, and Eastern regions and 999 and 996 in the rest of the Kingdom.

 For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Judge Dismisses Trump's Criminal Case Over Unlawful Appointment of Special Counsel

A Florida judge appointed by Donald Trump has dismissed the criminal case against him on charges of mishandling top-secret documents, in a stunning victory for the former president who immediately called for an end to his other pending cases.

The staggering decision effectively removes a major legal threat for Trump, who faces multiple criminal cases as he tries to regain the White House from US President Joe Biden.

It will add to his seemingly unstoppable momentum on the first day of the Republican National Convention, where he is set to become the party's official nominee for president just days after surviving an assassination attempt.

In her ruling, Federal Judge Aileen Cannon said that Special Counsel Jack Smith was unlawfully appointed and that the case should therefore be dismissed.

Smith was appointed as special counsel in 2022 by Biden-appointee Attorney General Merrick Garland. He was tasked with overseeing the investigations into Trump's handling of classified documents after he left office, as well as his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

The Trump-appointed judge made her ruling after lawyers for the 78-year-old argued for a partial stay of proceedings to allow for an assessment of a new Supreme Court ruling that a former president has broad immunity from prosecution.

"Former President Trump's Motion to Dismiss Indictment Based on the Unlawful Appointment and Funding of Special Counsel Jack Smith is granted," Cannon wrote in her order.

In a 93-page opinion, Cannon said Smith's appointment and funding usurped the role of Congress, echoing a recent opinion put forward by Clarence Thomas, one of the conservatives who dominate the Supreme Court.

"The Court is convinced that Special Counsel Smith's prosecution of this action breaches two structural cornerstones of our constitutional scheme -- the role of Congress in the appointment of constitutional officers, and the role of Congress in authorising expenditures by law," she concluded. "The clerk is directed to close this case," the judge wrote.

Cannon did not make a ruling on the merits of the case. But the fact she came to a decision after being accused by critics of slow-walking the case, opens the door for prosecutors to appeal and potentially have it re-heard by another judge.

The decision followed Trump's momentous win earlier this month at the Supreme Court that gives former presidents broad immunity for their official acts while in office.

This decision has helped Trump in his quest to delay the trials he faces until after the November election.
These include charges in Washington and Georgia related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

"This dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts," Trump said on his Truth Social platform.

In the Florida case, Trump was facing 31 counts of "wilful retention of national defence information," each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He also faced charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements. Trump allegedly kept classified documents which included records from the Pentagon and CIA -- unsecured at his Mar-a-Lago home and thwarted efforts to retrieve them. The material included secret nuclear and defence documents, according to prosecutors.

Republicans contended the prosecution was unfair and selective, after a federal prosecutor in February opted not to pursue charges against Biden, who kept some classified material at his home after leaving the vice presidency in 2017."

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Entry of Foreign Lawyers Will Benefit Indian Legal Community: BCI Tells Delhi High Court

Defending its decision to permit the entry of foreign law firms and lawyers into India, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has informed the Delhi High Court that this move will also benefit Indian lawyers.

In a detailed affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court, the BCI stated: "The proficiency standards of Indian lawyers are comparable with international standards, and the legal fraternity in India is unlikely to suffer any disadvantages if legal practice in India is opened up to foreign lawyers in a restricted, well-controlled, and regulated manner on the principle of reciprocity.

This would be mutually beneficial for lawyers from both India and abroad, and the impugned Rules are a step by the Bar Council of India in this direction."

The BCI further mentioned its intention to hold consultations with stakeholders to address concerns raised by Indian lawyers and law firms regarding the Bar Council of India Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022.

"The Bar Council of India is currently in the process of making necessary amendments to these Rules and Regulations to ensure reciprocity in both letter and spirit... These amendments aim to foster greater collaboration between foreign and Indian lawyers, contributing to a more inclusive and integrated legal system in India," the statement said.

Among the provisions being amended are those concerning reciprocity and the "fly-in, fly-out" model, which allows foreign lawyers to operate in India for a maximum of 60 days within any 12-month period.

"The 'fly-in and fly-out' entry will also be regulated. The Bar Council of India intends to implement these changes in accordance with observations from the apex court. The Bar Council recognises the necessity of specific amendments to current Rules and Regulations to ensure that the principle of reciprocity is upheld in both wording and intent," the statement added.

Pending stakeholder consultations, the BCI has assured a temporary halt to the process. The affidavit also highlights that these Rules will help position India as a hub for international commercial arbitration.

"If we delay action, India's legal community risks falling behind in providing legal and professional expertise in line with the rule of law, aligned with the best interests of our rapidly growing client base in India," the affidavit emphasised.

The BCI's response follows a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a group of lawyers challenging the BCI's March 10, 2023 notification allowing foreign lawyers to register and practice law in non-litigious matters in India.

The plea against the entry of foreign law firms is scheduled for hearing before the Delhi High Court on July 16. In its reply, the BCI argued that the petitioners misinterpreted the Supreme Court's judgment in Bar Council of India vs AK Balaji & Ors and the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, which empower the BCI to frame rules and regulations for the practice of law in India.

On June 28, 2024, Bar & Bench reported exclusively that the BCI is likely to notify and implement amended regulations governing the entry of foreign lawyers and law firms by the end of July. It was reported that initially, the Indian legal market will be opened to lawyers and law firms from the United Kingdom (UK) only.

This announcement came shortly after a meeting between the BCI, the Law Society and the Bar Council of England and Wales at the Law Society's Hall in London.

Following this report, Lalit Bhasin, President of the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF), wrote to BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra requesting a discussion on the amended rules before their notification. 

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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GPSSA Explains Retirement Pension Calculation Process Under New Federal Law

It is important that new Emirati employees who have registered with the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) for the first time starting October 31, 2023 are aware of the mechanisms by which their contribution account salaries are calculated.

This calculation serves as the foundation for determining contributions and due amounts, as per the new Federal Law No. (57) of 2023. Newly insured members under the new law receive 2.67 perc ent of the pension rate for each year of their contribution period for up to 30 years.

When the insured exceed 30 years of contributions, that rate increases by 4 per cent each year, making them eligible to receive 100 per cent of the pension amount once the employment period reaches a maximum of 35 years.

Insured Emiratis should be aware of the rules, provisions and terminologies governing the pension law to be able to calculate their own retirement pension.

For this purpose, the GPSSA launched the ‘Know Your Law’ awareness campaign at the beginning of the year following the introduction of the 2023 federal pension and social security law, with the intent of helping insured employees understand how they can calculate their pension amount.

The contribution account salary is the first and most important process by which contributions are calculated and insurance benefits are paid. Additionally, the contribution account salary determines the required amount to be deducted from the insured’s monthly salary.

Simply put, the contribution account salary serves as an introduction to enhancing one’s insurance and pension awareness in general.

The GPSSA explains how the contribution account salary is calculated for insured Emiratis, as it is the initial step when calculating the retirement pension.

For Emiratis working in the government sector, the contribution salary is based on the insured’s basic monthly salary, cost of living allowance, social allowance for children, social allowance for the citizen, as well as housing allowance, provided that it does not exceed the contribution account salary, with a maximum amount of Dh100,000.

For Emiratis working in the private sector, the contribution account salary is based on the salary determined by the employment contract, provided that the contribution account salary is not less than Dh3,000 and does not exceed Dh70,000.

The contribution account salary for insured Emiratis who work in any regional or international missions, or as foreign politicians working in the UAE, is calculated based on the basic salary specified in the employment contract, in addition to benefits, bonuses, or allowances granted during the employment duration in accordance with the contribution account salary determined in the private sector.

This is the second most important term to understand, as it includes calculating the retirement pension for employees working in both the government and private sectors, as well as those employed in diplomatic and political missions for the last six years of the contribution period, or the entire contribution period if it is less than that.

The value of the average contribution account salary is calculated by multiplying the contribution account salary for each of the last six employment years by 12 months. The amount is then compiled and divided by 72 months.

The pension calculation salary is the total amount given to insured Emiratis once they are ready to retire and receive their pension. The entitled percentage is calculated based on the number of years the insured has spent working.

As mentioned at the beginning of this document, pension is calculated at the rate of 2.67 per cent of the pension calculation salary for each year within a contribution period of 30 years.

This percentage increases by 4 per cent for every year exceeding this period, until the employment period reaches 35 years, during which the insured is eligible to receive the entire pension amount.

It is important to note that the method and provisions for calculating pensions differ for ministers, the council of ministers and representatives, in addition to the difference in the maximum salary when calculating contributions. Article (20) of Federal Decree-Law No. 57 of 2023 clarifies these provisions.

 For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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How Are Crimes Classified Under UAE Law And What Penalties Do They Entail?

Federal Law by Decree No. (31) of 2021: Crimes and Penalties Law governs the United Arab Emirates' criminal justice system, ensuring adherence to Islamic Sharia for crimes such as retribution (Qisas) and blood money (Diya), while other offences and penalties are defined by this law and existing penal codes.

It upholds the fundamental principle that no individual can be convicted for a crime committed by another, emphasising the presumption of innocence until proven guilty under the law.

The law applies to crimes outlined in other penal laws, unless exceptions are specified and defines a "public servant" broadly to include officials across federal and local governments, encompassing roles in legislative, executive, administrative and judicial capacities.

This includes individuals appointed or elected, spanning ministries, Armed Forces, security agencies, judicial bodies, legislative and municipal councils, public entities, corporations and associations partially or wholly owned by the government.

The law clarifies that even temporary or voluntary roles related to public service fall under its provisions, ensuring accountability regardless of employment terms.

Public funds under this law include those owned by federal or local authorities, entities, corporations, or associations with government ownership, ensuring transparency and accountability in financial management.

It further stipulates that regardless of termination of employment, provisions of this law apply to crimes committed during the tenure of public service.

Regarding temporal application, crimes are punished according to the law in force at the time of the act, irrespective of when consequences materialise. Spatially, the law asserts jurisdiction over crimes committed within the UAE's territory, including territorial waters and airspace.

It also addresses crimes committed abroad by UAE citizens or affecting national security, ensuring prosecution upon return to the UAE.

Material elements of a crime include consummated crimes and attempts, with attempts punishable based on the severity of the intended crime. Moral elements involve intention or error, holding perpetrators accountable for actions based on their intent or negligence, regardless of motive.

Criminal complicity provisions detail direct and indirect involvement in crimes, ensuring all accomplices face appropriate penalties based on their role and knowledge.

Crimes Categorised under Federal Law

Under the Federal Law by Decree No. (31) of 2021, crimes in the UAE are categorised into three main types: felonies, misdemeanours and infractions, each carrying distinct penalties based on the severity of the offence.

Felonies

Felonies under UAE law encompass the most serious offences, including crimes punishable by Qisas penalties, death, life imprisonment, or temporary imprisonment.

Qisas penalties involve crimes of retribution where the punishment is directly related to the harm caused to the victim. The death penalty and life imprisonment are self-explanatory, with temporary imprisonment being for a specified period deemed appropriate by the court.

Misdemeanours

Misdemeanours are less serious offences compared to felonies but still warrant substantial penalties. These crimes include acts punishable by imprisonment, fines exceeding Dh10,000, or Diya (blood money).

The amount of Diya for manslaughter is specifically set at Dh200,000 under the law. Misdemeanours cover a wide range of offences that are considered more serious than infractions but less severe than felonies.

Infractions

Infractions are minor offences that do not rise to the level of misdemeanours or felonies but still carry penalties. These include acts punishable by short-term custody (ranging from 24 hours to 10 days) or fines not exceeding Dh10,000.

Infractions typically involve breaches of regulations or minor violations that do not pose significant harm or threat to public safety.

Punishments

Imprisonment: This can range from temporary imprisonment for a specific period to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime.

Fines: Monetary penalties are imposed based on the offence committed, with specific amounts outlined in the law.

Diya (Blood Money): Specifically applicable in cases of manslaughter, where compensation is paid to the victim's family as per Islamic legal principles.

These categorisations and punishments ensure that the UAE legal system maintains order, protects societal interests, and upholds justice by proportionally addressing the seriousness of each offence.

The law aims to provide clear guidelines for legal practitioners, ensuring consistency and fairness in the application of justice across all levels of the judicial system.

Types of Crimes Punishable under UAE Law

Drug Offences

Drug offences in the UAE are strictly governed by a zero-tolerance policy. The possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs, including recreational and prescription substances obtained unlawfully, is strictly prohibited. Familiarity with the UAE's list of banned substances is essential to prevent inadvertent breaches.

Possession of illegal drugs constitutes a criminal offence in the UAE, with penalties varying based on the type and quantity involved. For instance, possession of small amounts for personal use can lead to imprisonment for up to two years and fines of up to Dh10,000.

Trafficking in drugs incurs severe penalties, ranging from a minimum of 10 years' imprisonment to life imprisonment or the death penalty for large quantities.

The UAE employs strict regulations, including drug testing upon entry, to enforce its zero-tolerance policy. Notably, the UAE does not differentiate between recreational and medicinal drugs, underscoring the need for proper documentation when carrying prescription medications.

Cybercrimes

As technology advances, cybercrime poses an increasing threat in the UAE. The government has enacted rigorous laws and regulations to combat cyber threats and their legal implications effectively.

Hacking is one of the prevalent cybercrimes in the UAE, defined as unauthorised access to computer systems or personal accounts. The UAE Cybercrime Law of 2012 criminalises hacking, imposing substantial penalties including imprisonment and fines based on the severity of the offence.

Identity theft, another significant cybercrime, involves stealing personal information for fraudulent purposes. Perpetrators of identity theft in the UAE face severe legal consequences, including imprisonment and hefty fines.

Phishing, a form of cybercrime involving deceptive emails or websites to obtain sensitive information, is strictly prohibited. Offenders can expect imprisonment and substantial fines under UAE law.

The UAE has also implemented measures against online fraud, targeting fraudulent activities conducted through digital platforms. Legal penalties for online fraud include imprisonment and fines, reflecting the seriousness with which the UAE addresses financial crimes.

Cyberbullying, defined as using digital platforms to harass or intimidate others, is subject to stringent laws in the UAE. Perpetrators of cyberbullying can face imprisonment and fines, underscoring the UAE's commitment to protecting individuals from online harassment.

Moreover, the dissemination of fake news and misinformation online is considered a criminal offence in the UAE. Those found guilty of spreading false information face legal consequences, including imprisonment and fines.

To enforce these laws effectively, the UAE has established specialised units within law enforcement agencies dedicated to combating cybercrime. These units collaborate nationally and internationally to enhance cybersecurity measures and prosecute offenders.

Fraud

Fraud is a serious offence under UAE law, encompassing various deceptive practices that undermine financial integrity and trust. Understanding the legal framework and consequences of fraud in the UAE is essential for residents and visitors to avoid legal repercussions.

The UAE Penal Code defines fraud broadly, including activities such as forgery, embezzlement, bribery, and identity theft. Financial fraud, involving deceptive practices to unlawfully obtain money or assets, is rigorously prosecuted in the UAE.

Penalties for fraud-related offences in the UAE can be severe, including imprisonment, fines and asset confiscation. The severity of penalties depends on the specifics of the case and the amount of financial harm caused.

The UAE authorities are proactive in combating fraud, employing specialised departments such as the Anti-Economic Crimes Department to investigate and prosecute offences effectively. International cooperation further strengthens efforts to combat cross-border financial crimes.

Recent advancements in UAE cybersecurity infrastructure also address online fraud, protecting individuals and businesses from digital financial crimes. Awareness of cybersecurity measures and best practices is crucial for safeguarding personal and financial information in the UAE.

Criminal Liability for Assault and Violence in the UAE

Assault and violence offences in the UAE are rigorously addressed under the UAE Penal Code, highlighting the legal consequences for perpetrators of such acts.

Assault encompasses actions involving force or threats against another person, ranging from physical attacks to verbal intimidation. Penalties for assault vary based on the severity of harm inflicted on the victim.

Minor assaults resulting in minor injuries or threats can lead to misdemeanour charges, with potential fines or short-term imprisonment. However, assaults causing serious injuries or endangering life result in felony charges, carrying longer imprisonment terms.

Violence extends beyond physical harm, encompassing behaviours like stalking, harassment and domestic violence. The UAE recognises these offences with specific legal protections for victims.

In cases of domestic violence, the UAE has implemented specific legislation to address this issue. The UAE Federal Law No. 35 of 2020, known as the “Protection from Domestic Violence Law,” aims to safeguard victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

This law provides victims with the right to obtain protection orders, access to shelters, and legal assistance.
The penalties for violence can vary depending on the severity of the offence. For instance, stalking or harassment can result in imprisonment for up to one year or a fine.

However, if the violence leads to serious injuries or death, the penalties can be much more severe, similar to those for assault.

It is important to note that the UAE law also considers the mental state of the perpetrator when determining criminal liability. If the assault or violence is committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the penalties may be increased. Additionally, if the perpetrator has a history of similar offences, the court may impose harsher punishments.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a grave violation of fundamental human rights, exploiting individuals for purposes such as forced labour, sexual exploitation and organ trafficking. The UAE has instituted stringent laws and a robust legal framework to combat this heinous crime.

The UAE’s commitment is underscored by its ratification of international conventions, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. These agreements provide a comprehensive framework for effectively tackling human trafficking.

Under UAE law, human trafficking is defined under Federal Law No. 51 of 2006 on Combating Human Trafficking and its amendments. The law criminalises the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of individuals through force, coercion, deception, or abuse of power for exploitation.

This law categorises trafficking into various forms, such as forced labour, sexual exploitation and organ trafficking, each with distinct penalties. Trafficking for forced labour is punishable by a minimum of five years imprisonment and a fine of at least 100,000 UAE dirhams, while trafficking for sexual exploitation carries a minimum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh100,000.

The UAE has established specialised courts and dedicated law enforcement units. These bodies are tasked with investigating and prosecuting human trafficking offences, ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Additionally, the UAE provides comprehensive victim support measures, including shelters, counselling services, and legal aid.

The UAE also extends its anti-trafficking efforts globally, cooperating with international organisations and other nations through bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding to enhance collaboration in areas such as information sharing, capacity building, and victim assistance.

White-Collar Crimes and Corporate Fraud

White-collar crimes and corporate fraud pose serious threats to individuals and businesses in the UAE. The UAE has stringent laws to address these offences, ensuring justice and maintaining economic stability. This article delves into the various white-collar crimes and corporate fraud offences recognised under UAE law.

Embezzlement is a prevalent white-collar crime in the UAE, involving the misappropriation of entrusted funds or property for personal gain. The UAE Penal Code addresses embezzlement with strict penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines.

Bribery, involving the exchange of value to influence decisions, is also a serious offence, with stringent anti-bribery laws to ensure transparency and fairness in business dealings.

Fraud, encompassing deception for personal gain through false representation or manipulation of information, is rigorously penalised under UAE law. This includes identity theft, credit card fraud, and insurance fraud, all subject to severe penalties.

The UAE Penal Code specifically outlines various forms of fraud, ensuring that perpetrators face significant punishment.

Corporate fraud targets businesses through activities like accounting fraud, insider trading, and money laundering, undermining investor confidence and economic stability. The UAE has established comprehensive regulations and laws to combat corporate fraud, protect businesses, and maintain economic integrity.

Specialised agencies in the UAE are dedicated to investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and corporate fraud, collaborating with law enforcement and other entities to ensure justice. The UAE’s proactive approach to prevention, detection, and prosecution underscores its commitment to combating these crimes.

Criminal Procedure and Rights of Defendants in the UAE

The UAE has a comprehensive legal system that safeguards the rights of defendants in criminal cases, governed by Federal Law No. 35 of 1992, also known as the UAE Penal Code. This law outlines crimes, punishments, and defendants' rights throughout the legal process.

A fundamental principle in the UAE legal system is the presumption of innocence, enshrined in Article 38 of the UAE Constitution, stating that the accused is innocent until proven guilty with all necessary defence guarantees. Defendants have the right to legal representation, ensuring fair trials and protection of their rights.

They are informed of the charges against them, with detailed explanations of allegations and evidence, enabling effective defence preparation.

Defendants can present evidence and witnesses, challenging the prosecution’s case and supporting their innocence, ensuring a fair trial. They also have the right to remain silent, protected from self-incrimination, ensuring they are not forced to confess or provide evidence against themselves.

UAE law mandates a speedy trial, ensuring timely resolution of cases, preventing unnecessary delays, and allowing defendants to move forward with their lives or face justice.

Defendants are protected from torture or cruel treatment, aligning with international human rights standards. This prohibition ensures defendants are treated with dignity and respect.

In conclusion, these categorisations and punishments ensure that the UAE legal system maintains order, protects societal interests, and upholds justice by proportionally addressing the seriousness of each offence.

The law aims to provide clear guidelines for legal practitioners, ensuring consistency and fairness in the application of justice across all levels of the judicial system.

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Husband Cannot Evade Maintenance by Simply Pronouncing Talaq Thrice: J&K HC

Merely pronouncing "Talaak" or "Talaq" (a form of divorce) three times is insufficient to terminate a Muslim marriage or to avoid responsibilities such as the duty to maintain one's wife, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently ruled.

Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul noted that for a Talaq pronouncement to be valid, several accompanying actions must be undertaken, including pronouncing Talaq at specific intervals, having witnesses present, and making efforts towards reconciliation.

"It is not sufficient for divorce (Talaak) to be validly pronounced in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must possess justice, as their role is to ensure that prompted by their sense of justice, they may request and persuade the spouses on the verge of separation to calm down, resolve their disputes and lead a peaceful marital life," the Court stated.

In this context, reference was made to the High Court's 2012 ruling in Mohammad Naseem Bhat vs Bilquees Akhter and another.

Justice Koul added that a husband seeking to evade maintenance obligations by claiming divorce must not only prove that he pronounced Talaq or executed a divorce deed but also establish the following elements:

* Efforts were made by representatives of both spouses to resolve the marital dispute, which proved unsuccessful.

* There was a valid reason and genuine case for divorce.

* Talaq was pronounced in the presence of two witnesses possessing justice.

* Talaq was pronounced during a period of "tuhr" (between two menstrual cycles) without engaging in sexual intercourse with the divorcée during this time.

"Only after the husband pleads and proves all of the above elements can Talaq operate and dissolve the marriage between the parties, allowing the husband to avoid obligations under the marriage contract, including maintaining his wife.

In all such cases, the Court will scrutinise the husband's case closely and demand strict proof," the Court stated in its order dated July 4.

The High Court heard a case where the estranged wife initially obtained an ex-parte maintenance order in 2009, which the husband later contested. The dispute eventually reached the High Court, which remitted the matter back to a trial court in 2013.

In February 2018, the trial court ruled in favour of the husband, determining that the parties were no longer married. However, an additional sessions court overturned this decision and ordered the man to pay monthly maintenance of ₹3,000 to his wife.

The husband (petitioner) challenged this decision before the High Court in 2018. During submissions before the High Court, the petitioner clarified that he did not pronounce instant triple talaq, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the Shayara Bano case.

He also submitted a Talaknama (divorce deed) to his wife. However, the Court found these arguments unconvincing.
"The petitioner has submitted a copy of the Talaknama... the penultimate paragraph thereof reveals that the petitioner has made three pronouncements of Talak to put an end to the marriage and declare that he has divorced her.

According to the petitioner, he conveyed the Talaknama to the respondent (wife). It should be noted that such practices are deprecated in law," the Court remarked.

Consequently, the Court upheld the decision to award maintenance, as the facts and evidence on record did not demonstrate that proper reconciliation efforts had been made by the husband to resolve the marital discord.
Therefore, it affirmed the revision court's judgment and dismissed the appeal.

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Married Policeman's Cohabitation Amounts to Violation of Service Rules: Jharkhand High Court

The Jharkhand High Court recently upheld the dismissal of a police constable who was married but found to have been in a cohabiting relationship with another woman.

Dr Justice SN Pathak said although the police official was acquitted in the rape case lodged by his cohabiting partner, it cannot be a ground for quashing his dismissal from service.

“It is unbecoming of a police officer to have been in a cohabiting relationship with a woman other than his wife, and it amounts to a violation of rules governing the service conditions of the petitioner,” the Court said.

After the police official’s cohabiting partner lodged a rape case against him, he was suspended in June 2018, and regular departmental proceedings were initiated. Though the official denied the charge, he was dismissed from service.


Challenging the dismissal, his counsel told the Court that the constable could have been dismissed from service only if there was a charge of bigamy. In this case, the police officer was only in a cohabiting relationship, his counsel added.

The relevant provision of the Jharkhand Service Code pertaining to the constable's case concerns the solemnisation of a second marriage. Therefore, the counsel contended that the constable's dismissal should be set aside.

However, the State argued that the constable was found to be in an “illicit relationship” despite being already married. This was a violation of the Jharkhand Service Code and Jharkhand Police Manual, according to the State.

The Court noted that it was admitted that the police official was having an “illicit relationship” with a woman other than his wife.

“The petitioner himself admits that he was in a cohabiting relationship with xxx. The petitioner’s admission that he was cohabiting with xxx, who was a woman other than his wife, provides sufficient reason for termination/dismissal under Rule 23 of the Service Code read with Rule 707 of the Jharkhand Police Manual,” it said.

The Court thus refused to interfere with the penalty order passed against the constable (petitioner).

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Three Men Sentenced for Dh800,000 Gold Theft, Facing Prison and Deportation

Three men have been sentenced to prison for stealing gold worth more than Dh800,000 from a Dubai jewellery company.

Dubai public prosecutors charged two Egyptian nationals, aged 47 and 41, and an Indian national, aged 35, for crimes committed on September 28, 2023 in Dubai’s Naif area.

The Dubai Criminal Court heard that the first and second defendants embezzled Dh824,604.17 from the jewellery company where they worked. They abused their positions by setting up a secret goldsmith workshop and hiring 10 workers under the company’s name without its knowledge.

They paid these workers' salaries from the company's accounts, created fake agreements and significantly inflated their own salaries. The third defendant, who is still at large, received Dh236,823, knowing it was obtained through the crimes committed by the first two defendants.

The court found that the first two defendants used their positions within the company to conduct unauthorised activities.

The first defendant, a 35-year-old Indian national, established the clandestine goldsmith workshop without the company's consent and employed workers under the company's name, paying their salaries from the company's funds.

He also brokered agreements to loan workers to another jewellery company, altered employment contracts and increased his own monthly salary from Dh10,000 to Dh50,000.

The second defendant, a 47-year-old Egyptian national, facilitated the employment of his 41-year-old brother, the third defendant, at the company. He arranged for his brother's salary to be Dh3,500 but deposited an additional Dh25,000 monthly into his account under the guise of wage protection.

The third defendant later fled the country after taking out a loan of over Dh1.5 million. A representative of one of the jewellery company's partners testified that the offence came to light in May 2023 after workers reported suspicious activities, such as purchasing gold at inflated prices.

Upon investigation, the representative discovered the unauthorised goldsmith workshop and reported the issue to his partner, uncovering further fraudulent activities.

A forensic accounting report confirmed the embezzlement and fraudulent activities.
The first and second defendants were found guilty and sentenced to three months in prison. They were jointly fined Dh824,604.17 and will be deported after serving their sentences.

The third defendant was sentenced in absentia to one month in prison, fined Dh236,823, and will be deported upon his arrest. Videos - 0

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Three Men Sentenced for Dh800,000 Gold Theft, Facing Prison and Deportation

Three men have been sentenced to prison for stealing gold worth more than Dh800,000 from a Dubai jewellery company.

Dubai public prosecutors charged two Egyptian nationals, aged 47 and 41, and an Indian national, aged 35, for crimes committed on September 28, 2023 in Dubai’s Naif area.

The Dubai Criminal Court heard that the first and second defendants embezzled Dh824,604.17 from the jewellery company where they worked. They abused their positions by setting up a secret goldsmith workshop and hiring 10 workers under the company’s name without its knowledge.

They paid these workers' salaries from the company's accounts, created fake agreements and significantly inflated their own salaries. The third defendant, who is still at large, received Dh236,823, knowing it was obtained through the crimes committed by the first two defendants.

The court found that the first two defendants used their positions within the company to conduct unauthorised activities.

The first defendant, a 35-year-old Indian national, established the clandestine goldsmith workshop without the company's consent and employed workers under the company's name, paying their salaries from the company's funds.

He also brokered agreements to loan workers to another jewellery company, altered employment contracts and increased his own monthly salary from Dh10,000 to Dh50,000.

The second defendant, a 47-year-old Egyptian national, facilitated the employment of his 41-year-old brother, the third defendant, at the company. He arranged for his brother's salary to be Dh3,500 but deposited an additional Dh25,000 monthly into his account under the guise of wage protection.

The third defendant later fled the country after taking out a loan of over Dh1.5 million. A representative of one of the jewellery company's partners testified that the offence came to light in May 2023 after workers reported suspicious activities, such as purchasing gold at inflated prices.

Upon investigation, the representative discovered the unauthorised goldsmith workshop and reported the issue to his partner, uncovering further fraudulent activities.

A forensic accounting report confirmed the embezzlement and fraudulent activities.
The first and second defendants were found guilty and sentenced to three months in prison. They were jointly fined Dh824,604.17 and will be deported after serving their sentences.

The third defendant was sentenced in absentia to one month in prison, fined Dh236,823, and will be deported upon his arrest. Videos - 0

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Writing Negative Review on Google/Social Media Could Lead to Legal Consequences

In the UAE, expressing candid critiques or negative reviews online can lead to legal battles and hefty fines, as businesses become increasingly vigilant in safeguarding their reputations.

Last year, for example, a woman in Dubai was found guilty of defamation for an Instagram post that "damaged a hospital's reputation".

She had posted a video clip calling it the "worst hospital" and alleging that the doctors were incompetent. A case was filed under the cybercrime law, and she was fined and instructed to delete the video.

Similarly, in May 2020, the Public Prosecution convicted a woman for defamatory remarks about a medical centre on Google and Instagram.

She criticised the centre for providing "the worst service you can imagine" and alleged that positive reviews on its social media platforms were fake.

The court fined her Dh5,000, confiscated her phone, and closed all her social media accounts. On appeal, the court upheld the charge, deeming the phrases used a crime of defamation.

Digital Libel

In the age of social media, feedback has a much broader reach than traditional word of mouth, presenting new challenges. Reviews are no longer private, and the risk of reputational damage by dissatisfied customers is higher.

Digital libel is considered more harmful due to its enduring nature, as it can be archived, made more engaging through real-time interactions like live streams, podcasts and video recordings, shared to a global audience, made viral, posted anonymously and accessed indefinitely.

Can Businesses Sue Someone for Writing a Negative Review?

Yes, if the review is insulting, exaggerated, malicious, misleading, incorrect, or advises others not to patronise the business, the provisions of the penal code and cybercrime law will apply.

A company can file both criminal and civil cases to demand the restoration of its reputation and compensation.
Under Federal Law No 34 of 2021, defamatory statements made online can lead to criminal charges, and civil lawsuits for damages can also be pursued simultaneously.

Constructive criticism or opinions based on genuine experiences generally do not constitute defamation as long as they are not insulting or made with malicious intent. However, even factual statements that lead to reputational damage can be considered defamatory.

A negative review expresses dissatisfaction with a product, service, or business based on the reviewer's honest and factual experience, aiming to provide constructive feedback without making false statements.

In contrast, a defamatory review contains false statements and goes beyond mere opinion or criticism, which can lead to legal consequences.

Defamation Law

Any person who publicly defames another by alleging a fact could face a jail sentence of up to two years or a fine not exceeding Dh20,000.

Under Article 425 of the Penal Code, this offence is considered a criminal act, aiming to protect individuals from accusations or statements that may harm their reputation or subject them to legal consequences.

If defamation is committed through publishing in a newspaper or other publication, it is considered an aggravating circumstance, resulting in more severe punishment. Article 426 deals with public insults that injure another person’s honour or dignity without imputing a specific fact.

Unlike defamation (Article 425), which involves claiming a specific defamatory fact that could result in punishment or contempt, Article 426 focuses on general offensive remarks or name-calling that degrade someone's honour or dignity without making specific allegations.

Under Article 428 of the UAE Penal Code, defamation is not a crime if the perpetrator can prove the incident attributed to the victim, specifically involving public officials or persons assigned to public service.

Thus, simply proving the truth is not sufficient unless it is related to the conduct of a public official in their official capacity.

Cybercrime Law

Under the UAE cybercrime law, the dissemination of false information is strictly prohibited and carries severe penalties.

It targets modern platforms used to spread, publish, republish, circulate or recirculate fake news or data, or false, malicious, misleading, or incorrect reports or rumours that contravene officially announced news.

This law aims to protect public health, public peace and combat the spread of false information and rumours that can have detrimental effects on society and public order. Violators may face imprisonment for at least one year, along with a fine of not less than Dh100,000.

The penalty increases to two years in jail and a minimum fine of Dh200,000 if the crime is committed during pandemics, emergencies, and crises.

Since the law specifically targets false and misleading information, a key defence is demonstrating that the information shared is true and not intended to mislead or provoke, to avoid penalties.

The law also aims to protect individuals from defamation and harmful statements made through digital means. It states that anyone who insults another person or attributes to them an event that may subject them to punishment or contempt by others shall be subject to detention and/or a fine.

The minimum fine is set at Dh250,000, while the maximum fine is Dh500,000.

Consumer Protection Law

If a consumer has a bad experience, they can exercise their rights under Federal Law No 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection.

This law ensures that consumers are protected and entitled to fair treatment, accurate information and compensation for damage caused by defective products or poor services, holding businesses accountable for their actions.

Pursuing compensation under this law is more beneficial than seeking vengeance through reviews, as it provides a legal avenue to address grievances and obtain fair remedies for any harm suffered.

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Understanding Salary Cuts for Domestic Workers in UAE: Legal Framework, Protections

In the UAE, domestic workers are protected under the executive regulations of 2022, ensuring clarity on contract terms, work nature, rest periods, and pay.

This law covers 19 occupations and prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, gender, religion and political opinion, providing a comprehensive framework for fair treatment.

This article breaks down the legal regulations around salary deductions and the protections in place for domestic workers in the UAE.

Salary Deductions: What's Allowed?

Employers can deduct from a worker's pay if the worker causes damage by committing a serious mistake or violating instructions. This deduction can be up to 25 per cent of the repair cost, determined by mutual agreement or the Ministry if there's a dispute.

Unresolved disagreements can be taken to court. Deductions for debt repayment, as ordered by a court, cannot exceed 25 per cent of the worker's wage.

Salary Suspension: When Does It Apply?

A worker detained before a trial won't receive wages during detention. If an employer files a criminal case and the worker isn't tried or is found not guilty, the worker gets paid for the detention period. If convicted, the worker won't be paid for that time.

If someone other than the employer files a case and the worker is convicted, no wages are paid for the detention period. If acquitted, the person who reported the worker must pay the suspended wages unless waived by the worker.

Resolving Disputes

Unresolvable disputes between employers and domestic workers must be referred to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). If the Ministry can't resolve the issue within two weeks, it goes to court with MoHRE's recommendations. Domestic workers’ cases are exempt from court fees at all litigation stages and must be resolved promptly.

Legal Protections for Domestic Workers

Domestic workers are entitled to:

* Wages within 10 days from the due date, as per the contract.

* One paid rest day per week.

* 12 hours of daily rest, including eight consecutive hours.

* 30 days of paid annual leave.

* A round-trip ticket home every two years.

* Up to 30 days of sick leave per year.

* Retention of their identification documents.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers must:

* Provide suitable accommodation, meals, and clothing.

* Ensure timely payment of wages.

* Provide medical care or health insurance.

* Maintain a safe and respectful working environment.

* Compensate for work-related injuries or occupational diseases.

Who Are Domestic Workers?

In the UAE, the following 19 occupations are considered domestic workers:

1. Housemaid/Servant

2. Sailor

3. Guard

4. Shepherd

5. Jockey

6. Tamer

7. Falcon care-taker

8. Worker

9. Housekeeper

10. Cook

11. Nanny/babysitter

12. Farm worker/grower

13. Gardener

14. Personal trainer/coach

15. Private tutor

16. Home nurse

17. Personal assistant

18. Private agricultural engineer

19. Personal/family driver

Avoid Unauthorised Centres

Hiring must be done through approved recruitment agencies to avoid unauthorised centres. Check the complete list of approved domestic worker recruitment centres [Add the link of the article Hiring a Maid in the UAE? Here’s the

Complete List of Approved Domestic Worker Recruitment Centres]

Under Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022, several key provisions outline domestic workers' and employers' rights and obligations. Read more about it at https://thelawreporters.com/are-you-a-domestic-worker-in-uae-know-your-rights-and-obligations-of-employer/

 For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Withheld Evidence: Judge Dismisses Baldwin Manslaughter Charges in 'Rust' Shooting Case

A New Mexico judge dismissed involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin on Friday, agreeing with his lawyers that prosecutors and police withheld evidence on the source of the live round that killed "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021.

Three days after Baldwin's trial began, New Mexico district court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer threw out the case as the actors' lawyers alleged a "cover up" by prosecutors who have been plagued by missteps since first filing charges 18 months ago.

Breaking down in tears, the multiple Emmy-award winning actor hugged his wife Hilaria Baldwin as other family members wept in the public gallery.

Baldwin faced an unprecedented criminal prosecution as an actor for an on-set shooting and his lawyers said prosecutors dragged him through a "cesspool of improprieties." Baldwin and his family left court without speaking to reporters.

"The state's withholding of the evidence was wilful and deliberate," Sommer said in delivering her decision. "Dismissal with prejudice is warranted to ensure the integrity of the judicial system and the efficient administration of justice."

The actor's lawyer Alex Spiro told the court that the Santa Fe sheriff's office took possession of live rounds in March as evidence in the case but failed to list them in the "Rust" investigation file or disclose their existence to defense lawyers.

"The real reason you didn't inventory that evidence is because it could have jeopardized the law enforcement case," Spiro told Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office Corporal Alexandria Hancock, the lead investigator on the "Rust" case, in cross examination on Friday.

Erlinda Johnson, one of the state prosecutors on the case, resigned on Friday, the fourth prosecutor to quit or be forced to step down.

"I did not intend to mislead the court," lead state prosecutor Kari Morrissey said after taking the unusual step of defending herself from the witness stand. "My understanding of what was dropped off at the sheriff's office is on this computer screen and it looks absolutely nothing like the live rounds from the set of Rust."

Many legal analysts said the case should never have been brought to trial by the Santa Fe County District Attorney's Office. "The prosecution felt it had to cheat to get the result it wanted," said legal analyst Duncan Levin, a New York defense attorney. "This is the worst of our system on display."

Hutchins died in Hollywood's first on-set shooting in nearly 30 years when Baldwin was directed to point a revolver at her as she set up a camera shot during filming southwest of Santa Fe. The weapon fired a .45 caliber round inadvertently loaded by the movie's armorer Hannah Gutierrez.

The Colt .45 rounds at the center of the dismissal were handed into the sheriff's office on March 6 by Troy Teske, a friend of Thell Reed, the stepfather of Gutierrez, on the same day she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Hutchins' death.

A sheriff's office crime scene technician, Marissa Poppel, testified on Thursday that the rounds did not match those collected on the set of Rust which were sent for FBI testing.

But when defense lawyers inspected them they found some had brass casings with the “Starline Brass” logo and silver, nickel primers, just like the six live rounds found on the set of Rust. Others looked like inert dummy rounds taken into evidence on the set.

“That turned out to be completely false, didn’t it?” Baldwin's lawyer Spiro asked Corporal Hancock.
“You’re correct,” she said.

Judge Sommer asked Hancock who had decided to put Teske’s ammunition into a separate case file number.
Hancock said it was the decision of her supervisor, prosecutors and herself.

“Ms. Morrissey was part of that conversation?” asked Sommer, growing visibly angry.
“Yes,” replied Hancock.

Spiro also questioned Morrissey about her attitude toward his client, saying witnesses had reported she had characterized him with expletives and said she would try to teach him a lesson.

"I never said to witnesses that I would teach him a lesson," she said.

Prosecutors had alleged Baldwin played a role in the death of Hutchins because he handled the gun irresponsibly.
His lawyers said Baldwin was failed by Gutierrez and others responsible for safety on the set, and law enforcement agents were more interested in prosecuting their client than finding the source of the live round that killed Hutchins.

Defense lawyers alleged prop supplier Seth Kenney supplied the live rounds to "Rust," an accusation he denied in testimony on Friday.

It remains to be seen whether the dismissal of Baldwin's case would affect Gutierrez's conviction, which is under appeal.

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SC Restores Muslim Man's Citizenship, Says State Can't Randomly Suspect People

More than 12 years after a tribunal in Assam declared a Muslim man to be a foreigner, the Supreme Court on Thursday restored his citizenship, ruling that a "grave miscarriage of justice" had occurred in the case.

A Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah noted that the pleadings and record were silent regarding the basis on which the police initiated proceedings against Md Rahim Ali in 2004.

"In this case, it is mentioned that an inquiry revealed the appellant had illegally migrated to Assam from Bangladesh after 25.03.1971, but there is no evidence on record to support this allegation, except for the claim that he illegally migrated to India post 25.03.1971.

It is also unclear who, if anyone, alleged that the appellant had migrated from Village - Dorijahangirpur, Police Station - Torail, District - Mymansingh in Bangladesh," the Court stated.

The Court further observed that it was the duty of the police to provide details on how they had obtained information that Ali had come to Assam from Bangladesh.

"In other words, if the authorities claimed they traced the appellant's place of origin, they must have had some supporting evidence. However, no such evidence was presented to the appellant or the Tribunal by the authorities," it added.

Ali had previously challenged the Foreigners Tribunal's decision before the Gauhati High Court. Although the High Court initially stayed the tribunal's order, his plea was dismissed in November 2015, leading to the current appeal before the Supreme Court.

"Can the State randomly say 'We suspect you of being a foreigner'? While analysing the case, the Court questioned whether Section 9 (termination of citizenship) of the Citizenship Act empowered the executive "to select a person at random, knock on their door, and tell them 'We suspect you of being a foreigner'."

Finding no basis for such suspicion in this case, the Court observed that the State cannot act in this manner, and the top court cannot endorse such an approach.

"It is well-established that a person charged or accused generally cannot disprove an allegation if they are unaware of the evidence against them that led to the suspicion. Therefore, just an allegation or accusation cannot shift the burden to the accused unless they are confronted with the allegation and the supporting evidence," it added.

While clarifying that the evidentiary value of the material at this stage did not need to be assessed, the Court also stated that mere allegations, as vague as mechanically repeating legal provisions, should not be allowed.

The Court affirmed that the suspected person must be informed of the information and evidence against them.
"In the absence of primary evidence, authorities cannot arbitrarily initiate proceedings that have life-altering consequences for the person based on hearsay or vague allegations," the Court stated.

In this case, the Court noted that the authorities made a serious error by interpreting the term 'main grounds' in the rules to mean the allegations against the person.

"This initial error is sufficient to invalidate the entire process. The term 'main grounds' is distinct from 'allegations'. It is clear that 'main grounds' and 'allegations' are not interchangeable," it added. However, the Court clarified that this did not imply strict proof of the allegations had to be provided to the accused.

"The material on which the allegations are based must be shared with the person," it stated.
"Audi alteram partem not only ensures a fair opportunity to be heard but also includes the obligation to share collected material with the accused," it said.

In this case, the Court observed that the evidence presented before the tribunal had been disregarded solely due to differences in English spellings of names and discrepancies in dates.

Regarding this, the Bench stated that minor errors by enumerators should not have serious consequences for the appellant (Ali).

Importantly, the Court acknowledged that names on important government documents can vary in spelling depending on whether they are in English, Hindi, Bangla, Assamese, or any other language.

"It is common throughout India for names to be spelled differently in regional languages and English. This is particularly noticeable where pronunciation habits or styles lead to different spellings of the same name," it noted. Consequently, the Court overturned the orders of the High Court and Foreigners Tribunal.

"We are not inclined to remand the matter to the Tribunal for further consideration. Bringing finality to the issue, the appellant is declared an Indian citizen and not a foreigner. Legal consequences shall ensue accordingly," it concluded.
The Court also directed that a copy of the judgment be circulated to all Foreigners' Tribunals in Assam.

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Dubai's Special Court Settles Over Dh4 Billion Worth of Inheritance Cases Last Year

The Special Court of Inheritance in Dubai settled inheritance cases worth over Dh4 billion last year, as reported in the Dubai Courts' 2023 annual report.

Established in September 2022, the Dubai Inheritance Court resolved a total of 580 cases, comprising 512 Muslim estates, 38 non-Muslim estates, and 30 private estates. These cases amounted to Dh4,115,917,861 in value.

Dubai Courts reported a 92.6 per cent success rate in inheritance settlements, exceeding the targeted 90 per cent. The high performance underscores the court's efficiency in distributing assets according to legal wills and personal revenues.

Procedures were meticulously executed to distribute properties and assets based on the deceased's will. Additionally, 19 other files were prepared for managing private inheritance arrangements.

Inheritance settlement is a critical legal process ensuring equitable distribution of assets based on legal and Sharia principles. Dubai continues to refine procedures to enhance efficiency and accuracy, facilitating fair settlements that meet the needs of individuals and families.

On average, cases took 81 days from registration to judgment, with the first hearing to judgment averaging 52 days and a waiting time of 28 days for the first hearing.

In 2023, Dubai Courts witnessed increased use of smart applications for managing various cases. A total of 872,414 online applications were submitted across the courts, with the Court of Appeals processing 32,005, the Commercial Court of First Instance handling 51,132, and the Labour Court of First Instance managing 33,316 smart applications.

The year also saw significant case completions across civil and criminal courts. Civil courts at the First Instance resolved 36,468 cases, with the Court of Appeals and Court of Cassation finalising 13,483 and 4,919 cases respectively.

Similarly, criminal courts saw resolutions with the First Instance handling 33,473 cases, the Court of Appeals resolving 10,059, and the Court of Cassation concluding 1,048 cases. These figures highlight Dubai Courts' efficiency in managing and closing a substantial volume of cases, ensuring timely justice.

The report highlighted the marriage contract service, enabling clients to conduct legally recognised marriage contracts accredited by Dubai Courts. In 2023, 8,895 legal marriage contracts and 249 civil marriage contracts were registered, totaling 9,144 contracts.

Additionally, 9,056 family guidance and reconciliation cases were recorded, necessitating 26,412 counselling sessions to aid families in resolving various issues. Approximately 79.6 per cent of these cases achieved successful resolution.

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The Netherlands: The World's Legal Battlefield for International Disputes and High-Stakes Rulings

From conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East to salt mining in Brazil -- courts in the Netherlands have become Ground Zero in a global legal battlefield with far-reaching implications.

A strong legal tradition, home to many multinationals and international organisations and global ease of reach: the country has several trump cards making it the preferred legal arbiter of choice.

Three months into 2024, the city of The Hague's two most influential international courts have already cast headline-grabbing rulings on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the spiralling conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

In early March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for two high-ranking Russian commanders, while in January the UN's top International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down emergency measures telling Israel to boost aid in Gaza and to protect its population.

At the same time, a local civil court handed down a landmark judgement halting the supply of F-35 fighter jet parts from the Netherlands to Israel.

Victims of devastating salt mining in the Brazilian city of Maceio are suing petrochemical giant Braskem for compensation before a Rotterdam court -- one of many international compensation suits launched in recent years.

An Amsterdam court in February quashed an appeal by Russia in a record $50-billion case involving a compensation claim by former shareholders of the dismantled oil giant Yukos.

Recent years have also seen Dutch courts hand down rulings in major climate cases including one won by NGO group Milieudefensie in 2021.

In that case, the court ordered petrochemical giant Shell to curtail greenhouse emissions in what is considered the first major climate change ruling against a corporation.

Legal Hotbed
 
So why is the Netherlands a hotbed of international litigation? "I do think it is potentially easier to launch lawsuits in the Netherlands," said Cecily Rose, assistant professor of public international law at Leiden University.

"The legal bar for bringing collective actions is relatively low in the Netherlands, and this does have the effect of making it easier for NGOs to pursue public interest litigation in Dutch courts," she told AFP.

"Cases with international implications regularly reach the Dutch courts partly because the Netherlands is home to transnational companies with a global reach, such as Shell, Unilever or Heineken," added Leon Castellanos-Jankiewicz, senior researcher at the Asser Institute for International and European Law.

"These multinationals are subject to Dutch law and therefore the Dutch courts have jurisdiction over these entities and their dealings," he told AFP.

The country also has a highly skilled legal workforce and a strong belief in upholding the law. "The Netherlands has a tradition of placing strong emphasis on the development of international law," Castellanos-Jankiewicz said.
"Promoting the development of the international legal order is a permanent objective of Dutch foreign policy," he said.

Coupled with good infrastructure with global reach and the perception that the Netherlands was a "neutral ground" made it an appealing choice for parties seeking an impartial resolution, experts said.

Peace and Justice

The Netherlands also hosted several international courts and tribunals as well as agencies such as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Europol, "embedding these organisations in the Dutch legal landscape," legal experts said.

Nestled on the Dutch coast between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Hague has always been seen as the "City of Peace and Justice" with its first international arbitral body, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, established in 1899.

Still existing today, the PCA laid the groundwork for later bodies established in the city, including the ICJ after World War II and the ICC, which opened its doors in 2002.

Other international courts, including the now defunct Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY) and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers also found a home here.

"Although the cases in these jurisdictions are completely independent from the Dutch courts as they belong to the United Nations system, they amplify many issues of global concern," Castellanos-Jankiewicz said.

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UAE Residents Lost Dh16.8 Million on Rejected Schengen Visa Applications in 2023: Report

UAE residents keen on travelling to Europe "wasted" a staggering Dh16.8 million (€4.19 million) on rejected Schengen visa applications in 2023, according to a recent report.

The number of rejected visa applications from the Emirates last year stood at 22.44 per cent -- 25 per cent higher than the previous year, according to Schengen Visa Info, which claims to have guided "more than 280 million individuals" since 2013.

Up until 11 June 2024, the cost of a Schengen visa application was nearly Dh320 (€80). In addition to this, there are service fees that vary depending on the area. However, effective from June 11 this year, the European Commission announced a global increase in the cost of Schengen visas (visa type C) by 12 per cent.

The report states that UAE residents filed a total of 233,932 Schengen visa applications in 2023, which was an increase of 24.97 per cent compared to 2022.

Applicants from the country accounted for 2.27 per cent of all visa requests submitted globally, making it the 10th country with the most Schengen visa applications filed last year. They also spent a total of Dh74.9 million (€18.7 million) on Schengen visa applications.

The Schengen visa permits seamless travel across 27 European countries. Germany was the most favoured destination for expatriates applying from the UAE, with a total of 26,024 visa applications submitted for the country in 2023.

At the same time, it was Germany that rejected the most visa applications from the UAE -- 6,283 out of 26,024 visas were turned down. Lithuania received the least number of visa applications – 327 -- from the UAE.

UAE residents were granted a total of 177,213 Schengen visas in 2023, with Spain granting the most -- 20,843 -- with an approval rate of 80.09 per cent.

The easiest Schengen country to obtain a visa for from the UAE was Poland, with 90.61 per cent of 20,843 visa applications approved.

Indian travellers looking to visit Schengen countries faced major financial setbacks. According to the Schengen Statistics Portal, Indians lost a whopping Rs109 crore (approximately €12.1 million) due to rejected visa applications. Out of 966,687 applications submitted by Indians, 151,752 were denied.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Can Dubai Landlords Expel Tenants Before Lease Expires if They Plan to Reside There?

In Dubai, a landlord may evict a tenant either before or upon the expiry of a tenancy contract. To do so, the landlord must serve a 12-month notice through a notary public. Permissible scenarios include:

* The landlord intends to demolish and reconstruct the property after obtaining necessary permissions from local authorities.

* Required restoration or repair of the property cannot be carried out while it is occupied by the tenant.

* The landlord or their first-degree family members wish to reside in the property, provided they do not have an alternative residence in Dubai and will live there for at least two years after taking possession.

* The landlord wishes to sell the property.

This is stipulated under Article 25(2)(c) of Law No. 33 of 2008 Amending Law No. 26 of 2007, which regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants in Dubai.

The law states: "Upon expiry of the lease contract, the landlord may seek eviction of the tenant from the real property only if: (c) the real property owner wishes to retake possession of the real property for his use or use by any of his first-degree relatives, provided that the owner proves that he does not own any alternative real property that is suitable for his purpose."

For this eviction, the landlord must notify the tenant of the reasons at least twelve months before the date of eviction, and the notice must be served through a notary public or by registered mail.

Furthermore, Article 26 of the Amended Rent Law specifies that if the landlord retakes possession of the property for their use or use by first-degree relatives, they may not rent it to a third party for at least two years in the case of residential property, or three years for non-residential property, from the date of taking possession.

If the landlord violates this, the tenant may request fair compensation from the Tribunal. Following these provisions, a landlord can evict a tenant by serving a 12-month notice through a notary public.

Upon taking possession of the property, the landlord may not rent it to any third party for at least two years from the date of possession.

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Delhi High Court Applauds New Criminal Law Amendments for Technological Integration

The Delhi High Court has praised the recently introduced Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita for its forward-thinking approach in mandating the use of technology in criminal investigations.

Justice Amit Mahajan highlighted the significant changes brought by the new law, particularly the requirement for videography and photography during search and seizure operations.

Justice Mahajan commended the law for its potential to enhance transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.

"The integration of technology in investigative procedures is a substantial step forward. Mandatory videography and photography during search and seizure operations will not only ensure the integrity of the evidence but also protect the rights of individuals," he said.

The new law aligns with global best practices, where the use of body cameras and other recording devices has become standard in many jurisdictions. By incorporating such measures, India is poised to strengthen its legal framework and build greater public trust in the criminal justice system.

Legal experts and human rights advocates have welcomed the move, seeing it as a necessary adaptation to the evolving landscape of law enforcement. They believe that the use of technology can bridge gaps in the current system, making it more robust and reliable.

Justice Mahajan emphasised that the visual documentation of these operations would provide an objective record, reducing the scope for allegations of misconduct or abuse. "This measure will serve as a crucial tool in preventing misuse of power and ensuring that law enforcement agencies adhere to legal protocols," he added.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, a comprehensive overhaul of India's criminal laws, seeks to modernize and streamline legal processes.

One of its key provisions is the obligatory recording of search and seizure activities, aimed at minimising disputes over the conduct and fairness of such operations.

Justice Mahajan's remarks underscore the judiciary's support for reforms that prioritise transparency and the protection of citizens' rights.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita is expected to set a new benchmark in the administration of justice, reflecting a commitment to leveraging technology for the greater good.

In the case of Bantu v. State Govt of NCT of Delhi High Court, the High Court made these observations while dealing with a bail plea moved by Bantu, who was arrested by the Delhi Police on allegations of supplying charas (a type of drug) in Delhi, procured from Himachal Pradesh, India.

The accused’s lawyers argued that despite being apprehended during the daytime, there was no independent witness and no recording of the seizure.

Justice Mahajan criticised the police for failing to procure any independent witnesses and for not recording the process of seizure. Consequently, he granted bail to the accused.

Advocates Shivendra Singh and Bikram Dwivedi appeared for the accused, while the Delhi Police was represented by Additional Standing Counsel (ASC) Rupali Bandhopadhya.

As the law comes into effect, it will be crucial to monitor its implementation and address any challenges that may arise.

The judiciary, law enforcement agencies and civil society must work collaboratively to ensure that the intended benefits of these technological advancements are fully realised.

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Undercover Police Apprehend Gang of Four Thieves Targeting Dubai Mall Visitors

A gang of four thieves targeting visitors at Dubai Mall was recently apprehended by an undercover team of police officers.

The team, composed of Dubai policemen in civilian clothes, was formed in response to a rise in pickpocketing in crowded areas frequented by pedestrians and tourists, particularly at tourist attractions like Dubai Mall.

The officers were tasked with blending into the crowd and monitoring the situation to ensure visitors' safety.

The gang, consisting of four men aged 23, 28, 45, and 54, were caught red-handed on March 6, 2024.

According to court documents, the gang meticulously planned their thefts. On the day of the incident, they targeted the dancing fountain area of Dubai Mall, exploiting the crowd's distraction.

They pretended to watch the fountain show while one member monitored the victim and two distracted her, allowing the fourth to steal her mobile phone from her bag.

They then fled in different directions to confuse the victim, but their crime was discovered on the spot, and they were arrested. However, the phone was disposed of before the arrest.

At the Dubai Criminal Court, judges established that the defendants had formed a criminal group to steal from people in busy areas like large shopping centres.

"Following a recent increase in pickpocketing in crowded places like Dubai Mall, undercover security teams were established," a police officer testified in court. The undercover officers observed and caught the defendants on the day of the theft.

They were also captured by surveillance cameras, which showed the men coordinating to distract the victim and steal her phone before dispersing to avoid detection.

The defendants denied the charges during the investigation and in court sessions held via remote communication.

However, the court found them guilty, sentenced them to one month in prison each, and ordered their deportation.

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How to Dispute Traffic Fines in UAE and Navigate Legal Process Effectively: Step-by-Step Guide

Have you recently received a traffic fine in the UAE that you believe is unjustified?

While the UAE boasts an efficient traffic management system, occasional errors or miscommunications can lead to incorrect penalties on your driving record.
If you genuinely believe your traffic fine is unfair, there's a straightforward method to dispute it.

Disputing Traffic Fines in the UAE

Despite the advanced technology and diligent workforce overseeing transportation operations, errors can still occur due to human oversight or machine malfunctions.

If you're convinced that you've been wrongly fined, you can formally request an investigation into the penalties associated with your vehicle or licence. To succeed in your dispute, you must provide evidence that you did not commit the violation.

Start by verifying the photograph of your vehicle's number plate, typically available on traffic fine check websites and promptly report any discrepancies to the relevant authorities.
Here's a breakdown of how to dispute traffic fines in different emirates:

Abu Dhabi

* Visit the Abu Dhabi Police e-complaints portal (TAMM).

* Search for and select the ‘Request a Grievance for Transport Violations’ service.

* Enter your vehicle details and personal information.

* Choose a convenient callback time and provide reasons for disputing the fine.

* Attach any available pictorial evidence. Authorities will review your dispute within 60 days of the fine issuance and reverse it if your claims are valid.

Dubai

* Visit the General Directorate of Traffic headquarters in Al Barsha and request to file a complaint in person.

* Alternatively, you can visit any police station to dispute Dubai traffic fines.

* You can also make complaints by calling +971-4-606-3555.

Sharjah

* Contact the Sharjah Police Traffic Department via WhatsApp at +971-6-517-7555.

* Use the MOI smartphone app (App Store/Google Play) to dispute Sharjah traffic fines.

* Log in with your UAE Pass account.

* Tap ‘Help’ and then ‘Complain.’

* Provide details explaining why you believe the fine is incorrect and submit.

* If your complaint is valid, the fine will be reversed.

Ajman

* File an appeal through the Ajman Police website or app (App Store/Google Play).

* Use your UAE Pass account to log in.

* Navigate to the ‘Traffic service’ and select ‘Objection on traffic penalty.’

* Enter incident details, including the ticket number and violation type.

* Explain your objection, attach relevant images, and submit.

* Ajman Police will review your appeal, and if your version of events is accepted, the fine will be reversed.

Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain:

* Use the MOI app (App Store/Google Play).

* Log in with your UAE Pass account.

* Click on ‘Help’ and then ‘Complain.’

* Provide details of the violation and reasons for requesting a waiver.

* The traffic department may approve the appeal based on the evidence provided.

In conclusion, disputing traffic fines in the UAE is a straightforward process. If you believe an error has occurred, don't hesitate to appeal and rectify the situation.

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SC Grants Bail to Arvind Kejriwal; Refers Legal Question on PMLA to Larger Bench

In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy.

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta stated that certain legal questions raised by Kejriwal in his plea challenging his arrest need to be considered by a larger bench of the top court.

Hence, while referring the matter to a larger bench, the Court deemed it appropriate to release Kejriwal on interim bail.

"Given that the right to life is concerned and since the matter is referred to a larger bench, we direct Arvind Kejriwal to be released on interim bail," the Court ordered.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 in a case alleging that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, including Manish Sisodia and others, to create loopholes in the Delhi Excise Policy of 2021-22 to favour some liquor sellers.

The investigation agencies alleged that the funds garnered from this exercise were used to fund AAP's election campaign in Goa.

In its order passed today, the Court said that the legal question regarding the "necessity to arrest" under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) needs to be considered by a larger bench of the top court.

Section 19 provides that if the ED, on the basis of material in its possession, has reason to believe that any person has been guilty of an offence punishable under PMLA, it may arrest such person.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, argued that the material cited by the ED now to defend Kejriwal's arrest was not present during his arrest and was produced later.

"All this evidence predates July, August 2023, and was in the Sisodia case... So what was new in the Arvind Kejriwal case?... The evidence is all prior to August 2023," Singhvi said.
There was no material on the "grounds of arrest" given to Kejriwal about the use of funds in the Goa elections, the senior counsel added.

"The entire charge is from August 2023. This is old news... There was an arrest in March 2024... No money has been transferred," he submitted.

Singhvi argued that there should be a "necessity to arrest" as a precondition under Section 19 PMLA.

Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju argued that the ED need not supply incriminatory material against an accused at the time of arrest.

"The reason to believe (that an accused has committed an offence) is the material before him (ED officer). In criminal law, they are not entitled to any copy before the chargesheet is filed...

Otherwise, evidence will be tampered with and witnesses will be threatened," ASG Raju said.
The Court today stated that the mere "need to interrogate" a person does not imply a necessity to arrest that person.

Whether "need and necessity" should be formal parameters of arrest and whether they can be read into Section 19 needs to be examined by a larger bench, the top court said.

However, despite being granted bail in the ED case, Kejriwal will remain in custody as he faces charges in a case initiated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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UAE: New Competition Law to Prohibit Companies from Monopolistic Pricing Practices

The UAE is prohibiting companies from offering or applying very low prices for production, transfer and marketing in a monopolistic manner to drive other companies out of competition.

The new law defines competition as the act of conducting economic activities based on market mechanisms that do not harm trade, development, or consumer interests.

This aims to ensure fair competition, prohibit monopolistic practices among all companies and protect consumer rights in the country. The law will also regulate mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the local market.

The Ministry of Economy will monitor and coordinate with local authorities for inspections to ensure fair competitive practices in the country. The authority can also act upon receiving a complaint.

This was announced during a media briefing, revealing details of Federal Decree-Law No. 36 of 2023 on competition regulation, which promotes and protects competition, combats monopolistic practices and counters harmful economic concentration in the UAE.

The fines and penalties for companies are under review and will be released once the Cabinet approves them.

Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said the new law aims to combat monopolistic practices by ensuring a stimulating environment for enterprises, enhancing effectiveness, competitiveness and protecting consumer interests.

“It also promotes the market economy and economic activities in line with the principle of economic freedom and ensures that economic concentration is monitored. Its articles address all conditions that may undermine, limit, prevent, or restrict competition...

Ensuring consumer protection from anti-competitive practices, promoting economic efficiency, marketing, and R&D are also key goals,” he added.

Conditions

The new law clarifies that economic concentration (which means the dominance of a small number of firms within a particular industry) involves any act resulting in the complete or partial transfer (merger or acquisition) of ownership or usufruct rights of property, rights, equity, shares, or obligations of an establishment to another, empowering the establishment or group of establishments to directly or indirectly control another establishment or group of establishments.

The law takes into consideration the annual sales value of the enterprises concerned and not only the total share of such enterprises involved in the economic concentration process.
Two conditions must be satisfied to successfully complete the process of economic concentration.

The first condition indicates that the total value of annual sales of such establishments in the relevant market, for the last fiscal year, shall exceed the amount determined by the Cabinet, upon the minister's proposal.

The second condition states that the total share of such establishments shall exceed the percentage of the total transactions in the relevant market during the last fiscal year, as determined by the Cabinet.

The Executive Regulation of this law establishes the controls for submitting the application for economic concentration, the documents to be attached, and its examination mechanisms.

The ministry said that companies can submit their views on the Application for Economic Concentration project and also provide any data or information that would help study the request, in line with global best practices in the field of competition.

The ministry elaborated that efforts are currently underway to develop a more agile and sustainable competitive system, including the launch of more pioneering legislation, initiatives, and programmes to make the UAE a global hub for the new economy within the next decade.

The law assigns new responsibilities to the Competition Regulation Committee, such as proposing the general policy for protecting competition, scrutinising issues related to the application of the provisions of this law, and making recommendations.

 

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Decree Issued to Establish Ajman Arbitration Centre for Enhanced Dispute Resolution

His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, has issued Emiri Decree No. (4) of 2024, establishing the Ajman Arbitration Centre.

The Centre aims to provide alternative dispute resolution services to support the financial and business community within the emirate.

Under the terms of the decree, the "Ajman Centre for Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration," previously established at the Ajman Chamber, is reorganised with legal personality and capacity to achieve its objectives.

The Centre seeks to raise awareness about arbitration, develop local expertise in this field, and facilitate alternative dispute resolution for the financial and business sectors.

The decree outlines specific arbitration rules and procedures. Cases referred to arbitration will adhere to rules set by the Chamber's Board of Directors, aligned with local legislation. Selecting the Centre for dispute resolution implies consent to its approved arbitration procedures.

The decree empowers the Centre to manage various tasks, including civil and commercial dispute settlement through arbitration services, establishing arbitration rules and procedures, and determining arbitrator fees and expenses, subject to Council approval.

It is tasked with formulating regulations, systems, and decisions related to Centre management, including fee structures.

The Centre is responsible for appointing arbitrators, forming arbitration panels and maintaining lists of approved arbitrators and experts. It facilitates amicable settlements and supports arbitration bodies and disputing parties for efficient dispute management.

Additionally, the Centre will organise seminars, conferences and specialised training in arbitration and other dispute resolution methods.

It will represent the Chamber at regional and international arbitration centres and chambers, participating in related meetings, agreements, activities and conferences.

Board of Trustees

The decree establishes a Board of Trustees for the Centre, comprising a chairman, vice-chairman and up to seven members with expertise in arbitration, law, and related fields. Members serve a renewable four-year term, appointed by the Chamber's Board of Directors.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for approving the Centre's general policy, strategic plans and  operational frameworks, submitting them for Council approval. It oversees the implementation of approved policies, including arbitration rules and alternative dispute resolution regulations.

The decree emphasises neutrality, independence and non-interference in disputes for both the Board of Trustees and the Centre's Secretary-General, ensuring impartial arbitration. Arbitrators are also guaranteed independence in their decision-making process.

Existing arbitration agreements with the Centre remain valid unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. The Centre's arbitration bodies will continue to operate uninterrupted, adhering to pre-decree rules and procedures, unless otherwise stipulated by arbitration parties.

The Ajman Arbitration Centre aims to establish itself as a regional hub for arbitration excellence, promoting Ajman as a preferred destination for resolving commercial disputes.

By offering robust arbitration services and fostering local expertise, the Centre seeks to contribute to Ajman's economic growth and business-friendly environment.

In conclusion, Emiri Decree No. (4) of 2024 marks a significant step towards enhancing Ajman's legal infrastructure and reinforcing its position in the global arbitration landscape.

The establishment of the Ajman Arbitration Centre underscores the Emirate's commitment to providing efficient, transparent and internationally recognised dispute resolution mechanisms for its business community.

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Uber Faces Penalty as Court Takes Action Following Driver's Refusal to Complete Trip

The Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission recently upheld a penalty of ₹15,000 on Uber India for causing mental agony and harassment to a passenger.

This followed an incident where an Uber driver prematurely ended a trip, compelling the passenger to disembark without completing the journey.

The Commission, comprising Presiding Member HPS Mahal and Member Kiran Sibal, affirmed that in an employer-employee relationship, the employer bears responsibility for third-party actions.

They emphasized Uber's control over its app, transactions, and services, stating that such control implies liability under law.

The case arose from a consumer's complaint regarding an Uber-X cab ride booked from Zirakpur to Kalka on March 7, 2017. The complainant alleged that the driver behaved improperly and terminated the trip prematurely, demanding an incomplete fare of ₹105.

Despite Uber's assurance of a refund, none was received, prompting the complaint to the Mohali District Commission.

After evaluating evidence and arguments, the District Commission ordered Uber to pay ₹15,000 in compensation for mental anguish, harassment, and litigation costs.

Uber appealed this decision to the State Commission, claiming procedural unfairness during the initial hearing due to COVID-19 constraints.

Uber argued that it functions solely as a technological platform connecting drivers and passengers and should not be held liable for the driver's actions, given the independent contractor status of drivers.

However, the State Commission found Uber had ample opportunity to present its case but failed to adequately do so.

Citing Uber's active role in booking and payment processes, the State Commission affirmed that Uber's intermediary status does not absolve it from liability under the Consumer Protection Act for service deficiencies.

Consequently, the State Commission upheld the District Commission's ruling, dismissing Uber's appeal.

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Abu Dhabi Extends Maternity Leave to 90 Days for Certain Private Sector Employees

In a landmark move, Abu Dhabi has extended maternity leave for certain private sector employees to 90 days, aligning more closely with public sector benefits.

This extension reflects the emirate's commitment to supporting working mothers and promoting family-friendly policies.

After the female employee resumes, she is entitled to two hours of daily leave for the first year after delivery to nurse her child. Male employees are entitled to three days' paternity leave.

Previously, female employees in the private sector were entitled to 45 days of maternity leave. The new regulation doubles this period, offering full pay for the entire duration.

This change aims to provide better work-life balance and support for new mothers during the crucial postpartum period.

As per Article 19 of the Federal Decree Law No. 49 of 2022 on Human Resources Law in the Federal Government, a female employee in a permanent position is entitled to maternity leave of three months with full salary.

After that, for six months from the date of the employee resuming work, she is entitled to two hours of reduced working hours either at the beginning or at the end of the working hours, to nurse her child. Such breaks are fully paid for.

According to Article 20, she is also entitled to fully paid parental leave of five working days. The leave may be taken continuously or intermittently within six months from the date of the child’s birth.

This leave is also granted to male employees. Maternity leave may not be combined with leave without pay.

Key Provisions of the New Policy

Eligibility Criteria: Female employees must have completed at least one year of continuous service with their current employer to qualify for the extended maternity leave.

Leave Duration: The leave consists of 90 days, which includes fully paid days off, allowing new mothers ample time to recover and bond with their newborns.

Job Security: Employers are mandated to secure the employee’s position during her absence, ensuring that women can return to their previous roles without any detriment to their career progression.

Reactions from the Business Community

The response from the business community has been mixed, with many employers expressing support for the initiative while also voicing concerns about potential operational challenges.

Some companies are evaluating strategies to manage the extended absences, including hiring temporary staff or redistributing workloads among existing employees.

Impact on Employee Well-Being

Research indicates that longer maternity leave can significantly improve the health and well-being of both mothers and their children. The extended leave period allows mothers to establish breastfeeding routines, recover from childbirth, and better manage postpartum mental health.

Abu Dhabi Launches Emirati Family Growth Programme

In addition to the extension of maternity leave, Abu Dhabi has introduced the Emirati Family Growth Programme, aimed at supporting marriages and raising children. This comprehensive initiative focuses on various aspects of family life, providing resources and support to Emirati families to ensure their well-being and prosperity.

Key Components of the Programme

Marriage Support: The programme offers counselling services, financial assistance for wedding expenses, and educational workshops on building strong marital relationships.

Child-Rearing Resources: Parents will have access to parenting classes, childcare support, and educational materials to aid in raising well-rounded and healthy children.

Work-Life Balance: The initiative promotes flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies within workplaces to help parents balance their professional and personal lives.

Government's Vision for a Stronger Society

The Emirati Family Growth Programme reflects the government's vision of fostering a strong, cohesive society by nurturing the family unit, which is considered the cornerstone of the community.

By providing extensive support for marriages and child-rearing, Abu Dhabi aims to create a nurturing environment where families can thrive.

Hessa Al Mansoori, Director of the Emirati Family Growth Programme, stated: "Our goal is to empower Emirati families with the tools and resources they need to build strong, happy, and healthy family units. This programme is a testament to our commitment to the well-being of our citizens.”

The new maternity leave policy and the Emirati Family Growth Programme are expected to set a precedent for other emirates and potentially influence broader labour and social reforms across the UAE.

As the country continues to evolve its laws and policies, the focus on work-life balance and family-friendly initiatives will likely remain a key priority.

Abu Dhabi’s recent initiatives mark significant advancements in labour rights and social support, reinforcing the emirate’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for its residents.

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Road Safety Initiative: Dubai Police Launch Free Car Inspection Service Until End of August 2024

The Dubai Police have launched a free car inspection service for all private car owners until the end of August 2024.

This initiative, in collaboration with AutoPro centres across the UAE, aims to enhance road safety during the summer months, when accidents due to high temperatures are more common.

It also encourages motorists to ensure their vehicles are in optimal condition, thus reducing the likelihood of accidents and breakdowns.

Service Details

The free car inspection service covers a comprehensive check of essential vehicle components, including brakes, air conditioning, air filters, radiator, tyres, lights, battery health, fluid levels and engine health.

Inspections will be conducted at designated police stations and mobile inspection units across the city, ensuring accessibility for all residents.

How to Avail the Service

Motorists can take advantage of this service by visiting the Dubai Police website or their nearest police station to schedule an appointment.

The initiative is part of Dubai Police's broader strategy to promote road safety and reduce traffic-related incidents by ensuring vehicles on the road meet safety standards.

Community Impact

This initiative is expected to benefit a large number of residents, especially those who might otherwise neglect regular vehicle maintenance due to cost considerations.

By providing this service for free, Dubai Police aim to remove financial barriers and encourage a proactive approach to vehicle upkeep.

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police, highlighted the importance of regular vehicle inspections in preventing accidents and ensuring the safety of all road users.

He urged all motorists to take advantage of this free service and contribute to safer roads in Dubai.

Conclusion

This proactive measure by Dubai Police not only underscores their commitment to public safety but also provides an invaluable service to the community.

By encouraging regular vehicle maintenance, the initiative aims to significantly reduce the risk of accidents, ensuring safer roads for all.

Motorists are urged to take full advantage of this free service before the end of August, reinforcing the importance of vehicle upkeep in enhancing road safety.

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UAE Continues to Bolster IP Sector in Accordance with Global Best Practices: Minister of Economy

The UAE, in line with its wise leadership’s vision, continues to develop its intellectual property (IP) sector in accordance with global best practices, considering it a fundamental pillar in promoting the national economy’s growth, said Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy.

“The UAE provides an incubating environment for IP, innovation, and patent activities in accordance with global best practices, in addition to enablers and facilities that support the growth of knowledge-based enterprises, innovation, and R&D,” he noted in his speech delivered at the 65th session of the Assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) member states.

The meeting is currently being held at the Organisation’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and runs until July 17.

Bin Touq reviewed key developments in the UAE’s IP landscape and achievements in IP rights protection.

The country has succeeded in building a comprehensive and sophisticated legislative environment to protect IP rights of creators and innovators and stimulate original thought and innovation in all fields, the minister said.

“Also notable is the promulgation of an array of supportive legislation such as the Trademark Law, the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Law, and the Industrial Property Rights Regulation and Protection Law and building distinct partnerships with leading IP institutions and ecosystem stakeholders at the local, regional, and global levels,” he added.

He emphasised that national efforts and joint work to launch more initiatives and pilot projects that enhance the UAE’s position as an incubator that fosters creative and innovative businesses are continuing.

“The Ministry of Economy is currently working on the implementation of its new IP system. It includes 11 initiatives aimed at establishing a competitive IP environment that enables inventors and creators to develop their entrepreneurial ideas and turn them into viable business opportunities and projects,” the minister noted.

He added that the UAE is keen to continue its cooperation with WIPO and the Member States, looking forward to more constructive work to support IP rights protection and the exchange of expertise and knowledge, thereby contributing to the achievement of the Organization’s sustainable development goals and promoting the growth of member states’ economies.

Bin Touq added: “The UAE, in line with its leading role regionally and globally in solidifying the importance of IP rights protection, reiterates its interest in implementing and operationalizing the proposal to host Abu Dhabi as an external office of WIPO, and supporting efforts to introduce Arabic into the Madrid System for International Registration of Trademarks, thereby increasing Arab communities’ engagement with WIPO, and promoting the principle of multilingualism.”

MoU with Japan to Exchange Expertise in IP Rights Protection

On the sidelines of the meeting, Bin Touq witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Economy and the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

The objective of this MoU is to establish a collaborative framework between the UAE and Japan in the realm of intellectual property, specifically focusing on patents, utility certificates and industrial designs.

The MoU was signed by Dr Abdulrahman Hassan Al Muaini, Assistant Undersecretary for IP Rights Sector at the Ministry of Economy and Hamano Koichi, JPO Commissioner.

The MoU signifies a key milestone in the UAE’s efforts to expand its international cooperation and foster dialogue and collaboration with relevant global organisations and institutions in the field of IP.

It will reinforce the UAE’s position as a prominent hub for the new economy, while also striving for excellence and competitiveness in innovation and IP rights protection. These efforts align with the objectives outlined in the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision.

Under the terms of the MoU, spanning a period of five years, both sides will cooperate to share knowledge about intellectual property systems and practices in line with international standards.

Another objective is combating infringements on intellectual property rights of commercial goods.

The partnership also includes training and developing nationals, ensuring they stay well-informed about the latest technological advancements and digital resources, thereby enhancing their understanding of contemporary intellectual property practices.

 

 

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How to Obtain an Ajman Trade Licence: Step-by-Step Application Process, Costs, Requirements

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur looking to start a cosy restaurant in Ajman? Or perhaps you're a business owner aiming to expand into new emirates?

To engage in any commercial activity in Ajman, you need an economic licence issued by the Ajman Department of Economic Development (DED).

The emirate saw a 5 per cent increase in new licences during the first half of 2024, amounting to 3,000 new licences.

Top Sectors for New Licences

* Ready-made women's clothing

* Restaurants

* Building maintenance

You can apply for a trade licence through the Ajman DED website, the smart application, or by visiting a service centre. Here’s a step-by-step guide, including the required documents and costs.

Required Documents

* Trade name reservation certificate

* Licence application

* Passport and ID card copy (for owner or partners)

* Security clearances for residents

* Valid passport and ID card of all partners (for existing businesses)

Application Steps

* Visit the Ajman DED website and click on 'Issue Trade Licence' in the service directory.

* Click on 'Start Service' under 'How to Apply'.

* Log in with your website account or UAE Pass. Alternatively, use the smart app or visit a customer happiness centre.

* Fill in the required information and pay the fees.

* Create a memorandum of association for companies.

* The licence will be issued.

* Authenticate the lease contract from the Municipality and Planning Department.

Note: Foreign nationals must receive approval from the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICP). High-risk economic activities may require additional government approvals.

Fees

Economic licence issuance: Dh600

Administrative application services: Dh50

Banner advertising commercial name permit: Dh350

Registration in the commercial register: Dh200

Registration in unified economic activities register: Dh200

Commercial registration certificate: Dh200

Advertising banner specification form: Dh100

Documenting a fixed-price contract: Fees based on contract capital; Dh50 per page if translated into English

CSR UAE Fund contribution: Dh1,500
Ministry of Economy publication for LLC: Dh3,000

Trade Name Reservation Certificate

A trade name reservation certificate is required to issue a trade licence. Follow these steps to obtain it:

* Visit the Ajman DED website and click on 'Trade Name Reservation' in the service directory.

* Click on 'Start Service' under 'How to Apply'. Alternatively, use the smart app or visit a customer happiness centre.

* Review the terms and conditions for a trade name and pay the fees.

* Enter the required information, pay the fees, and receive the trade name reservation certificate if approved.

Fees

* Initial approval: Dh100

* Trade name reservation: Dh200

* Administrative services application fee: Dh50

Required Documents

* Copy of ID card and passport for stakeholders

* Copy of the original licence for business branches

* Formal letter for government entities

Service Duration

Both the issuance of a trade licence and the reservation of a trading name take approximately 24 minutes each.

Ajman's Business Growth

Ajman recorded a significant increase in business activity in the first half of 2024, with 37,755 active licences, reflecting a 15 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2023.

Over 15,000 licences were renewed, showing a 9 per cent growth rate.
Abdullah Ahmed Al Hamrani, Director-General of Ajman DED, stated, "These figures reflect the remarkable improvement in the business environment in Ajman, enhancing its position as a preferred investment destination for both local and international investors."

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Travelling to the US Soon? Here's How to Submit Your Visa Application Documents

Planning a trip to the US? If you're applying for a visit visa from the UAE, you can conveniently submit your documents and collect your passport once the visa is processed through Emirates Post, which handles courier services for US visa applications from the UAE.

Whether you are just starting your application or waiting to collect your visa, this guide will walk you through the necessary steps.

When to Use Emirates Post for Document Submission

The method for submitting your documents varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for.

* In-Person Interview: If your visa requires an in-person interview at the Consular Section, bring all the necessary documents with you.

* No Interview Required: If no interview is needed, you will receive instructions on how to courier your documents to the Consular Section.

This is when you will need to visit the Emirates Post Customer Happiness Centre with a ‘Courier-In Authorisation Certificate,’ allowing you to send documents free of charge to the Consular Section.

Obtaining the ‘Courier-In Authorisation Certificate’

You need to apply for a ‘Courier-In Authorisation Certificate’ through the US visa portal (ais.usvisa-info.com). Follow these steps:

* Sign in to your existing US visa portal account.

* Select ‘Consular Section instructed me to send more documents.’

* Choose the applicants for whom you are sending documents or passports. Provide a reason and click ‘Send Request.’

* Click ‘Continue’ and select ‘Send Documents.’

* Choose the Consular Section as mentioned in the DS-160 form (the non-immigrant visa form) and click ‘Submit.’

* Scroll down and click on ‘View Courier-In Receipt.’

* Print the authorisation and submit it along with the required documents at an Emirates Post drop-off and pick-up location.

Collecting Your Passport and Visa Documents

Once your visa is approved or rejected, you will need to visit an Emirates Post location to collect your passport. According to the US visa portal (ais.usvisa-info.com), you will receive an automated email once a tracking number is assigned to your shipment.

Track your documents via the US visa portal or the Emirates Post website (emiratespost.ae).

Required Identification for Document Collection

Personal Collection: Provide an official ID card, driver’s licence, or birth certificate.

Parents Collecting for Children: Present a copy of the child's birth certificate or adoption decree and the parent's ID matching the name on the child’s document.

Authorised Third-Party Collection: Present a signed authorisation letter, a photocopy of the applicant's ID, and the third party’s ID matching the name on the authorisation letter.

Passports not retrieved within 30 days will be returned to the originating Consular Section.

Emirates Post Drop-off and Pick-up Locations
Here are the Emirates Post locations for US visa document submission and collection:

* Abu Dhabi Central - Customer Happiness Centre: Madinat Zayed area, Al Muroor road, Abu Dhabi. Business Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am - 8pm.

* Ajman Central - Customer Happiness Centre: Emirates Post Building, Masfout St, Al Bustan, Ajman. Business Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am - 8pm.

* Al Barsha - Customer Happiness Centre: Al Asayel St, Next to Al Barsha Mall, Dubai. Business Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am - 8pm.

US Visa Application: General Information

If you're a UAE passport holder, you need a visa to travel to the US. Depending on your purpose of travel, apply for a US Business Visa (B1) or a US Tourist Visa (B2) by completing the DS-160 form online.

Application Steps for a US Visa from Dubai

* Determine Visa Type: Check if you need a non-immigrant or immigrant visa.

* Submit Application: Complete the DS-160 form online.

* Pay Fees: Follow payment instructions on the Official US Department of State Visa Appointment Service website.

* Schedule an Interview: Book a US visa interview.

* Prepare Documents: Gather all required documents.

* Attend Interview: Make sure to be on time for your interview and biometric data collection.

Processing Time and Reapplication            

The processing time for a US visa in Dubai may vary from four to six weeks, depending on application volume. If your visa application is denied, you may re-apply, but you must pay the visa fee again and address any previous rejection reasons.

 For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

 

 

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Life Sentence, Dh20 Million Fines for ‘Justice and Dignity Committee’ in Terror Case

 

 

The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeals Court - State Security Department convicted 53 defendants, including leaders and members of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, along with six companies, in Case No. 87 of 2023 – State Security Offences.

Known in the media as the terrorist ‘Justice and Dignity Committee’ Organisation, the case resulted in penalties ranging from life imprisonment to fines of Dh20 million.

The Court sentenced 43 defendants to life imprisonment for establishing, managing and participating in the terrorist ‘Justice and Dignity Committee’ Organisation with the intent to carry out terrorist acts within the country.

Additionally, five defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison for collaborating with the ‘Reform Call’ Organisation and promoting it through articles and tweets on social media, with prior knowledge of its intentions against the country.

Five more defendants received 10-year prison sentences and fines of Dh10 million each for laundering money obtained through the creation, establishment and financing of a terrorist organisation.

Furthermore, the Court imposed penalties on six companies and their responsible individuals, fining each company Dh20 million, dissolving and closing their headquarters and confiscating their assets, both tangible and intangible.

This includes real estate, equipment and belongings used in the commission of the aforementioned crimes, which involve money laundering by an organised criminal group to finance a terrorist organisation.

The Court dismissed the criminal cases against 24 defendants for cooperating with and financing the organisation, and acquitted one defendant.

The ruling, issued on July 10, stated that the crimes for which the defendants were convicted --establishing and managing the terrorist ‘Justice and Dignity Committee’ Organisation -- were distinct and unrelated to those in Case No. 79 of 2012 - State Security Offences.

The evidence, including confessions, witness testimonies, and technical reports, was sufficient to prove the defendants' commission of the crimes.

‘Reform Call’

The Court confirmed that the defendants were part of the ‘Reform Call’ Organisation (the Muslim Brotherhood, classified as a terrorist organisation), and had aimed to instigate violent events in the country, similar to those in other Arab states.

This included protests and clashes with security forces, leading to deaths, injuries, and the destruction of facilities, which spread panic and terror among the populace, threatening national security, stability, and sovereignty.

The verdict can be appealed before the Federal Supreme Court.

The trial included 10 hearings, during which the Court ensured the defendants’ rights and guarantees were protected as per the law.

Defendants were allowed to choose their attorneys, with an attorney appointed for those who did not.
The Court heard the defences, attorneys’ arguments and reviewed written defence memorandums.

Witnesses' testimonies were heard during public sessions, allowing cross-examination by defendants and their attorneys. The Public Prosecution presented its evidence, including defendants' confessions, state security officers' testimonies and expert reports.

This evidence corroborated the crimes and demonstrated the defendants’ involvement.
The Court emphasised that these crimes were separate from those in Case No. 79 of 2012 - State Security Offences and that the convictions were made according to the laws in effect at the time, adhering to the principles of non-retroactive criminal penalties and double jeopardy.

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Judge Rules Baldwin’s Co-Producer Role Irrelevant in 'Rust' Shooting Case

A New Mexico judge decided that actor Alec Baldwin’s role as co-producer is not relevant to the involuntary manslaughter trial over a fatal shooting on the set of the western film "Rust."

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled that evidence about Baldwin’s secondary role in the movie would not be allowed at trial, siding with defence attorneys.

“I’m having real difficulty with the state’s position that they want to show that as a producer he didn’t follow guidelines and therefore as an actor, Mr Baldwin did all of these things wrong that resulted in the death of Ms Hutchins because as a producer he allowed these things to happen,” Marlowe Sommer said.

“I’m denying evidence of his status as a producer.”
Special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson argued unsuccessfully to allow evidence that Baldwin’s “role as a producer made him keenly aware of his responsibilities on set” for safety.

“It goes to Mr Baldwin’s knowledge, knowing that his conduct on set was negligent,” she said. Baldwin sat between his lead attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, with a yellow legal pad on the table in front of him.

Last month, Baldwin’s lawyers pushed for the case to be dismissed, arguing that FBI testing of the firearm had damaged the weapon before lawyers could examine it for possible modifications.

The defence team alleged the gun was damaged at the time of the incident and accused prosecutors of withholding potentially “exculpatory evidence.”

Sommer rejected the dismissal request, saying Baldwin’s lawyers had not proved prosecutors acted in bad faith. But the judge also said prosecutors would have to disclose to the jury the “destructive nature of the firearm testing, the resulting loss and its relevance and import.”

Defence attorneys have asked the judge to exclude consideration of Baldwin’s secondary role as a co-producer on "Rust," arguing it’s irrelevant to allegations of negligence and might confuse jurors.

Prosecutors disagree, saying it was likely Baldwin’s imposing role as a producer that emboldened him to act recklessly and disregard the safety of others in allegedly flouting gun-safety protocols.

The defence team and prosecutors disagree about Baldwin’s contractual authority as a producer over crew members who dealt with weapons and safety.

Prosecutors argue that a state workplace safety investigation, which found serious violations on set, was incomplete, untrustworthy, and should be prohibited from the trial.

Baldwin is charged with a single felony count of involuntary manslaughter, punishable by up to 18 months in prison if he is convicted.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armourer on set, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’s death and sentenced to 18 months in prison. She is appealing the conviction.

In October 2021, Baldwin was rehearsing a cross-draw manoeuvre with the revolver when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty and claims the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it towards Hutchins, who was behind the camera. Unaware the gun contained a live round, Baldwin said he pulled back the hammer – not the trigger – and it fired.

Baldwin’s attorneys also want to bar discussion at trial of actor Brandon Lee’s death from a fatal shot to the abdomen while filming a scene from "The Crow" in 1993. In that instance, a makeshift bullet was mistakenly left in a gun from a previous scene and struck Lee while filming a scene that called for using blank rounds.

Prosecutors have agreed not to elicit testimony about "The Crow," but also contend that Baldwin knew about safety risks posed by guns – even when live rounds are not present. Attorneys for Baldwin argue that it was inconceivable that live rounds would wind up on set.

Prosecutors want to exclude a letter signed by crew members that disputes the characterisations of the "Rust" set as chaotic or dangerous prior to the fatal shooting.

Prosecutors also want to exclude from trial the conclusions of the safety investigation into the fatal shooting that place much of the blame on assistant director Dave Halls. Halls has pleaded no contest to negligent use of a firearm and may be called to testify at Baldwin’s trial.

"Rust" Movie Productions paid a $100,000 fine to resolve violations of state safety regulations that were characterised as “serious” but not willful, under a 2023 settlement agreement. Prosecutors say conclusions of the investigation are easily contradicted by more reliable information.

Baldwin’s attorneys say the report cannot be ruled out as evidence and that state occupational safety officer Lorenzo Montoya should be allowed to testify at trial.

Another pre-trial motion might defuse snipping between the prosecution and defense teams. Prosecutors want the judge to preclude accusations of “prosecutorial misconduct” and “personal attacks”.

Prosecutors also want the judge to exclude evidence and arguments designed to garner sympathy for Baldwin, including indications of remorse or the impact of events on his family, arguing that it has no bearing on determining guilt.

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Federal Law No. 4 of 2023 Revolutionises Sports Sector with Comprehensive Legal Framework

 

In a landmark legislative move, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) unveiled Federal Law No. 4 of 2023, also known as the UAE Sports Law, heralding a new era of regulation and development in the country's burgeoning sports landscape.

This sweeping legislation represents a significant step forward in fostering inclusivity, integrity, and excellence across all facets of sports within the UAE.

The UAE Sports Law, enacted to streamline and regulate sports activities across federal and local levels, sets forth a comprehensive legal framework aimed at enhancing governance, promoting participation, and ensuring the integrity of sports.

It encompasses provisions for the organization of sports events, compliance with international standards, and the establishment of specialized bodies such as the UAE Sports Arbitration Centre (UAESAC) to resolve disputes swiftly and fairly.

At its heart, the law aims to boost sports participation rates and cultivate local sporting talent through structured development programs and enhanced infrastructure. This strategic approach is underscored by the National Sports Strategy 2031, which outlines ambitious goals to increase community engagement in physical activities and excel in professional sports on a global scale.

Central to the implementation of the UAE Sports Law is the UAE General Authority for Sports (GAS), established in 2008, which plays a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating a diverse array of sports disciplines including football, tennis, martial arts, and more.

GAS collaborates closely with various sports federations and organisations to promote sports excellence and ensure compliance with the law's provisions.

The law also mandates support for individuals with disabilities, guaranteeing accessibility and opportunities for participation in sports at all levels. This commitment reflects the UAE's dedication to inclusivity and equal representation within its sports community.

The enactment of Federal Law No. 4 of 2023 is set to have profound economic implications, positioning the UAE as a leading destination for international sporting events and investments in sports infrastructure.

With state-of-the-art facilities and a commitment to hosting prestigious tournaments such as Formula 1 races and international golf championships, the UAE aims to boost tourism and stimulate economic growth through sports-related activities.

Furthermore, the law reinforces the UAE's commitment to ethical conduct and fair play, administering penalties for violations such as match-fixing to uphold integrity and ensure compliance with international sporting regulations.

This regulatory framework not only safeguards the interests of athletes and stakeholders but also enhances the nation's credibility in the global sports arena.

Looking ahead, the UAE Sports Law represents a transformative milestone in the country's sporting journey, setting a precedent for other nations in the region and beyond. By prioritising talent development, promoting diversity, and fostering a competitive sports environment, the UAE aims to solidify its position as a global hub for sports innovation and excellence.

As the Middle East continues to emerge as a dynamic sports market, characterised by rapid growth and increasing international recognition, the UAE stands at the forefront of this evolution.

With a clear vision and strategic objectives outlined in the UAE Sports Law, the country is poised to shape the future of sports, offering unparalleled opportunities for athletes, enthusiasts, and investors alike.

In conclusion, Federal Law No. 4 of 2023 marks a significant milestone in the UAE's commitment to advancing its sports sector.

By embracing inclusivity, enhancing governance, and fostering a culture of excellence, the UAE Sports Law lays the groundwork for a thriving sports ecosystem that promises to leave a lasting impact on both national and global stages.

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Divorced Muslim Woman Entitled to Maintenance Under Section 125 of the CrPC: Supreme Court

The Indian Supreme Court ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can file a claim for maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against her former husband.

A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih gave separate but concurring judgments. They upheld the Muslim woman's right after a Muslim man (the petitioner) challenged a Telangana High Court order to pay ₹10,000 interim maintenance to his former wife.

"We are hereby dismissing the criminal appeal with the major conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all women and not just married women," said Justice Nagarathna while delivering the verdict.

The Court also ruled that if a Muslim woman gets divorced during the pendency of an application under Section 125 of CrPC, she can seek recourse under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.

The 2019 Act provides an additional remedy besides the one under Section 125 CrPC, the Court added.
In a landmark judgment in the Shah Bano case, the Supreme Court had previously held that Section 125 CrPC is a secular provision applicable to Muslim women too.

However, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 nullified this judgment, and its validity was upheld in 2001.

The petition before the top court raised concerns over the respondent, a Muslim woman who was the petitioner's wife before their divorce, filing a claims plea under Section 125 CrPC.

The issue originated from a Family Court order directing the petitioner to pay interim maintenance of ₹20,000 per month.
This was challenged before the High Court on the grounds that the couple had divorced according to Muslim personal law in 2017.

The High Court modified the maintenance to ₹10,000 per month and instructed the Family Court to resolve the case within six months.

The man's counsel argued that under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, a divorced Muslim woman is not entitled to claim benefits under Section 125 CrPC.

Furthermore, it was contended that the 1986 Act is more beneficial to Muslim women.

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Employers Entitled to Regulate Mobile Phone Use for Domestic Workers in the UAE

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has confirmed that domestic workers must comply with their employer’s instructions unless these instructions contravene the terms of the contract, the law, public order, or public morals, or expose the worker to danger or legal liability.

This includes the employer's right to designate a specific time and place for the domestic worker to use a mobile phone.
The Ministry indicated that a domestic worker is entitled to sick leave for a period not exceeding 30 days in a contractual year.

This leave may be taken continuously or intermittently, provided that a medical report issued by an accredited health authority in the country substantiates the worker's need for it.

The first 15 days of sick leave are compensated at the full rate, while the subsequent 15 days are compensated at half the rate. Furthermore, a worker shall not be entitled to paid sick leave if the illness was caused by their own misconduct.

Regarding the employer’s authority to deduct from the worker’s wages, the Ministry outlined two distinct cases. If the worker commits a grave fault or violates instructions, resulting in damage to the employer, the employer may, with the consent of the domestic worker or the Ministry, deduct from their wages up to 25 per cent of the amount necessary to compensate for the damage.

This may include, for example, the loss or damage of tools, machinery, products, or materials owned by the employer or in the custody or control of the domestic worker. If the parties fail to reach an agreement with the Ministry, the dispute shall be referred to the judiciary.

Additionally, the employer is obliged to deduct from the worker’s wages an amount sufficient to satisfy any debts resulting from a court judgement, with a maximum deduction of one-quarter of the wages in question.

In the event of a dispute between a domestic worker and a recruitment office that cannot be resolved amicably, the matter must be referred to the Ministry. The Ministry will then take legal action to settle the dispute.

If an amicable settlement is not possible, the matter will be referred to the competent court.
Similarly, in the event of a dispute between an employer and a domestic worker that cannot be resolved amicably, the matter must be referred to the Ministry, which will take appropriate measures to settle the dispute.

If an amicable settlement is not possible, the dispute will be referred to the competent court.
In response to the question of when the domestic worker and the employer may terminate the labour contract and the obligations of each party upon termination, the Ministry stated that either party to the labour contract has the right to terminate it unilaterally if the other party breaches their obligations.

If the employer terminates the contract for reasons not attributable to the domestic worker, the employer must provide a ticket for the worker to return to their homeland and pay any other dues owed to the worker.

If the contract is terminated by the domestic worker after the trial period due to reasons attributable to them, the obligations shall be as specified in the following cases:

If the domestic worker is recruited by name/direct recruitment, they must pay for their return to their homeland and any other outstanding payments owed by the employer.

If the worker is unable to pay for their return, the employer must cover these costs.
If the worker is recruited through a recruitment office, the office must cover the expenses of returning the worker to their country.

 

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Rent Increases and Eviction Notices: Key Legal Rights for Landlords & Tenants in UAE

One of the most frequently asked questions concerns the rights of landlords and tenants regarding rent increases and eviction notices in the UAE.

The lack of clarity around these issues has caused many tenants, unaware of their legal rights, to fall victim to arbitrary or unfair actions by their landlords.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of both landlords' and tenants' rights and to clarify the legal process surrounding rent increases and eviction notices.

For this update, it is important to highlight two key laws:

* Law No. 26 of 2007 on the Organisation of the Relationship between the Lessors and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai – the original Landlord and Tenant Law.

* Law No. 33 of 2008 (Landlord and Tenant Law), which brought in amendments to the 2007 law and is the law in use today.

The Rent Freeze Announcement

In January 2021, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) announced that a new law could be passed that would freeze rental agreements for three years.

However, specific details of the implications were not included. Tenants, pleased by this announcement, expected their current rental agreements to 'freeze' without due research or consideration.

This confusion led to many tenants not taking proper action to negotiate their rental agreements with their landlords, resulting in disputes and cases for the Rental Dispute Committee (RDC) to resolve.

As of the date of this publication, the law announced by the DLD has not yet been enacted, meaning rents have not been frozen.
The law governing the landlord’s right to increase rent is still the amended Landlord and Tenant Law (2008), i.e., the same regulations apply as before the DLD announcement.

Has There Ever Been a Rental Freeze?

The original 2007 law did provide an explicit rent freeze for tenants. Article 9 of the 2007 law stated: “Landlord and tenant must specify a rent value in the tenancy contract, and in all cases, it is impermissible to increase the rent or modify any terms of the lease except after the expiration of two full years from the date of the commencement of the rental relationship.”

However, the 2008 amendments eradicated the rent freeze and allowed landlords to increase rent after the first year of the tenancy (unlike other Emirates), provided ninety (90) days’ notice was given.

While landlords have the right to increase their rental yield after a year, this increase is regulated by the DLD, considering market conditions, similar rent yields, and several other factors.

Under What Circumstances Can a Landlord Increase the Rent?

The Dubai Government issued Decree No. 43 of 2013 on the Determination of the Increase in Real Estate in the Emirate of Dubai. This decree provides landlords with a maximum rate of increase in rent according to the average market price of similar properties within a certain area. Tenants should know the following:

* No rent increase is permitted if the current rent is less than 10% below the average market rental rate.

* A maximum of 5 per cent increase is permissible if the current rent is 11 per cent – 20 per cent below the average market rental rate.

* A maximum of 10 per cent increase is permissible if the current rent is 21 per cent – 30 per cent below the average market rental rate.

* A maximum of 15 per cent increase is permissible if the current rent is 31 per cent – 40 per cent below the average market rental rate.

* A maximum of 20 per cent increase is permissible if the current rent is more than 40% below the average market rental rate.
Tenants who are unable to manually determine their exact rental increase can either download the Dubai REST application on their smartphones or use the rent calculator found on the DLD website.

In the event of a disagreement between the landlord and tenant over the rent increase, either party has the right to refer their dispute to the RDC. The RDC shall determine the allowable rent increase by the provisions of the Decree.

When Can a Landlord Evict a Tenant?

Firstly, it is important to stress that a landlord cannot evict a tenant simply to re-let the property to someone else. This is not allowed, even if the landlord begins work on a new independent structure. If the eviction occurs, the landlord is prohibited from re-letting the property for two years.

Additionally, the landlord must prove that they do not own another suitable property that can be used instead. Should the landlord re-let the property after eviction, the tenant can file a case at the Rental Dispute Committee (RDC) and seek compensation.

The actual amount of compensation is determined by the judge, but historically, it has often equalled the original rent amount. However, the exact amount is at the judge's discretion.

There is no way to prevent the landlord from re-letting the property after vacating other than informing them of the tenant's rights and the landlord's obligations under the law. If the landlord ignores these legal requirements, the tenant can gather proof and file a case at the RDC.

It has become common for some landlords to seek to evict their current tenants to chase higher rental yields. In one rare case, a landlord even served an eviction notice a day after signing a new tenancy contract.
It is also common for tenants to receive their notice of eviction through emails or WhatsApp messages.

The 2008 Landlord and Tenant Law makes it clear that if a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, the landlord must serve the eviction notice through a notary public or by way of registered mail, providing reasons for the eviction.

The 2008 Landlord and Tenant Law outlines when landlords can evict their tenants, distinguishing between evictions before the lease expires and evictions upon lease expiry.

If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant to sell the property, they must do so through a notary public or registered mail, providing a 12-month notice period.

An email from the landlord requesting eviction is not legally sufficient. Vacating the property early is entirely up to the tenant.
If the tenant does not wish to leave, the landlord can only evict them by sending the 12-month notice. Otherwise, the landlord cannot forcibly evict the tenant, as the tenant has the right to stay.

Eviction Before Lease Expiry

The Landlord and Tenant Law provides an exhaustive list of reasons for which a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant before the lease expires. These include:

* The tenant fails to pay rent even after thirty days of notification.

* The tenant sublets the property without the landlord’s consent.

* The property is used for illegal purposes that violate public order and morality.

* The commercial property is left vacant for thirty consecutive days or ninety non-consecutive days in one year.

* The tenant’s actions endanger the safety of the premises or cause damage due to intentional or gross negligence.

* The property is used for purposes other than those agreed upon or violates planning and building regulations.

* The property requires urgent repairs as proven by a technical report approved by Dubai Municipality.

* The tenant fails to abide by legal obligations or lease terms even after receiving a thirty-day notice.

* The government requires the demolition of the property.

These provisions provide landlords with recourse if the tenant breaches their lease obligations and fails to rectify the situation upon notice.

Eviction Upon Lease Expiry

Even upon lease expiry, landlords must adhere to certain parameters to evict a tenant. The notice of eviction must be served through a notary public or registered mail, outlining the reason(s) for eviction.

Additionally, the landlord must provide the tenant with twelve (12) months’ notice before the eviction date. Reasons for eviction upon lease expiry include:

* The landlord desires to demolish the property for reconstruction or to add new buildings, provided relevant approvals are obtained.

* The property requires renovation or extensive maintenance that cannot be done while occupied, as proven by a technical report from Dubai Municipality.

* The landlord wishes to use the property for their use or by a family member up to the first degree, provided they do not own another suitable property.

* The landlord intends to sell the property.

Conclusion

The laws in the UAE clearly outline the rights of landlords and tenants, aiming to balance the powers among the parties.
Landlords have the right to increase rent, but through a regulated mechanism, tenants have the right not to be evicted unless a compelling reason is prescribed by law.

Both landlords and tenants should familiarise themselves with Law No. 33 of 2008 (the Landlord and Tenant Law) to avoid additional costs by referring disputes to the RDC.

If either party is uncertain about a certain law provision, seeking a legal professional's opinion and assistance is always best.

 For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Dubai Courts Offers Fee Exemption for Senior Citizens and People of Determination

 

Dubai Courts announced the launch of a service package aimed at simplifying judicial procedures for senior citizens and people of determination.

Under this initiative, senior citizens and people of determination who are unable to pay legal fees may be exempted from payment, or the payment may be postponed.

Other services include financial support and debt payment for litigants from these target groups. The new services can be accessed through the Dubai Courts' call centre, website, or service centres across the emirate.

Services Included

According to Mohammed Al Obaidli, Executive Director of the Claims Management Sector of Dubai Courts, the package involves the following services:

* Shore: Voluntary legal consultation services will be offered in cooperation with accredited law firms in Dubai.

* Sanad: Voluntary legal representation in cases will be provided in partnership with accredited law firms in Dubai.

* Litigants who are unable to pay legal fees will be assisted by either postponing or exempting fees.

* Aoun: Financially insolvent litigants who cannot pay expert costs for professional services in cases will receive support, in partnership with accredited service providers.

* Courts of Goodness: Financially insolvent individuals, against whom judicial rulings were issued by Dubai Courts, will be assisted in paying their debts.

* Al Adheed Services: Al Adheed Centres’ services will be provided free of charge to the targeted groups.

Additional services include:

* Priority service in service centres

* Priority call centre services

* Dedicated parking

* Rooms allocated for video calls

The initiative provides services that promote social justice and equality, and serves to enhance social integration. This package also reinforces Dubai Courts’ commitment to sustainable development and advances its contribution to the Dubai Social Agenda 33.

Dr Saif Ghanem Al Suwaidi, Director General of Dubai Courts, said: “Dubai Courts is keen to make it easier for senior citizens and people of determination to obtain judicial services. We place the highest priority on enhancing rapid and easy access to the services as part of our efforts to create a judicial environment characterised by transparency, efficiency and the efficient
delivery of justice.The service package is designed to support senior citizens and people of determination, whom we consider a blessing and our top priority.”

Al Obaidli stated: “The launch of this package reflects our firm commitment to providing exceptional and reliable judicial services. The initiative will help enhance social sustainability and cohesiveness and foster a judicial environment marked by equality and social justice.

By facilitating and streamlining judicial procedures for senior citizens and people of determination, the service package will save time, effort, and costs while addressing their specific needs.”

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

 

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Protecting Intellectual Property in UAE: A Guide to Addressing IP Infringement Litigation

Intellectual Property (IP) constitutes a significant portion of the world's intangible assets, which have surpassed tangible assets in importance in today's world.

With the growing significance of IP, infringement has also risen substantially. Such infringing and pirated products account for about 2.5 per cent of world trade, valued at 464 billion in 2021.

In the UAE, there are four main types of IP rights: Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets. The penalties for their infringement are outlined under the respective Federal Laws governing these rights.

If your IP rights have been infringed, certain preliminary steps may be taken before proceeding to litigation. These are as follows:

* Evidence Gathering: It is crucial to gather evidence of the infringing act. Collect screenshots, product samples, or any other documents that clearly depict unauthorised use of your IP.

* Cease and Desist Letters: Once the evidence has been collected, a cease-and-desist letter must be sent to the infringer, prohibiting them from using your IP further and ordering them to destroy any and all infringing products.

* Alternative Dispute Resolution: If, after sending the cease-and-desist letter, the infringer continues the infringing activity, the last resort before pursuing litigation is to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, including negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. Multiple ADR institutions across the globe specialise in IP ADR, including the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre.

If the infringing activity continues even after the above steps have been taken, the final resort to enforce your IP rights would be to file a civil lawsuit against the infringing party.

There are a few common defences used in IP lawsuits to counteract infringement claims. It is important to be aware of these defences before pursuing litigation:

* Non-Infringement: The most common defence is that there has not been any infringing activity. Therefore, it is essential to collect as much evidence as possible of any instances of infringement you have noticed.

* Invalidity: The infringers may argue that your IP is invalid. Thus, it is imperative that your IP be registered in the prescribed manner and that you have all documentation supporting your registration, including the registration certificate and evidence of prior use.

* Fair Use: This is one of the trickiest defences to navigate. Many infringers may claim that their use of your IP falls under the exceptions granted under the Fair Use Doctrine, which allows for IP-protected material to be used for commentaries, parodies, criticisms, and some other non-commercial purposes.

* First Sale Doctrine: The First Sale Doctrine states that your IP rights are exhausted after the first sale, meaning you are not entitled to any profits made from any subsequent sales. However, there are some exceptions to this rule as well.
With this knowledge, you can proceed to litigation. Litigation is a lengthy and expensive process. The question that arises is: What are the possible outcomes of IP litigation?

* Injunctions: If the court finds that the defendant has indeed committed an infringing act, it could issue an injunction requiring them to cease all infringing activity.

* Damages: The court could further award you damages to compensate for the detriment caused by the infringing activity. Such damages often include the profits made by the infringer/defendant through such activities. The amount of damages is outlined in the Federal Laws.

For example, Article 49 of the Federal Decree-Law No. (36) of 2021 on Trademarks states that infringers may face a penalty of a fine ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh1,000,000 and/or imprisonment.

* Destruction of Infringing Material: The court may order that all infringing products be destroyed immediately to prevent any further use or sale.

* Dismissal: If the court finds that there has been no infringing activity on the part of the defendant, it may dismiss the case. However, there is the possibility to appeal to the Court of Appeals and further to the Court of Cassation.

IP rights play a pivotal role in fostering innovation and development, which is why it is imperative for an IP owner to take all necessary steps to register and protect their IP.

The UAE's legal framework provides robust protection for copyrights, trademarks, and patents, with severe penalties for infringement, including fines of up to Dh1 million and imprisonment.

In the case of infringement, it is extremely important to consult an experienced IP attorney to help build and argue your case.

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Can You Nominate Yourself for the Golden Visa? Check Eligibility and Start Your Nomination

The UAE Golden Visa programme has been a hot topic for many aspiring residents, offering long-term residency with numerous privileges.

This article delves into the details of the Golden Visa, including its benefits, eligibility criteria, the nomination process and notable Indian celebrities and businesspeople who have acquired it.

What is the Golden Visa?

The UAE Golden Visa is a long-term residency visa introduced in 2019. It allows foreigners to live, work, and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor and with full ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland. The visa is issued for 5 or 10 years and is renewable.

How to Get a Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is available to various categories of individuals, including investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talents, researchers, and outstanding students. Here's a breakdown of the key categories:

Investors

* Public Investments: Must deposit a minimum of Dh2 million in an accredited UAE investment fund. Alternatively, they can present a commercial or industrial licence with a capital of no less than Dh2 million and contribute at least Dh250,000 annually to the government.

* Real Estate Investors: Must own property or properties valued at a minimum of Dh2 million. The property can be mortgaged, provided the loan is from an approved local bank.

Entrepreneurs

* Entrepreneurs need to own an economic project of a technical or future-oriented nature with a minimum value of Dh500,000. They must obtain approval letters from an auditor, the relevant emirate authorities, and an accredited business incubator in the UAE.

Specialised Talents

* Doctors and Scientists: Require an approval letter from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (for doctors) or a recommendation from the Emirates Council of Scientists (for scientists).

* Inventors: Need a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Economy validating their patent's economic value.

* Creative Individuals: Must have an approval letter from the respective emirate's Department of Culture and Arts.

* Executive Directors: Must hold a bachelor's degree, have at least five years of experience, earn a minimum salary of Dh50,000, and have a valid work contract.

Outstanding Students

* High School Students: Must be national-level toppers with a minimum grade of 95% in secondary school and recommendation from the Ministry of Education.

* University Students: Must graduate from a university rated among the top 100 globally with a GPA of at least 3.5, and it  should not be more than two years since graduation.

Pioneers of Humanitarian Work

* Must have worked for international organisations, civil associations, or as humanitarian financiers with a minimum contribution of Dh2 million. Recognition through awards or recommendations from relevant bodies is required.

Frontline Heroes

* Frontline workers such as nurses, lab technicians, and other medical professionals who have shown exceptional service, particularly during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, may also be eligible with a recommendation from a competent local government entity.

Privileges of Having a Golden Visa

Holding a UAE Golden Visa comes with several benefits:

* Long-term residency: Up to 10 years, renewable.

* Business ownership: 100 per cent ownership of businesses on the mainland.

* Family sponsorship: The visa holder can sponsor their spouse, children, and parents.

* Stability and security: Assurance of long-term residency regardless of employment status.

Indian Celebrities and Businesspeople with Golden Visas

Several high-profile Indian personalities have received the UAE Golden Visa, highlighting the programme's attractiveness:

Shah Rukh Khan: The Bollywood superstar was among the first Indian celebrities to receive the Golden Visa.

Sanjay Dutt: The actor received the Golden Visa, expressing his gratitude for the honour.

Boney Kapoor: The producer was granted the visa in recognition of his contributions to Indian cinema.

Murali Kartik: The former Indian cricketer also holds a Golden Visa, symbolising the UAE’s appreciation of sports personalities.

How Can One Get a Golden Visa?

Even if you don't fit into the high-profile categories, you can still be eligible for the Golden Visa. Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting your nomination:

Check Eligibility: Ensure you meet the criteria under one of the categories (investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talents, or outstanding students).

Prepare Documentation: Gather all required documents, such as passports, investment proofs, business licences, and academic certificates.

Apply Online: Visit the official UAE government portal or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website to submit your application.

Nomination and Review: Your application will be reviewed, and you may be contacted for additional information or an interview. In some instances, individuals might receive pre-approval or nomination from UAE authorities. Nevertheless, if you're not pre-approved, you still have the option to nominate yourself.

Approval and Issuance: Upon approval, you will receive your Golden Visa, allowing you to enjoy the numerous benefits it offers.

The UAE Golden Visa offers an exceptional opportunity for long-term residency, business ownership, and family stability in one of the world's most dynamic regions.

Whether you are an investor, entrepreneur, specialised talent, or outstanding student, the path to securing this prestigious visa is accessible with the right preparation and understanding of the process.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Abu Dhabi Judiciary Department Discusses Cooperation with the Russian Arbitration Centre

In the course of exploring new avenues for improving mediation and conciliation mechanisms to resolve disputes amicably and achieve prompt justice, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department hosted a delegation from the Russian Arbitration Centre to discuss ways to enhance opportunities for joint cooperation in training, with the aim of developing judicial work procedures.

The meeting, held on the sidelines of the delegation’s visit to the headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, was attended by officials from both sides.

It focused on mechanisms for joint coordination to consolidate alternative solutions for resolving disputes, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the UAE, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, aimed at enhancing efforts to support amicable solutions for settling disputes.

The meeting examined cutting-edge techniques to promote alternative dispute resolution, particularly for commercial and economic disputes, and their role in fostering entrepreneurship and creating an environment that is both stimulating and attractive for investments, in accordance with the directives of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and strengthening its position as a regional and global player.

The meeting also covered methods for providing specialised training in judicial work to qualify cadres of conciliators in accordance with the most widely accepted international practices.

These measures would help to improve understanding between the parties involved in civil and business lawsuits and attempt to reach a settlement agreement without going through the formal litigation process.

 

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Was Your Staycation Deposit in Dubai Scammed? Here's How to Get It Back Fast

In the bustling city of Dubai, staycations have become increasingly popular, offering residents a chance to unwind without leaving the emirate.

However, disputes can arise, particularly when it comes to recovering deposits paid for these local getaways. Understanding the process to reclaim these funds is crucial for ensuring a hassle-free experience.


Here’s a comprehensive guide on how residents can claim their money deposited for a staycation with local hotels.

Understanding Your Rights

Residents must first be aware of their rights when booking a staycation. Typically, hotels require a deposit to secure the booking, which is often refundable under certain conditions.

The key is to be familiar with the terms and conditions outlined at the time of booking. These terms detail the circumstances under which a refund is applicable, such as cancellations made within a specified period.

Steps to Claim Your Deposit

Review the Booking Terms and Conditions: Before initiating any claim, carefully review the terms and conditions provided by the hotel at the time of booking.

This document will outline the hotel’s policy on cancellations and refunds. Knowing these details will help in understanding your eligibility for a refund.

Contact the Hotel Directly: The first step in claiming your deposit is to contact the hotel directly. This can be done via email or phone.

Ensure that you have your booking reference number and any related documentation on hand. Clearly state your request for a refund and provide reasons for the cancellation if applicable.


Provide Necessary Documentation:
  Hotels may require specific documents to process your refund.

This can include your booking confirmation, proof of payment, and any correspondence related to the booking. Ensure that you provide all requested documents promptly to avoid delays.

Follow Up: If the hotel does not respond within a reasonable timeframe, follow up with them. Persistence is key.

Keep records of all communications, including dates and times of calls or emails. This documentation can be useful if you need to escalate the matter.

Escalate the Issue if Necessary: If direct communication with the hotel does not resolve the issue, consider escalating the matter.

You can file a complaint with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in Dubai. The DTCM oversees hotel operations and can mediate disputes between hotels and guests.

Seek Legal Advice: As a last resort, if the hotel still refuses to refund your deposit despite following the above steps, you may seek legal advice.

Consulting a lawyer who specialises in consumer rights or contract law can provide guidance on further action, including potential legal proceedings. The lawyer can send a legal notice and further proceed by filing the case in Dubai court and your complete legal expenses can be reimbursed back from the hotel.

Legal Framework

According to the UAE Civil Transactions Law, Article 141 outlines that a contract is formed through mutual agreement on essential elements and legitimate conditions. If these elements are met and disputes arise, a judge can decide on the details.

Article 246(1) emphasises that contracts must be implemented in good faith according to their provisions. If one party fails to fulfil its obligations, the other party can demand compliance or approach the courts for enforcement, as stated in Article 272.

This allows for either the performance or rescission of the contract, potentially with damages.

Conclusion

Claiming a deposit for a staycation in Dubai can be straightforward if you follow the proper steps and understand your rights.

By reviewing booking terms, communicating effectively with the hotel, and knowing when to escalate the issue, residents can ensure they recover their funds efficiently.

 

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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UAE Retirement Age Flexibility: Extending Careers Beyond 60 Years and Promoting Longevity

In the UAE, the standard retirement age for employees is set at 60 years. However, there are provisions and flexibility that allow employees to continue working beyond this age under certain conditions.

According to UAE labour law, the official retirement age is 60 years. This applies to both Emiratis and expatriates working in the country.

However, the UAE government has implemented changes to provide more flexibility. Employees can extend their working years up to the age of 65, provided they obtain the necessary approvals from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 and Ministerial Resolution No. 52 of 1989

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 is a cornerstone of the UAE's labour law framework, providing comprehensive regulations on employment relations. This law, along with subsequent ministerial resolutions, outlines various aspects of employment, including the retirement age.

Ministerial Resolution No. 52 of 1989

Ministerial Resolution No. 52 of 1989 provides specific guidelines related to the recruitment and employment of non-national employees.

Age Limit for Employment: This resolution initially set the maximum age for expatriate employees at 60 years. However, it allows for exceptions if the employee has rare expertise and their role is deemed economically important.

Extension Beyond 60 Years: Since 2011, the MoHRE has been accepting requests for work permits for employees aged between 60 and 65 years. This extension is contingent upon approval, which considers the employee's qualifications and the nature of their job.

Flexibility and Recent Updates

While the primary law and resolution provide a framework, recent updates and government policies have introduced more flexibility:

Retirement Age Flexibility: MoHRE's acceptance of work permit requests for employees beyond 60 years up to 65 years allows experienced professionals to continue contributing to the workforce. This is particularly relevant for roles requiring specialised skills.

Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021: This newer legislation, along with its executive regulations, continues to uphold the principles of the 1980 law but introduces modern provisions to address evolving employment needs and practices.

These laws and resolutions collectively aim to balance the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, while adapting to the economic and demographic changes in the UAE.

Free Zones and Other Exceptions

It is important to note that free zones in the UAE may have different regulations regarding retirement age. These zones have the autonomy to set their own policies, which might allow for different retirement ages or procedures for extending employment beyond the standard age.

Benefits of Continuing Employment

Continuing to work beyond the age of 60 can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Employees can maintain their income and remain active in their professional fields, while employers can retain experienced and skilled workers who contribute significantly to their business operations.

 

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UAE Announces 10-Year Validity for Passports of Citizens Aged 21 and Above

In a significant policy shift, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the extension of the validity period for passports for its citizens. Effective immediately, Emirati citizens aged 21 and above will be issued passports with a 10-year validity period.

This move aims to streamline the passport renewal process and reduce the frequency of renewals, thereby saving time and effort for citizens. For those under 21, the passport validity will remain at five years.

The announcement was made by the UAE government on July 8, 2024. The government emphasised the benefits of the extended validity period in terms of convenience and efficiency, aligning with the UAE's ongoing efforts to modernise its administrative processes and provide user-friendly services to its citizens.

The UAE government has assured that the new passports will be issued through the same procedures and channels as the current ones. Citizens can apply for their passports through the official government portals, ensuring a seamless transition to the new system. This includes online applications, in-person submissions at passport offices, and through authorised service centres.

The extension of the passport validity period to 10 years aligns with global standards, making international travel more convenient for Emirati citizens. Many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and several European nations, already issue passports with a 10-year validity for adult citizens.

This change is expected to facilitate smoother travel experiences for Emiratis, reducing the need for frequent renewals and associated bureaucratic processes.

By extending the validity period of passports, the UAE government aims to reduce the administrative burden on both citizens and governmental authorities. This policy is part of a broader effort to enhance the efficiency of government services and improve the overall quality of life for Emirati citizens.

The extended validity period will result in fewer applications and renewals, allowing government resources to be allocated more effectively.
This policy change reflects the UAE’s commitment to providing the best services to its people and enhancing their quality of life.

The 10-year passport validity is a testament to the country's dedication to innovative governance and efficient administrative processes.

As the UAE continues to modernise its public services, this initiative is expected to have a positive impact on the lives of Emirati citizens, further strengthening the nation’s reputation as a leader in forward-looking governance.

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Boeing Agrees to Plead Guilty to Fraud in US Investigation of Fatal 737 MAX Crashes

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge and pay a fine of $243.6 million to resolve a US Justice Department investigation into two 737 MAX fatal crashes, the government said in a court filing.

The plea deal, which requires a judge's approval, would brand the planemaker a convicted felon in connection with crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia over a five-month period in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

The settlement drew swift criticism from victims' families who wanted Boeing to face a trial and suffer harsher financial consequences.

The Justice Department's (DOJ) push to charge Boeing has deepened an ongoing crisis engulfing Boeing since a separate January in-flight blowout exposed continuing safety and quality issues at the planemaker.

A guilty plea potentially threatens the company's ability to secure lucrative government contracts with the likes of the US Defense Department and NASA, although it could seek waivers.

Boeing became exposed to criminal prosecution after the Justice Department in May found the company violated a 2021 settlement involving the fatal crashes.

Still, the plea spares Boeing a contentious trial that could have exposed the company's decisions ahead of the fatal crashes to even greater public scrutiny. It would also make it easier for the planemaker, which will have a new CEO later this year, to try to move forward as it seeks approval for its planned acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems.

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How to Legally Send Your Maid Back Home: Steps to Cancel a Work Permit in the UAE

As an employer in the UAE, you may need to send your domestic worker back to their home country for various reasons, such as the completion of their contract, personal reasons, or changes in your household needs.

It is essential to follow the correct legal procedures to cancel their work permit and ensure a smooth and lawful exit from the UAE.

The UAE government has established a clear process to assist employers in this situation, ensuring that both the rights of the domestic worker and the legal requirements of the UAE are respected.

Understanding this process is crucial to avoid any legal complications and to provide a respectful and dignified departure for your domestic worker.

Understanding the Legal Framework

The cancellation of a work permit in the UAE is governed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

This process is part of the broader framework designed to regulate the employment of domestic workers, ensuring their rights and welfare are protected while allowing employers to manage their household staff effectively.

The process includes several steps, from gathering necessary documentation to finalising the worker’s departure and involves both online and offline procedures.

Following these steps meticulously will not only comply with UAE laws but also support a positive and professional relationship with your domestic worker. Here’s a detailed guide on how to proceed with the cancellation of the work permit.

Steps to Cancel the Work Permit

1. Gather Required Documents

     *Passport of the domestic worker
     * Residence visa of the domestic worker
     * Employment contract
     * Sponsor’s Emirates ID
     * Domestic worker’s labour card (if applicable)

2. Visit a Typing Centre or Use Online Services

     * Passport of the domestic worker
     * Residence visa of the domestic worker
     * Employment contract
     * Sponsor’s Emirates ID
     * Domestic worker’s labour card (if applicable)

2. Visit a Typing Centre or Use Online Services

     * Go to an approved typing centre to fill out the cancellation form.
     * Alternatively, you can use the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) online portal to submit the application.

3. Submit the Application

     * Provide all the necessary documents and the completed cancellation form at the typing centre.
     * If applying online, upload scanned copies of the required documents.

4. Pay the Cancellation Fees

     * Pay the necessary fees for the cancellation process. Fees can vary, so it is advisable to check the latest information on the MoHRE website.

5. Receive the Cancellation Approval

     * Once the application is processed, you will receive an approval notification.
     * This approval is essential for the next steps, as it officially cancels the work permit and residence visa.

6. Book a Flight for the Domestic Worker

    * Arrange a flight for the domestic worker to their home country.
    * Ensure the travel date is within the grace period provided after the cancellation of the visa.

7. Complete the Exit Procedures

    * On the day of departure, accompany the domestic worker to the airport.
    * Ensure all final exit formalities are completed, including presenting the cancellation approval at immigration.

8. Settle Final Dues

    * Pay any outstanding wages or end-of-service benefits to the domestic worker.
    * Obtain a receipt or written acknowledgment from the domestic worker for the payment.

Important Considerations

    * Grace Period: After cancelling the work permit, the domestic worker usually has a 30-day grace period to exit the country.
    * End-of-Service Benefits: Make sure to calculate and pay any end-of-service benefits as per the UAE labour law.
    * Legal Compliance: Following the correct procedure ensures that both the sponsor and the domestic worker remain compliant with UAE laws.

Conclusion

Cancelling a work permit and ensuring a smooth exit for your domestic worker involves several steps that need to be carefully followed.

By adhering to the guidelines provided by the MoHRE and other official sources, you can facilitate a lawful and    respectful departure for your domestic worker. For more detailed information, always refer to the official MoHRE website or contact their customer service for assistance

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Meghan Markle Faces Fresh Legal Battle as Samantha Appeals Defamation Case

Meghan Markle faces another potential court battle as her sister, Samantha Markle, prepares to challenge a previous defamation lawsuit that ruled in the duchess' favour, "readying revenge," according to reports.
Samantha is set to take her case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, with her lawyers due to file their initial brief by this month, according to Express UK. She originally filed the case against Meghan in March 2022.


Samantha's legal team argues that the court failed to consider the "cumulative" meaning of Meghan's remarks, which they claim were "disparaging, hurtful and false," portraying Samantha as "a stranger, a liar, and... a deceptive fame-seeking imposter with avaricious intentions."
"The cumulative inferences and remarks made by (Meghan) have resulted in a cumulative meaning, which the court did not consider," the court documents state.


"In March 2024, Meghan secured a legal victory when Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell dismissed Samantha's defamation case against her, stating that the duchess “barely mentioned Samantha, only noting that at some point during Meghan's childhood, Samantha moved out of her father's house”.
Samantha had accused Meghan of defamation and defamation by implication, primarily based on statements Meghan made during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, where she suggested she grew up as an only child and began using the Markle surname "when I (Meghan) started dating Harry." Samantha was seeking a minimum of $75,000 in damages.


"I was with my mum during the week and with my dad on the weekends," the Suits star said in their Netflix documentary. "And my dad lived alone; he had two adult children who had moved out of his house."
She added, "I don't remember seeing her (Samantha) when I was a kid at my dad's house, if and when they would come around."
The judge found that Samantha "failed to identify any statements that could support a claim for defamation."
Judge Honeywell dismissed Samantha's case "with prejudice." She found the claim that Samantha only started using the Markle surname after Meghan's relationship with Prince Harry became public to be "substantially true," based on the evidence presented.
"That Plaintiff used one last name and then the name Markle soon after reports of Defendant's relationship with Prince Harry were published is substantially true, based on the exhibits in the record, of which the Court has taken judicial notice," Judge Honeywell wrote in her ruling.
Samantha also cited other statements in the royal biography Finding Freedom and the Netflix series Harry & Meghan as part of her case. However, the judge dismissed the case "with prejudice."


"Plaintiff's claims will be dismissed with prejudice, as she has failed to identify any statements that could support a claim for defamation or defamation-by-implication by this point, her third try at amending her complaint, in either the book Finding Freedom, the Netflix series Harry & Meghan, or Defendant and her husband's hour-long televised CBS Interview," the judge concluded.

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Can't Allow Victim Shaming as Legal Strategy in Sexual Assault Cases: Delhi High Court

Shaming a victim and her family must not be allowed as tools of legal strategy in cases of sexual offences against minors as it deters them from reporting such offences to the authorities, the Delhi High Court has said.


Upholding the three-year jail term awarded to a house help for secretly recording objectionable videos of the minor daughter of his employer on his mobile phone, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma also discouraged taking a “lenient view” in such cases.
She asserted that judicial pronouncements that recognise the profound impact of voyeurism put a “healing balm” on the wounds of victims of such harassment and assault.


The accused challenged his conviction by the trial court in an appeal before the high court on several grounds including that the videos were prepared and planted by the father of the victim because he did not want to pay his salary.


Terming the contention “insensitive” and “unthinkable”, Justice Sharma said the court must uphold the dignity and rights of not only the child victims but also their families, and that the justice system has a paramount duty to protect the most vulnerable, particularly children, from any form of secondary trauma caused by unjust accusations or demeaning narratives.


“The Court must, therefore, take a firm stand against any attempts to malign the character of child victims or use victim shaming and victim family shaming as tools and pawns in legal strategies. Victim shaming and victim’s family shaming must not be allowed as it will be a deterrent and road block in the real victims reporting such offences to the authorities,” said the court in its judgement passed on July 1.


The court held that the material on record and the testimonies of the witnesses clearly established the case of the prosecution that the appellant had made three objectionable videos of the victim and the trial court rightly convicted him under Sections 354C (voyeurism) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty) IPC, and under Section 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the POCSO Act.


The court also refused to reduce the punishment of three-year imprisonment, saying if the accused was a young man of 22 years of age at the time of incident, the victim was also 17 years old when she suffered a “life-long trauma” within the safety and privacy of her own home.


“The appellant had stealthily recorded videos, an act beyond imagination or expectation of the child victim or her family. This trauma severely impacted her ability to concentrate on her studies and career, ultimately leading her to leave the country for higher studies as she could not continue in the same place where she had been a victim of sexual harassment,” the court observed.


The court said it “shudders to think” if the videos were shared by the appellant or were misused by him in any other manner.
“Taking a lenient view in such cases will also discourage the real victims of such offences. The judiciary helps set societal norms and expectations regarding the protection of children by consistently condemning voyeuristic acts and emphasising the sanctity of a child’s privacy and dignity,” said the court as it dismissed the accused’s appeal.

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India Overhauls Criminal Laws: New Framework Enhances Protections, Updates Procedures

India has undertaken a significant legislative overhaul with the introduction of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA).
These new laws, set to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Indian Evidence Act respectively, aim to modernise the criminal justice system and address contemporary legal challenges.

Importance of the Amendments

The primary objective of these amendments is to update the colonial-era laws that have governed India's criminal justice system for over a century. By addressing modern crimes and incorporating contemporary judicial practices, these new laws aim to enhance the efficiency, responsiveness, and fairness of the legal system.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC)

The IPC, enacted in 1860, has been the foundation of criminal law in India. It defined various offences and prescribed punishments but lacked provisions for many modern crimes.

Changes in the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS)

* Modern Crimes: The BNS introduces provisions for cybercrimes, environmental offences and economic crimes. It criminalises actions like identity theft, online harassment and financial fraud.
* Protection for Women and Children: The BNS consolidates offences against women and children, providing stringent penalties for crimes like sexual harassment and child exploitation. It also criminalises sexual intercourse under false promises of marriage, employment, or promotion.
* Community Service: Introduced as a punishment for minor offences, community service reflects a shift towards a reformative approach.
* Reclassification of Offences: Several offences have been reclassified and renumbered. For instance, murder is now under Section 101, and sedition is under Section 150.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)

The CrPC, established in 1973, outlined the procedural aspects of criminal law, including investigation, arrest, bail, and trial procedures.

Changes in the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS)

* Forensic Investigations: Forensic investigation is mandatory for offences punishable with seven years of imprisonment or more, enhancing the quality of evidence.
* Digital Procedures: Trials, inquiries and proceedings can be conducted electronically, modernising the judicial process and speeding up case resolution.
* Detention and Custody Rules: The BNSS modifies rules related to detention and custody, potentially expanding police powers and addressing issues like absconding offenders.

The Indian Evidence Act

The Indian Evidence Act of 1872 defined the rules of evidence admissibility and the types of evidence acceptable in court.

Changes in the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA)

* Electronic Evidence: The BSA includes provisions for the admissibility of electronic and digital evidence, reflecting the importance of technology in modern legal proceedings.
* Timelines for Judicial Processes: The BSA sets specific timelines for various judicial procedures, aiming to reduce delays and enhance the efficiency of the justice system.

Changes in the Power of Police

Increased Detention Periods: The BNSS allows for extended periods of police custody, which can be authorised in parts during the initial 40 or 60 days of the 60- or 90-day period of judicial custody. This change potentially expands police powers, allowing for more extended interrogation periods.
* Forensic Evidence Collection: Police officers now have broader authority to request medical examinations and collect forensic evidence, which includes taking finger impressions and voice samples from individuals not under arrest. This aims to improve the quality and integrity of evidence collected during investigations.
* Handling of Proclaimed Offenders: If a proclaimed offender absconds to evade trial, the BNSS permits the trial to be conducted and judgement to be pronounced in the absence of the offender. This provision ensures that justice is not delayed due to the offender's evasion.
* Electronic and Digital Evidence: Police officers are empowered to collect and present electronic communication devices likely to contain digital evidence, ensuring comprehensive and modern investigative techniques.

Grey Areas and Challenges

* Implementation and Enforcement: Effective implementation and enforcement of these new laws remain a significant challenge. Law enforcement agencies need adequate training and resources to adapt to these changes.
* Judicial Interpretation: The success of these laws will heavily depend on judicial interpretation. Ambiguities in the provisions could lead to varied interpretations, impacting the consistency of justice delivery.
* Balancing Modernity and Tradition: The new laws aim to modernise the legal framework while respecting traditional values, a complex balancing act in a diverse society like India.

How the New Laws Will Help Citizens

* Enhanced Protection: The new laws provide enhanced protection for vulnerable populations, including women and children, by introducing stricter penalties for crimes against them.
* Efficient Justice: By modernising procedural laws and incorporating technology, the new laws aim to expedite the judicial process, reducing delays and ensuring timely justice.
* Addressing Modern Crimes: The inclusion of provisions for cybercrimes, environmental offences and economic crimes ensures that the legal system is equipped to handle contemporary challenges effectively.

Conclusion

The introduction of the BNS, BNSS, and BSA represents a significant step towards creating a more responsive, efficient, and fair criminal justice system in India. These laws address the shortcomings of the colonial-era legal framework and incorporate modern legal practices to better serve the needs of citizens in the 21st century.

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WhatsApp Messages Can't Be Used as Evidence Without Certificate: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court recently stated that WhatsApp conversations cannot be considered as evidence without a proper certificate as required under the Evidence Act, 1872.


The HC was considering a plea by Dell International Services India Private Ltd against a December 12, 2023, order of the Delhi State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, which upheld the district consumer commission’s July 2023 order.
The District Commission had declined to accept Dell's written statement because it was filed after the limitation period. The complainant had lodged a complaint against Dell in 2022.


Dell submitted a screenshot of a conversation between itself and the complainant to demonstrate that it had not received the complete copy of the complaint and its annexures. This was handed over to Dell’s counsel before the District Commission on January 31, 2023.
In its order dated July 2, a single judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that the District Commission had thoroughly examined the matter and requested postal receipts for the documents sent with the summons, which Dell received on December 23, 2022.


The HC stated: "The District Commission analysed the documents sent with the summons and postal charges, and concluded that a complete set of documents was sent along with the summons and received by the Petitioner (Dell) on 23.12.2022."


The District Commission then held that Dell's application for condonation of a seven-day delay in filing its written statement was "not bona fide."
Justice Prasad subsequently remarked: "The screenshot of WhatsApp conversations cannot be considered by this Court in a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, there is no evidence that these conversations were submitted before the State Commission, as they are not referenced in the current Writ Petition nor discussed in the State Commission's Order. In any case, WhatsApp conversations cannot be admitted as evidence without the necessary certificate under the Evidence Act, 1872."


The HC also noted that Dell filed its Written Statement only on January 31 last year, claiming it had not received a complete set of documents with the summons, despite a complete set being served alongside the summons.


"In light of the above, this Court finds no reason to overturn the District Commission's decision to reject the request for condonation of delay in filing the written submission. Accordingly, the Writ Petition is dismissed," the HC concluded.

 

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African Expat on Trial for Exploiting Bank's WhatsApp Payment System to Steal Dh74,500

A Dubai resident is standing trial for stealing Dh74,500 by exploiting a loophole in a local bank's credit card payment system.
The bank had a feature that allowed users to settle credit card dues via WhatsApp, but the accused African expat discovered a flaw: By adding a negative sign (-), the entered amount would be transferred to a bank account instead of being deducted.
Court records show that he used this tactic for two consecutive days and was able to steal Dh74,500, which the banking system erroneously credited into his account even if the card didn't have the necessary funds.
He reportedly transferred the amount to an account in another local bank and withdrew the money on the same day.
The fraudulent transactions were detected by the victim bank’s accounting and IT department, which led to an internal review of the accused’s account. Upon discovering the unauthorised transactions, the bank officials reported the incident to the police at Al Muraqqabat Station.
The man was then apprehended, and a white iPhone Pro Max 15, believed to have been used in committing the crime, was seized from him.
During the investigation, an IT specialist at the victim bank testified that the flaw was discovered during a routine audit in February.
The accused denied the charges, claiming that his phone had been hacked on the dates of the transactions on February 2 and 3. He also argued that he believed the funds were transferred by someone with whom he had previous financial dealings.
In addition to the criminal charges, the bank filed a civil lawsuit against the man, seeking Dh51,000 in damages.
The court has referred the civil claim to the competent civil court for further deliberation, pending the final outcome of the criminal case.

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Dubai Expatriates Can Now Complete Medical Tests for Visa Renewal from Home

Doorstep Service: Dubai Expats Can Now Complete Medical Tests for Visa Renewal from Home

The initiative is in line with the Emirates Health Services' vision of expanding healthcare services

By: Pavitra Shetty

In a move set to revolutionise the residency visa renewal process for expatriates in Dubai, VFS Global and AMH have launched the 'Medical Examination Doorstep Service'. This innovative service allows expats with UAE residence visas to complete their medical exams without leaving the comfort of their homes.


Designed as a premium offering, the Medical Examination Doorstep Service is available through VFS Global, catering specifically to Category A visa holders. This optional add-on complements the standard medical examination services provided at designated centres.
This initiative is in line with the Emirates Health Services' (EHS) vision of expanding healthcare services. It offers a seamless experience for customers, who can book their medical examination appointments directly from their homes or offices through an online or offline process.
The launch of this service underscores VFS Global's commitment to enhancing customer experiences and aligns with EHS' goal of creating a more accessible and convenient healthcare system. Expats in Dubai and other emirates will likely find this service a valuable addition when renewing their visas.


The partnership between VFS Global and AMH also demonstrates a commitment to providing accessible and efficient healthcare solutions. By streamlining the medical examination process, expat visa holders can now conveniently complete this requirement from their homes or offices.
VFS Global operates two physical Medical Examination Centres for EHS, located in Ibn Battuta Mall and Dragon Mart 2, ensuring broad access to medical services across Dubai.


As a leading outsourcing and technology service specialist, VFS Global embraces technological innovation, including Generative AI, to support governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages non-judgemental and administrative tasks related to applications for visas, passports, and consular services, boosting productivity and enabling governments to focus on the critical task of assessment.
With a responsible approach to technology development, adoption, and integration, VFS Global prioritises ethical practices and sustainability while serving as a trusted partner to 68 governments. Operating 3,450 Application Centres in 151 countries, VFS Global has processed over 290 million applications since 2001 and more than 137.1 million biometric enrolments since 2007.


Headquartered in Zurich and Dubai, and backed by majority shareholder Blackstone, along with the Swiss-based Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation and EQT, VFS Global is dedicated to creating value for all stakeholders. The company leads in providing responsible, innovative solutions to make government services more effective and efficient.


With extensive experience in the visa application processing domain and a vast global network, VFS Global offers governments administrative solutions for processing passport applications and efficient consular services. This market leader in outsourced visa and consular services helps governments streamline operations, accelerate decision-making, and improve customer satisfaction.


VFS Global's role is limited to front-end administrative tasks, including collecting visa application forms, required documentation as per the respective government's checklist, and enrolling biometrics where applicable.

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Schengen Visa Delays: Here’s Your Complete Guide to Stress-Free European Travel

For many UAE residents, a trip to Europe is an exciting prospect. However, recent delays in the processing of Schengen visas have left many travellers anxious. If you’re planning a European getaway, here’s a comprehensive guide to securing your entry permits without stress.

Understanding the Schengen Visa Delay

The Schengen Area comprises 27 European countries that have abolished border controls between them. To visit these countries, UAE residents need a Schengen visa. However, in recent months, the processing time for these visas has increased significantly. Several factors contribute to the delays, including the surge in post-pandemic travel, administrative bottlenecks and changes in visa application procedures.

Plan Ahead

The most critical piece of advice is to start your visa application process as early as possible. Ideally, you should begin the process at least three months before your intended travel date. Early planning allows you to navigate any unforeseen delays without jeopardising your travel plans.

Step-by-Step Guide to a Stress-Free Application

  1. Choose the Right Visa Type: Ensure you apply for the correct type of Schengen visa based on the purpose of your visit -- tourism, business, study, or family visit.

Tourist Visa

* Purpose: For leisure travel, sightseeing and visiting cultural or historical sites.
* Documentation: Proof of accommodation (hotel bookings or invitation letter from a host), travel itinerary and proof of financial means to support your stay.

Business Visa

* Purpose: For attending business meetings, conferences, or other professional engagements.
* Documentation: Invitation letter from the business partner or organisation in the Schengen Area, detailed itinerary of the business activities and proof of employment in the UAE (employment contract, company letter).

Study Visa

* Purpose: For attending educational courses, training programmes, or academic research.
* Documentation: Acceptance letter from the educational institution in the Schengen Area, proof of accommodation, and financial means to cover your stay and studies.

Family Visit Visa

* Purpose: For visiting family members or friends residing in the Schengen Area.
* Documentation: Invitation letter from the host, proof of relationship (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate), host’s proof of residence in the Schengen Area and proof of financial means for the visit.

  1. Gather Necessary Documents: Prepare a comprehensive list of required documents. Typically, this includes:
    * Completed visa application form
    * Passport-sized photographs
    * Valid passport (with at least two blank pages and validity extending three months beyond your stay)
    * Travel itinerary (flight bookings, accommodation details)
    * Travel insurance (covering at least €30,000)
    * Proof of financial means (bank statements, sponsorship letters)
    * Invitation letter (if visiting family or friends)
  2. Book an Appointment: Schedule an appointment at the visa application centre of the Schengen country you plan to enter first or spend the most time in. Due to high demand, appointment slots may be limited, so book early.
  3. Submit Your Application: On the appointment day, submit your application along with the required documents. Ensure that your paperwork is complete and organised to avoid any delays.
  4. Biometric Data Collection: Be prepared to provide biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) during your appointment, a mandatory requirement for first-time applicants and those whose biometric data is older than 59 months.
  5. Track Your Application: After submission, use the tracking services provided by the visa application centre to monitor the status of your application. This helps you stay informed about any updates or additional requirements.

Mitigating Delays: Tips and Tricks

  • Use Expedited Services: Some visa application centres offer premium or expedited services at an additional cost. These services can reduce processing times significantly.
    • Consult a Travel Agent: Professional travel agents specialising in visa services can provide invaluable assistance in ensuring that your application is error-free and complete.
    • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of any changes in visa regulations or processing times by regularly checking the official websites of the respective consulates and visa application centres.

Alternatives to the Schengen Visa

In some cases, you might consider alternative destinations with less stringent visa requirements or visa-free access for UAE residents. Countries like Albania, Georgia, and Serbia offer beautiful European experiences without the hassle of a Schengen visa.

Conclusion

While the current delays in Schengen visa processing can be frustrating, careful planning and adherence to guidelines can help ensure a smooth and stress-free application process. By starting early, preparing meticulously, and staying informed, UAE residents can still look forward to enjoying their European adventures.

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£4M Reward Offered for Capture of ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova, Mastermind Behind OneCoin Scam

In a significant escalation of efforts to apprehend Ruja Ignatova, notorious for her role in the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam, US authorities have increased the reward for information leading to her arrest to £4 million.
Ignatova, a Bulgarian-born German national, has been on the run since 2017 when she disappeared amid mounting investigations into her £3.3 billion fraud scheme.


Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department, underscored the gravity of Ignatova's alleged crimes, labelling them as among "the largest global fraud schemes in history." The reward increase, part of the Transnational Organised Crime Reward Programme, reflects the seriousness with which US authorities are treating the case.
Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen," orchestrated one of the largest cryptocurrency scams in history through a fraudulent scheme known as OneCoin. Here are the detailed aspects of her alleged crimes:


Creation of OneCoin: Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014, presenting it as a legitimate cryptocurrency akin to Bitcoin. However, unlike Bitcoin and other genuine cryptocurrencies that operate on blockchain technology, OneCoin operated on a centralised platform without a genuine blockchain.


False Promises and Pyramid Scheme: Ignatova and her associates aggressively promoted OneCoin, promising investors high returns and significant profits through its multi-level marketing structure. Investors were misled into believing that OneCoin held promising prospects and substantial market value, despite lacking any genuine technological basis or transparency.


Global Fraud: OneCoin was marketed globally, targeting investors across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The scheme allegedly defrauded investors of billions of dollars, with estimates suggesting losses exceeding $4.5 billion.


Legal and Regulatory Issues: As suspicions mounted and investigations intensified, authorities in numerous countries began scrutinising OneCoin. By 2017, investigations by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, uncovered the fraudulent nature of OneCoin, resulting in legal actions against Ignatova and her associates.


Ruja Ignatova's alleged crimes illustrate the risks associated with unregulated financial schemes and the importance of due diligence in investing, particularly in emerging sectors like cryptocurrency. Her case has underscored the need for stronger regulatory oversight and investor protection in the digital currency space.


Ignatova's case marks a rare instance where a woman has been targeted under the US reward programme, standing alongside high-profile targets like Daniel Kinahan, implicated in European drug cartels, Semion Mogilevich, an alleged Russia-based crime boss, and Yulan Adonay Archaga Carías, known as "Porky," a senior member of the MS-13 gang in Honduras.


The pursuit of Ignatova has garnered international attention, with legal experts noting the intricate legal challenges surrounding extradition and international cooperation in financial crime cases of this magnitude. Authorities continue to urge individuals with pertinent information on Ignatova's whereabouts or activities to come forward, emphasising the substantial reward as an incentive for cooperation.
The saga surrounding Ruja Ignatova, dubbed the "Cryptoqueen," underscores the complexities and international dimensions of modern financial crimes, resonating deeply within both the cryptocurrency community and law enforcement circles worldwide.

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Legal Services at its Best: NYK Law Firm Fast Emerging as a Prominent Player in the UAE


With nearly 600 legal firms operating in the UAE, their role in facilitating legal matters for individuals and companies cannot be overstated.

These entities represent more than just groups of lawyers; they are cohesive units dedicated to offering professional legal advice and comprehensive support across various fields.

Amidst a landscape characterised by legal complexities and numerous challenges, NYK Law Firm stands out as a distinguished legal partner.

Recently, Managing Partner Nasser Yousuf Al Khamis discussed how the firm is rapidly gaining recognition as a premier legal service provider in the UAE. He emphasised the firm's deep understanding of the country's legal system and its adeptness at efficiently adapting to clients' evolving needs.

"Identifying the right legal professionals to address your concerns can often be a time-consuming endeavor. However, with NYK Law Firm, you gain access to premier legal consultants in the UAE, ensuring the swift and effective resolution of all your legal matters," Nasser said.

NYK Law Firm, one of the leading legal consultants in Dubai, is renowned for its unparalleled legal expertise in the region.

With a team of over 40 elite lawyers dedicated to providing exceptional advice, they cover a broad spectrum of practice areas, including dispute resolution, corporate and commercial matters, technology, banking and finance, real estate and construction, oil and gas, labour and employment, arbitration, intellectual property, free zone and offshore laws and regulations, among others.

Whether clients are multinational corporations, foreign investors, or individuals with international legal concerns, NYK Law Firm serves as a trusted legal partner.

With a proven track record of success and a reputation for excellence, they are proud to be recognised as one of the UAE's best local law firm with international practice.

"Committed to ensuring client satisfaction, NYK Law Firm prioritises personalised attention and open communication throughout the legal process. We cater to both individuals and companies, and our top-tier lawyers offer support across various legal matters, including commercial law, corporate law, criminal law, property law and employment law in Dubai.

Our team brings a dynamic blend of international and Emirati legal expertise, with extensive experience in navigating business setups across different jurisdictions," Nasser said.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each case is very important, says Nasser. "NYK takes the time to understand clients' concerns and develops customised strategies to achieve their goals effectively," he added.

With strategically located offices across the UAE, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, NYK Law Firm has set a standard for navigating the intricate complexities of international law in the region.

Their commitment to excellence and dedication to clients distinguish them as an unrivaled leader in the field.

"With expertise across a broad spectrum of practice areas, NYK Law Firm addresses the unique needs of our international clientele.

What truly distinguishes the firm is our relentless focus on client satisfaction," Nasser said, adding that "we prioritise personalised attention and tailored solutions for every client, providing strategic guidance and expert representation at every step."

Clients seeking assistance with any legal need are encouraged to contact NYK Law Firm, allowing them to navigate the complexities of international law with confidence and peace of mind.

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Dubai: 23-Year-Old Fined Dh30,000 and Banned from Money Transfers Due to Drug Use

A 23-year-old Arab man was fined Dh30,000 and prohibited from transferring or depositing money to others, or through others, for two years after being found guilty of drug use.
The Dubai Criminal Court imposed the fine for his involvement in illegal activities related to drug use and money transfers. The judges clarified that the accused can only use banking services with permission from the Central Bank of the UAE, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior.
On January 16, 2024, Al Barsha Police Station discovered that the accused had consumed two psychoactive substances -- methamphetamine and amphetamine -- for the second time without a legal prescription, as confirmed by official records.
Prosecutors stated that he paid for the drugs by transferring money to a bank account belonging to another person.
According to the case details, the accused had been undergoing periodic drug testing since July 14, 2023, following his release from prison. He had agreed to regular and surprise drug tests and to provide urine samples.
On February 16, 2024, he provided a urine sample during a scheduled visit, which later tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine, according to a forensic report.
During the public prosecution’s investigation, the accused admitted to purchasing crystal meth for Dh150 and depositing this amount through an ATM. The drugs were then delivered to him at a specified location in Dubai.
In court, the accused appeared via video call from detention and confessed to the charges. After reviewing the evidence and testimonies, the court found him guilty.
The judges stated that if the fine is not paid, the accused will face imprisonment for one day for every Dh100 unpaid, starting from 23 April 2024.

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Lawyer-Turned-Politician Keir Starmer Set to Become Next British PM as Labour Wins Polls

 

Keir Starmer will become Britain's next Prime Minister as his Labour Party won a massive majority in the UK's parliamentary election. Rishi Sunak conceded defeat in the national election on Friday.
The result brought the curtain down on 14 years of increasingly tumultuous Conservative-led government.
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer is an ex-human rights lawyer and public prosecutor who will have to focus his relentless work ethic and methodical mind on fixing the country.
As Sunak conceded his defeat, 61-year-old Starmer will be the oldest person to become British Prime Minister in almost half a century -- and comes just nine years since he was first elected to parliament.
In 2003, he began moving towards the establishment, shocking colleagues and friends, first with a job ensuring police in Northern Ireland complied with human rights legislation.
Five years later, he was appointed director of public prosecutions (DPP) for England and Wales when Labour's Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.
Between 2008 and 2013, Starmer oversaw the prosecution of MPs for abusing their expenses, journalists for phone-hacking, and young rioters involved in unrest across England.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, but rarely uses the prefix "Sir", and in 2015 was elected as a member of Parliament, representing a seat in left-leaning north London.
Just weeks before he was elected, his mother died of a rare disease of the joints that had left her unable to walk for many years.
In 2020, Keir Starmer was elected to lead Britain's Labour Party, right after the party suffered its worst general election defeat in 85 years.
Starmer and Labour have also, indisputably, capitalised on years of economic pain and political chaos under the Conservative Party, who look set to have their parliamentary majority eviscerated.

Personal Life

Born on September 2, 1962, Keir Rodney Starmer was raised in a cramped, pebble-dashed semi-detached house on the outskirts of London by a seriously ill mother and an emotionally distant father.
He had three siblings, one of whom had learning difficulties. His parents were animal lovers who rescued donkeys.
A talented musician, Starmer had violin lessons at school with Norman Cook, the former Housemartins bassist who became DJ Fatboy Slim.
After legal studies at the universities of Leeds and Oxford, Starmer turned his attention to leftist causes, defending trade unions, anti-McDonald's activists and death row inmates abroad.

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NFL Faces Major Lawsuit Over Player Safety: Former Stars Alleging Fraud Seek Compensation

The National Football League (NFL) is facing a significant legal challenge as a coalition of former players and their families have filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that the league failed to adequately protect its players from the long-term health risks associated with concussions and other head injuries.


The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses the NFL of negligence and fraud, claiming that the league had been aware of the dangers of repetitive head trauma for decades but deliberately downplayed the risks to players. The plaintiffs contend that the NFL prioritised profits and entertainment value over the health and safety of its athletes.


According to the complaint, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages. The lawsuit also calls for the establishment of a medical monitoring program for current and former players to ensure early detection and treatment of neurological disorders.


John Doe, a former linebacker and one of the lead plaintiffs in the case, spoke at a press conference announcing the lawsuit. "We dedicated our lives to this game, and we trusted the NFL to look out for us," Doe said. "But instead, they turned a blind eye to the evidence and put us in harm's way. It's time for the league to take responsibility for the damage they've caused."


The lawsuit highlights several key pieces of evidence, including internal NFL documents and emails that purportedly show the league's knowledge of the risks associated with concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found in many former football players. The plaintiffs also point to recent research linking repeated head injuries to severe cognitive and behavioural problems later in life.


In response to the lawsuit, the NFL released a statement expressing sympathy for the players and their families but denying any wrongdoing. "Player safety has always been a top priority for the NFL," the statement read. "We have implemented numerous protocols and programmes to protect our players and will continue to do so. We believe this lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend against these claims."


This legal battle is not the first of its kind for the NFL. In 2013, the league reached a $765 million settlement with thousands of former players who had filed a similar lawsuit over concussion-related injuries. However, critics argue that the settlement did not go far enough in addressing the needs of affected players and their families.


Legal experts suggest that this new lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for the NFL and professional sports as a whole. "If the plaintiffs are successful, it could open the door for more lawsuits and potentially lead to significant changes in how sports leagues handle player safety," said Dr Jane Smith, a professor of sports law at Columbia University.


As the case moves forward, it is expected to draw considerable attention from the media, fans, and the broader sports community. With the health and well-being of current and former players at stake, the outcome of this lawsuit could have a lasting impact on the future of professional football in the United States.

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Oman Considers Introducing Income Tax in Bid to Diversify Revenue Sources

Oman is considering the introduction of income tax as part of its efforts to diversify revenue sources and enhance fiscal stability. This potential shift marks a departure from the country's longstanding policy of not imposing personal income taxes, relying instead on oil revenues and indirect taxation.
The discussions come as Oman seeks to reduce its dependence on fluctuating oil prices and secure sustainable income streams. Historically, Oman has maintained a tax-free environment to attract expatriates and businesses seeking favourable fiscal conditions.

However, with global economic dynamics evolving and oil revenues becoming increasingly unpredictable, Oman faces pressure to secure stable funding for infrastructure, social programmes and economic diversification. Introducing income tax could provide a reliable revenue source for these initiatives.

The potential introduction of income tax will undergo careful consideration and consultation with stakeholders, including government officials, economists and the public. Proponents argue that such a measure could enhance fiscal stability and support long-term economic resilience amidst global economic uncertainties.

Critics and some segments of the population may express concerns about the potential impact on disposable income and the overall cost of living. Balancing these considerations will be crucial as Oman weighs the pros and cons of this fiscal policy shift.

While specific details and timelines for the implementation of income tax remain unclear, the discussions highlight Oman's proactive stance in adapting to economic realities and ensuring sustainable growth. The outcome of these deliberations could reshape Oman's fiscal landscape and influence broader regional fiscal policies amidst global economic uncertainties.

Observers will closely monitor developments as Oman navigates this potential milestone in its fiscal policy, with implications extending beyond its borders to the wider Gulf region.

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Nvidia Faces French Antitrust Charges Amid Allegations of Anti-Competitive Practices

Nvidia, the American technology powerhouse renowned for its dominance in graphics processing units (GPUs) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, is reportedly on the brink of facing antitrust charges in France.


Sources close to the matter indicate that French regulators are preparing to accuse Nvidia of engaging in anti-competitive practices that have significantly affected the competitive landscape of the AI and high-performance computing markets.


The Autorité de la concurrence, France's antitrust watchdog has been conducting an in-depth investigation into Nvidia's business practices for over a year. The investigation focuses on claims that Nvidia has abused its dominant market position to the detriment of competitors and consumers. Specific allegations include restrictive agreements with hardware manufacturers and software developers, which may have hindered other companies' ability to compete in the AI and GPU markets.


Nvidia’s GPUs are widely regarded as the gold standard for AI development and high-performance computing, giving the company substantial influence over these sectors. Critics argue that Nvidia's practices have created significant barriers to entry for new players, stifling innovation and leading to higher prices for consumers.


Jean-Luc Dupont, an expert in European competition law, commented, "If the allegations are proven, it could have serious ramifications for Nvidia. The company’s market dominance has been a double-edged sword, facilitating rapid advancements in technology while potentially undermining competitive market dynamics."Nvidia has consistently denied any wrongdoing. In a recent statement, the company emphasised its commitment to fair competition and innovation. "Nvidia operates in a highly competitive market and adheres to all applicable laws and regulations. We look forward to addressing any concerns the French authorities may have," the statement read.


Should the charges be confirmed, Nvidia could face substantial fines and be compelled to alter its business practices in France and potentially across the European Union. The penalties could amount to a significant percentage of Nvidia’s annual revenue, alongside mandated changes to ensure a more competitive market landscape.


Market analysts are closely watching the developments, anticipating potential ripple effects across the tech industry. The charges could also influence regulatory approaches in other jurisdictions, possibly leading to a more stringent global regulatory environment for major tech firms.


The move by French regulators comes amidst a broader wave of antitrust scrutiny facing major tech companies worldwide. European authorities, in particular, have been proactive in addressing anti-competitive practices, with recent high-profile cases involving firms like Google, Apple, and Amazon.
Nicolas Martin, a technology policy analyst, noted, "The potential charges against Nvidia underscore the heightened vigilance of regulators in maintaining competitive markets, especially in high-tech industries where dominance can quickly translate into market power."


The Autorité de la concurrence is expected to formally announce the charges in the coming weeks, initiating a legal process that could span several months. Both Nvidia and the regulatory body will have the opportunity to present their cases, with potential outcomes ranging from dismissal of charges to significant penalties and mandated business practice reforms.


As Nvidia braces for this legal challenge, the outcome will be closely monitored by industry stakeholders, legal experts, and competitors alike, marking a critical moment in the ongoing efforts to regulate the influence of tech giants in the global market.

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Understanding the Criminal Process in UAE: Insights into Dubai Criminal Court System

Federal Law No. 35 of 1992, as amended, outlines the procedures for criminal cases in the UAE. This law includes rules for criminal investigations, trials, rendering judgments, appealing judgments and enforcing judgments.

Filing a Complaint

To start a criminal case in the UAE, the victim must file a complaint against the offender at the police station. This complaint should detail the incident and the sequence of events related to the criminal offence. The complaint can be submitted either in writing or as an oral statement, which will be recorded in Arabic and signed by the complainant. It must be filed at the police station with jurisdiction over the location where the offence occurred.
According to Article 10 of the Criminal Procedures Law, certain cases require a written or verbal complaint from the victim or their legal representative to initiate a criminal action. These cases include:
* Theft, breach of trust and concealment of proceeds if the victim is a spouse, ascendant, or descendant of the perpetrator, and the proceeds are not judicially or administratively seized or encumbered by a lien in favour of another person.
* Refusal to deliver a minor or taking a minor away from their custodian.
* Insult, slander, and other specified crimes.
Complaints must be filed within three months of the victim becoming aware of the crime and the perpetrator unless otherwise stated by law. If the accused is caught red-handed, a complaint can be submitted to any public authority officer at the scene. A complaint from one victim is sufficient to initiate a criminal action, and a complaint against one accused applies to all involved.
For victims under 15 years old or mentally challenged, the complaint must be submitted by their legal guardian. In conflicts of interest or if the victim lacks representation, the public prosecutor will act on their behalf.

Witness Testimony

The complainant can call upon witnesses to support their case during the police investigation. Similarly, the accused will be contacted by the police to provide their statement and may also suggest witnesses who can testify in their favour.

Police Investigation

After receiving the statements from both parties, the police will refer the complaint to the relevant departments, such as electronic crimes or forensic medicine. Once the investigation is complete, the case is referred to the public prosecution if a criminal offence is established under the UAE Penal Code (Federal Law No. 3 of 1987).

Conducting Investigations

The Public Prosecution conducts investigations in Arabic. If any involved party does not know Arabic, an interpreter may be used after taking an oath.

Lapse of Criminal Actions

A criminal action lapses if the victim withdraws their complaint. For multiple victims, all must withdraw for the action to lapse. Withdrawal of a complaint against one accused also applies to others involved. If the victim dies, their legal heirs can withdraw the complaint.
Criminal cases lapse upon the death of the accused, issuance of a final judgment, withdrawal of legal action by the entitled party, issuance of an amnesty, or repeal of the penalising law. Specific timeframes include 20 years for felonies punishable by death, 10 years for other felonies, 3 years for misdemeanours, and 1 year for violations.

Tracking Crimes and Evidence Collection

Judicial officers from various government departments, including police, public prosecution and criminal courts, are authorised to inspect crimes and collect evidence. Other authorised personnel include officers of the armed forces, border police, coastguards, immigration officers and municipal and health inspectors.

Role of Police and Public Prosecution

The police safeguard the public, take initial statements, arrest suspects, conduct investigations and execute Public Prosecution orders. Criminal actions begin with filing a complaint with the local police in the jurisdiction where the offence occurred. Police refer the matter to the prosecutor's office within 48 hours, and the Public Prosecution must question the accused within 24 hours, deciding on arrest or release as per Article 47 of the law.
Under Article 7 of the Criminal Procedures Law, the Public Prosecution has exclusive jurisdiction to initiate and prosecute criminal proceedings. It oversees the process until a final judgment is rendered.
As part of the judicial body, the Public Prosecution investigates crimes, imposes charges, and refers accused individuals to court if their involvement is proven. It also handles the surrender of criminals per international conventions and works with Interpol.

Rights and Obligations of Individuals

The UAE judicial system presumes the accused is innocent until proven guilty. It follows these procedures:
* No criminal penalty is imposed until guilt is proven according to the law.
* No one is arrested, searched, detained, or imprisoned except under legal circumstances.
* Detention or imprisonment occurs only in designated places for the specified period in the warrant issued by the competent authority.
* Law enforcement may only enter residences under specified circumstances or at the resident's request in serious threats.
* Crimes must be reported to the public prosecution or judicial officers.
* Witnesses of crimes should hand over the offender to the nearest public authority without an arrest warrant.

Rights to an Attorney

Anyone accused of a felony punishable by a death sentence or life imprisonment has the right to a lawyer for defence during the trial. If the accused does not appoint a lawyer, the court will provide one at the state's expense. The accused in a felony punishable by provisional imprisonment may also request a court-appointed attorney if they cannot afford one.

Investigation and Arrest Procedures

Upon arriving at a crime scene, a judicial officer can prevent people from leaving until a report is drafted and can call upon witnesses for statements. The officer may order the arrest of the accused if sufficient evidence exists. If the accused is not present, an arrest warrant can be issued. The officer must immediately take the accused’s statement and refer them to the Public Prosecution within 48 hours. The Public Prosecution must then question the accused within 24 hours and decide on arrest or release.

Search of Persons and Residences

Judicial officers can search the accused under lawful circumstances and can frisk them for items related to the crime. If the accused is female, the search must be conducted by a female designated by the officer, with female witnesses present. A search of the accused’s home requires a warrant from the Public Prosecution unless the accused is caught red-handed and there is strong evidence of concealed items or papers. Searches and seizures must comply with legal procedures.

Legal Fees

There are no fees for filing a complaint with the police. However, if the complainant hires an attorney, legal fees will apply.

Structure of the UAE Court System

The Dubai criminal court can imprison, fine and acquit accused persons. Proceedings are conducted in Arabic, and all documents must be officially translated into Arabic. The court system comprises three levels:
* Court of First Instance
* Court of Appeal
* Court of Cassation (final appeal court)
Misdemeanour cases in the Court of First Instance are heard by a single judge, while felony cases are heard by three judges.

Attendance and Hearings

Accused individuals must appear in court if the charges carry a prison sentence. Victims are not required to attend and may have legal representatives appear on their behalf. The trial starts with the judge reading the charges and asking the accused to plead. If the accused denies the charges, further hearings will be scheduled. Failure to appear can result in a judgment in absentia.

Pleadings and Judgments

Both parties can file written memoranda outlining their claims and defences and present evidence through witness testimonies. Hearings typically occur every 2-3 weeks. The court may appoint an expert to review the technical aspects of the case. Once all evidence is presented, the court will deliver a judgment. There is a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal and subsequently to the Court of Cassation.

Tracking Crimes and Evidence Collection

Judicial officers from various government departments, including police, public prosecution and criminal courts, are authorised to inspect crimes and collect evidence. Other authorised personnel include officers from the armed forces, border police, coastguards, immigration officers and municipal inspectors.
The criminal process in the UAE can be complex, particularly for non-Arabic speakers. This overview provides a foundational understanding for those involved in criminal complaints or proceedings. Despite differences from other jurisdictions, fundamental rights such as the right to defence and appeal are upheld in the UAE legal system.
For further information or to inquire about a case, you can visit the Judicial Department - Abu Dhabi. Here is the link --https://www.adjd.gov.ae/sites/eServices/EN/Pages/CaseStudyEnquiry.aspx.

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How to Report Incidents of Discrimination in the UAE: Understanding Your Rights

If you are facing discrimination in the UAE, it is important to know your rights and the steps you can take to report such incidents. The UAE has established comprehensive laws to combat discrimination, hatred and extremism. Below is an overview of the relevant law and the steps you can take to report discrimination.

Federal Law by Decree No (34) of 2023 Concerning Combating Discrimination, Hatred, and Extremism

Promulgated by President Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, this law aims to combat discrimination, hatred, and extremism in the UAE.

The law defines key terms such as blasphemy, discrimination, hate speech and extremism, and addresses prohibited acts including the manufacture and distribution of materials promoting these offences. It also mandates the establishment of counselling centres for individuals at risk of extremism and the creation of lists of extremist organisations and individuals, with legal procedures for inclusion and appeal.

Public employees and religious figures committing these crimes face aggravated penalties. Additionally, the law provides for exemptions for individuals who report crimes before they occur and outlines jurisdiction for federal courts in cases involving listed extremists. The law repeals conflicting provisions from previous laws and comes into effect one month after publication in the Official Gazette.

Crimes and Penalties under Federal Law by Decree No (34) of 2023

  • Blasphemy: Includes insulting the Divine, religions, prophets, or houses of worship. Penalties range from imprisonment to fines between Dh250,000 to Dh2,000,000.
  • Discrimination: Any form of discrimination based on religion, creed, race, colour, ethnic origin, gender, or sex. Penalties include imprisonment and fines from Dh500,000 to Dh1,000,000.
  • Hate Speech: Incitement of hate or discriminatory speech. Penalties involve imprisonment and fines from Dh500,000 to Dh1,000,000.
  • 8 Incitement of Tribal Strife: Intentional incitement of hatred between individuals or groups. Penalties include imprisonment and fines starting from Dh50,000.
  • Aggravating Circumstances: Involvement of public employees or religious figures in crimes under this law. Penalties can lead to imprisonment for up to 5 years and fines starting from Dh500,000.
  • Exploitation of Religion: Accusation of infidelity for personal gain, which may lead to severe penalties including imprisonment up to execution if resulting in murder.

Prohibited Acts

  • Manufacture/Distribution of Materials: Producing or disseminating products promoting blasphemy or hate. Penalties range from imprisonment to fines from Dh500,000 to Dh2,000,000.
  • Possession for Distribution: Possession of materials with the intent to incite blasphemy or discrimination. Penalties include imprisonment and fines from Dh50,000 to Dh200,000.
  • Establishing Extremist Organisations: Formation or participation in extremist groups. Penalties involve imprisonment ranging from 7 to 10 years.

Report Discrimination

If you face discrimination in the UAE, you can report it to government authorities. Discrimination is a crime, and there are several channels available to file complaints:

  • Online Channels of the UAE Police: You can report discrimination through the UAE police’s online platforms across the country.
  • Judicial Authorities: Filing a lawsuit through judicial authorities is another option.
  • Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation: Private sector employees can report workplace discrimination via the ministry’s online channels.
  • Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR): Government sector employees can report grievances through FAHR’s online platforms.

Human Rights Issues

Human rights issues can be reported online through the eServices of:

  • Human Rights Office - Judicial Department, Abu Dhabi
  • Community Development Authority (CDA): Contact CDA at the toll-free number 8002121 or email human_rights@cda.gov.ae.
  • Ministry of Tolerance and Co-existence: For any discrimination issues, you can contact the Ministry of Tolerance and Co-existence at info@tolerance.gov.ae.
  • National Human Rights Institution: The UAE's National Human Rights Institution is also available for any complaints related to human rights.

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Dh10,000 Fine: FTA Reminds Businesses of Corporate Tax Registration Deadline

UAE residents subject to corporate tax with licences issued in May (regardless of the year of issuance) must submit their corporate tax registration application by July 31 to avoid corresponding penalties, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) reminded.

From March 1 this year, an administrative penalty of Dh10,000 for late registration of UAE corporate tax is imposed on businesses that do not submit their corporate tax registration applications within the deadline specified by the FTA, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The FTA emphasised “the importance of taxpayers adhering to the registration deadlines specified for each category". These deadlines were previously announced through various official media platforms, including print, visual, and audio media, as well as the FTA’s official social media channels and by direct contact with registered company owners in the UAE.

Corporate tax applies to juridical persons incorporated in the UAE and to foreign entities that are effectively managed and controlled in the country. The resident juridical taxable persons cover entities incorporated in the UAE, including free zone businesses and entities established abroad but controlled and managed from the country.

According to the FTA, any resident juridical person – incorporated or otherwise established or recognised before March 1, 2024, must submit their tax registration applications for corporate tax based on the month of their licence issuance.

If a juridical person holds more than one licence, the licence with the earliest issuance date shall be used.
The FTA said taxpayers can use ‘EmaraTax’, a digital tax services platform available 24/7. It also enables unregistered persons to create a new user profile and obtain a tax registration number easily and conveniently via their email and phone number.

Taxable persons can also use the services of accredited tax agents listed on the FTA’s website and at government service centres across the UAE.

Corporate tax is a form of direct tax levied on the net income or profit of corporations and other businesses. Individuals conducting business activities in the UAE will be subject to corporate tax only if their combined turnover exceeds Dh1 million a year.

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Day of Reflection: MoHRE Declares July 7 as Islamic New Year Holiday for UAE Public, Private Sectors

Public and private sector workers in the UAE will be granted a public holiday on Sunday to mark the Islamic New Year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has announced.
Public and private sector employees are typically afforded the same number of holidays each year. The Islamic, or Hijri, New Year heralds the beginning of Muharram, the first of the 12 months on the Islamic calendar.
It will be observed across the Emirates on Sunday.
As with other Islamic holidays, the day Muharram is marked changes yearly, based on the lunar cycle.
In contrast to Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, no religious observances are prescribed for the Islamic New Year. It is generally regarded as a day of reflection rather than celebration.

Remaining Holidays for 2024

Prophet Mohammed's Birthday: The holiday is typically a time for quiet reflection rather than celebration, with festivities scaled back.
The UAE Cabinet previously confirmed this year's public holiday for the occasion would be observed on September 29.
Last year, President Sheikh Mohamed paid homage to an “inspirational legacy of kindness” on Prophet Mohammed's birthday. The UAE leader said the Prophet's “timeless values” continue to be a guiding light for society.

Commemoration Day: Commemoration Day, also known as Martyrs Day, pays homage to Emirati soldiers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. It is typically marked with a minute's silence in honour of those who died in service.
Last year, Commemoration Day was observed on November 30, with a public holiday on  December 1.
The late President Sheikh Khalifa introduced Commemoration Day in 2015.
It originally took place on November 30 to commemorate the death of Salem Khamis, who died on the same date in 1971 fighting against Iranian forces on the island of Greater Tunb. He is thought to have been the first Emirati to be killed in military service since the formation of the UAE that year.

National Day

The UAE unites each December to celebrate the rise of a nation that is called home by more than 200 nationalities.
A spectacular live show is typically the centrepiece of colourful festivities held in all seven emirates.
Citizens often display their patriotic pride by flying the UAE Flag from their cars, which are also emblazoned with the nation's colours and decorated with images of Emirati leaders.
In 2022, a stunning 51st National Day show staged at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre celebrated the best of the nation and showcased its grand ambitions for the next 50 years.
An extravaganza of dancers, live music and performances – as well as the arrival of an Etihad Rail passenger train – delivered a taste of Emirati heritage and a snapshot of how the UAE will be shaped in the coming years.
The UAE Cabinet has announced this year's National Day public holiday will be held on December 2 and 3.

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Singapore to Make it Easier for Law Enforcement to Prosecute Money Laundering Cases

Singapore is seeking to make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute money laundering offences in the city-state, the home affairs ministry said, noting how currently some cases are not pursued unless it is possible to show the complete money trail of suspected funds from money laundering entering the Asian financial hub.

The new Anti-Money Laundering and Other Matters Bill introduced to parliament will remove the need for the prosecution to show a direct link between the criminal conduct and the laundered funds, the home affairs ministry said in a press release.

"It will be sufficient for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the money launderer knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that he was dealing with criminal proceeds," said the ministry, adding this would help in the prosecution of money mules when funds laundered had initially passed through bank accounts and intermediaries in foreign jurisdictions.

Last year, Singapore busted a $2.24 billion money laundering ring run by foreign citizens, with the last of 10 offenders sentenced on June 10.

The criminals held money gained from overseas scams and overseas online gambling in bank accounts in Singapore and converted some into real estate, cars, handbags and jewellery.

Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said last month Singapore faces greater money laundering and terrorism financing risks than other countries because it is an international finance and business hub.

Since the money laundering case emerged last year, the government has set up an inter-ministerial panel to review its anti-money laundering regime.

The new bill will also allow law enforcement to investigate money laundering offences linked to overseas environmental crimes.

Currently, Singapore cannot investigate money laundering linked to crimes such as illegal mining, illegal waste trafficking and illegal logging that occur overseas because such crimes are not covered as a serious offence under Singapore law since they typically do not apply in the landscarce city-state.

The bill also makes it easier for law enforcement to sell seized or restrained properties, and deal with seized properties linked to suspects who have fled the country.

The ministry said it will also tighten requirements for casino operators to conduct customer due diligence, bringing down the threshold of a single cash transaction involving S$10,000 ($7,362) or more or S$5,000 or more in a deposit to transactions and deposits involving at least S$4,000.

Last month, Singapore published a national asset recovery strategy report, saying it sought to "deprive criminals of their illicit gains, thereby removing the financial incentive for laundering their monies in Singapore".

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UK Child Serial Killer Lucy Letby Convicted Of Attempted Murder of Another Baby Girl at Re-trial

A UK jury convicted child serial killer Lucy Letby of attempting to murder another baby girl at the hospital neo-natal unit where she worked.

It comes nearly a year after a different jury convicted the former nurse of murdering seven newborn babies and attempting to kill six others, making her Britain's most prolific child serial killer in modern history.

Letby, 34, faced a retrial at Manchester Crown Court for the attempted murder of the baby girl, referred to in court as Child K, at the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwest England in 2016.

Jurors at her original trial last year failed to reach a verdict on that charge.

However, the jury hearing the case this time took just over three hours to reach their unanimous guilty verdict.
Letby, who is already serving a whole-life prison sentence and was earlier this year refused an appeal bid, will be sentenced for the latest offence on Friday.

During the re-trial, jurors heard that the former nurse was "caught virtually red-handed" by a senior consultant as she displaced Child K's breathing tube.

The prosecution detailed how the consultant paediatrician walked into the unit's intensive care nursery room and saw Letby standing next to the incubator "doing nothing", as the infant's blood oxygen levels dipped.

The jury was also told of Letby's convictions last August of the other murders and attempted murders between 2015 and 2016.

Reporting restrictions prevent publication of the identities of the surviving and dead children in the cases.
Appearing in the witness box last month, Letby denied attempting to murder or harm Child K, or any baby ever in her care.

Child K was transferred to a specialist hospital later the same day because she was born extremely prematurely.
She died there three days later. The prosecution has not alleged Letby caused her death.

The young girl's parents thanked the jury and said "justice has been served". "But this justice will not take away the extreme hurt, anger and distress that we have all had to experience," they added.

"It also does not provide us with an explanation of why these crimes have taken place," a statement read.
Letby, from Hereford, western England, was arrested and then charged in 2020 following a string of baby deaths at the hospital's neo-natal unit.

The prosecution at her first trial said she attacked her vulnerable prematurely born victims, often during night shifts, by either injecting them with air, overfeeding them with milk or poisoning them with insulin.

A public inquiry into events at the hospital unit will start to hear evidence in September.
Cheshire Police said Tuesday that a "complex and sensitive" corporate manslaughter probe into the hospital -- launched following Letby's convictions last year -- was ongoing alongside the original investigation into the ex-nurse.

It is "considering areas including senior leadership and decision-making to determine whether any criminality has taken place," Detective Superintendent Simon Blackwell said.

"At this stage we are not investigating any individuals in relation to gross negligence manslaughter," he added.
Meanwhile, the continuing probe into Letby includes a review of 4,000 baby admissions during a four-year period when she worked at the Chester hospital and at the Liverpool Women's Hospital.

Detective Superintendent Paul Hughes said only cases "highlighting any medical concern" will be further reviewed. 

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UAE Strengthens Consumer Rights: What You Need to Know About Your Legal Protections

As the UAE continues to thrive as a global shopping destination, the importance of robust consumer protection measures cannot be overstated. Whether you're a resident or a tourist, understanding your rights as a consumer is crucial to ensure fair treatment and recourse in the event of a dispute.

In recent years, the UAE has made significant strides in enhancing consumer protection through various legal frameworks and initiatives.

The cornerstone of these efforts is the Federal Law No. (15) of 2020 on Consumer Protection (UAE Consumer Protection Law), which outlines the rights of consumers and the obligations of businesses operating within the country.

Key Consumer Rights under UAE Law

The UAE Consumer Protection Law guarantees several fundamental rights to consumers, including:
• Right to Safety: Products sold in the UAE must be safe and not pose any risk to health and safety.
• Right to Information: Consumers should be provided with clear, accurate, and sufficient information about products and services.
• Right to Choose: Consumers should have a variety of choices and access to competitive prices.
• Right to Be Heard: Consumers have the right to voice complaints and seek redress for any grievances.
• Right to Education: Consumers should be educated about their rights and how to exercise them effectively.

Common Legal Questions and Remedies

Consumer disputes can be challenging. Here are some common questions and legal remedies available under the UAE Consumer Protection Law:

Question 1: What should I do if the warranty terms are unclear or not honoured?

Scenario: I purchased an electronic gadget with a one-year warranty, but the warranty terms were not specified in the invoice. When the gadget malfunctioned after six months, the retailer refused to honour the warranty, claiming it didn’t cover the issue.

Legal Insight: The UAE Consumer Protection Law mandates that warranty details must be clearly mentioned in the invoice or receipt. If the warranty terms are not specified or are being unfairly applied, the consumer has a right to challenge this.

Remedy: The consumer should request written clarification of the warranty terms from the retailer. If the retailer refuses to comply, the consumer can approach the Consumer Protection Department or the Economic Department of the emirate where the purchase was made. Providing proof of purchase and any previous communication with the retailer will be important in resolving the dispute.

Question 2: What if I encounter deceptive advertising or misleading product descriptions?

Scenario: I bought a smartphone online based on the advertised features. However, upon receiving it, I discovered that the actual specifications did not match the description provided.

Legal Insight: Misleading advertisements or false product descriptions are prohibited under the UAE Consumer Protection Law. Consumers have the right to receive products that meet the advertised specifications and descriptions.

Remedy: The consumer should immediately contact the seller to request a refund or exchange for the correct product. If the seller refuses to cooperate, the consumer can lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department or the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) for online purchases. Documentation of the advertisement and any purchase receipts will support the claim.

Question 3: Can a shop charge for repairs within the warranty period?

Scenario: My car, which is still under warranty, required repairs. However, the dealership charged me for the repairs, stating that the warranty does not cover certain parts.

Legal Insight: During the warranty period, repairs for defects covered by the warranty should generally be free of charge. The terms of the warranty, including any exclusions, must be clearly stated. Charging for repairs that should be covered under the warranty may be considered a violation of consumer rights.

Remedy: The consumer should review the warranty terms provided at the time of purchase. If the warranty covers the repairs, they can request a refund for the charges from the dealership. If the dealership refuses, the consumer can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department or the relevant Automotive Authority.

Conclusion

The UAE’s commitment to protecting consumer rights is reflected in its comprehensive legal frameworks and the establishment of dedicated regulatory bodies. Consumers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with their rights and the remedies available to them.

In the event of a dispute, it is advisable to seek resolution through the appropriate channels, ensuring that all interactions and transactions are well-documented.

For further assistance, consumers can contact the Ministry of Economy's Consumer Protection Department or visit the consumer protection website of their respective emirate.

Contact Information: For consumer complaints or inquiries, visit the Ministry of Economy’s Consumer Protection Department website or contact their helpline 600-545555.

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Kuwait Detains 450 Undocumented Migrants; Deportees Barred From GCC Entry for 5 Years

Kuwait has launched a significant security crackdown on illegal foreign residents following the expiration of a three-month amnesty deadline this week.

Approximately 450 individuals who violated the country’s residency regulations were detained in operations conducted across Kuwait's six governorates, shortly after the deadline expired, as reported by Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai.

This crackdown will be followed by additional large-scale security operations targeting illegal residents who did not take advantage of the amnesty offered by authorities.

The detained undocumented migrants were transported to an accommodation centre and will be interrogated regarding those who harboured and employed them.

Those violating residency rules will be deported from Kuwait within four days, in coordination with their respective embassies to obtain travel documents, especially for those without passports.

Deportees are prohibited from entering other GCC countries for five years, and they will also face a lifelong ban from re-entering Kuwait, according to Al Rai.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry affirmed its commitment to conducting nationwide inspection campaigns.
The ministry urged the public not to harbour violators to avoid penalties and encouraged cooperation in reporting them to authorities via the emergency number 112.

Kuwait extended the deadline, initially set to end on June 17, until June 30, allowing undocumented expatriates to regularise their residency status or voluntarily leave the country. Official figures on how many expats utilised the grace period are not available.

The amnesty, effective from March 17, permitted irregular expatriates with passports to depart Kuwait without paying fines, with the possibility of re-entry.

Those without travel documents could obtain new ones for departure. Kuwait, with a population of 4.8 million, including approximately 3.3 million foreigners, is striving to address population imbalances by prioritising the employment of its citizens, a policy known as "Kuwaitisation".

Individuals or companies in Kuwait employing undocumented migrants face charges of unlawfully sheltering and concealing them. Last year, Kuwait deported a record 42,000 expatriates for violating residency and labour laws, as well as involvement in criminal activities.

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Ensuring Employee Rights: Legal Recourse for Verbal Abuse in UAE Workplace

In the UAE, employers are legally obligated to provide their employees with a safe and appropriate working environment. Article 13(13) of the Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations states: “The Employer shall provide a safe and appropriate working environment."

Article 14(2) of the Employment Law explicitly prohibits various forms of harassment, including sexual, verbal, physical and psychological harassment, regardless of whether these actions come from employers, superiors, colleagues, or anyone working with the affected employee.

The law states: “It shall be prohibited to exercise sexual harassment, bullying or any verbal, physical or mental violence against the employee by his employer, manager or colleagues.”

Additionally, if an employer uses demeaning language or shouts at an employee in front of others, they can face imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to Dh5,000, as outlined in Article 427 of the Federal Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law.

The article states: “A penalty of imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding Dh5,000 shall be imposed if the libel or slander is committed on the telephone or directly against the victim in the presence of others.”

Insults, rumours, and slander are never taken lightly in the UAE. Remember that you can take legal action if you find yourself at the receiving end of offensive tirades at work.

While disagreements and arguments may occur between officemates, when verbal attacks become personal, it may be necessary to escalate the issue beyond the workplace. Making insulting comments against anyone is illegal in the UAE, with the penal code stating that those found guilty of such offences could face imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of up to Dh20,000.

Employees who face verbal abuse or shouting from their boss can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). They may also consider resigning without serving notice within five days after registering the complaint, as per Article 45(2) of the Employment Law.

This article states: “The employee may quit work without notice and reserve all his entitlements at the end of the service if the employee is subject to assault, violence or harassment at the workplace by the employer, or his legal representative, provided that the employee reports such act to the concerned authorities and the Ministry within five working days from the date on which he can report.”

While many residents are aware of such provisions of the UAE law, the question remains: How can charges be filed?
In Dubai, slander can be reported to the police in just a few minutes -- and without even leaving home. The Dubai Police have made the service accessible 24/7 through their digital platforms, including their website and app.

Here's how to file a complaint and what key information you need to prepare and know:

* Emirates ID
* Details to help the police contact your officemate(s) (name, address, car plate number, phone number, and the place where he/she works)
* Details of the incident
* Which police station is nearest to your area

What to do:

* Log into the Dubai Police website (https://www.dubaipolice.gov.ae/)
* Click on the 'Reporting Services' option
* Choose 'File Criminal Complaint'
* Fill out the details (In the case type dropdown menu, choose 'Insulting case')

Some of the questions you will be required to answer:

* What were the words the defendant(s) used?
* When was the insulting remark made (date, time)?
* What could have been the motive?
* Were there any previous conflicts between you and the defendant(s)?
* Did you also use any negative words against him/her/them?

Upon submission of the form, the police are expected to get in touch with you. You may go back to the website to follow up on your complaint.

It's important for employees to know their rights and understand that they have legal protections against workplace harassment and abuse. Employers must maintain a respectful and professional environment, and any form of misconduct should be addressed promptly to ensure the well-being and safety of all employees.

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US Supreme Court Grants Trump Presidential Immunity from Prosecution

The US Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump cannot be prosecuted for actions that were within his constitutional powers as president in a landmark decision recognising for the first time any form of presidential immunity from prosecution.
The justices, in a 6-3 ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, threw out a lower court's decision that had rejected Trump's claim of immunity from federal criminal charges involving his efforts to undo his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden. The six conservative justices were in the majority, while its three liberal members dissented.
Trump is the Republican candidate challenging Biden, a Democrat, in the November 5 US election in a 2020 rematch. The Supreme Court's slow handling of the case and its decision to return key questions about the scope of Trump's immunity to the trial judge to resolve make it improbable he will be tried before the election on these charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
"We conclude that under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of presidential power requires that a former president have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office," Roberts wrote.
Immunity for former presidents is "absolute" with respect to their "core constitutional powers," Roberts wrote, and a former president has "at least a presumptive immunity" for "acts within the outer perimeter of his official responsibility," meaning prosecutors face a high legal bar to overcome that presumption.

A Dangerous Precedent: Biden

In remarks at the White House, Biden called the ruling "a dangerous precedent" because the power of the presidency will no longer be constrained by the law.
"This nation was founded on the principle that there are no kings in America ... no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States," added Biden, speaking hours after one of his campaign officials said the ruling makes it easier for Trump "to pursue a path to dictatorship."
The ruling could scuttle parts of the special counsel's case as US District Judge Tanya Chutkan mulls the breadth of Trump's immunity.
In recognising broad immunity for Trump, Roberts cited the need for a president to "execute the duties of his office fearlessly and fairly" without the threat of prosecution.
"As for a president's unofficial acts," Roberts added, "there is no immunity."
Trump hailed the ruling in a social media post, writing: "BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!"
Trump, 78, is the first former US president to be criminally prosecuted and the first former president convicted of a crime. Smith's election subversion charges embody one of the four criminal cases Trump has faced.
The court analysed four categories of conduct contained in the indictment. They are: his discussions with US Justice Department officials following the election; his alleged pressure on then-Vice President Mike Pence to block congressional certification of Biden's win; his alleged role in assembling fake pro-Trump electors to be used in the certification process; and his conduct related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
The outcome gave Trump much of what he sought but stopped short of allowing absolute immunity for all official acts, as his lawyers had advocated. Instead the court specified that actions within the president's "exclusive sphere of constitutional authority" enjoy such a shield, while those taken outside his exclusive powers are only "presumptively immune."
The court found Trump was absolutely immune for conversations with Justice Department officials. Trump is also "presumptively immune" regarding his interactions with Pence, it decided, but returned that and the two other categories to lower courts to determine whether Trump has immunity.
The ruling marked the first time since the nation's 18th century founding that the Supreme Court has declared that former presidents may be shielded from criminal charges in any instance. The court's conservative majority includes three justices Trump appointed.
The court decided the case on the last day of its term.

'President is Now King'

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by fellow liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, delivered a sharply worded dissent, saying the ruling effectively creates a "law-free zone around the president."
"When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority's reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy's Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organises a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune," Sotomayor wrote.
"In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law," Sotomayor added.
Trump's trial had been scheduled to start on March 4 before the delays over the immunity issue. Now, no trial date is set. Trump made his immunity claim to the trial judge in October, meaning the issue has been litigated for about nine months.

'Thumb on the Scale’

UCLA School of Law professor Rick Hasen, a critic of Trump's efforts to overturn his election defeat, said: "The Supreme Court has put out a fact-intensive test on the boundaries of the president's immunity -- with a huge thumb on the scale favouring the president's immunity -- in a way that will surely push this case past the election."
"Sorting out the court's opinion and how it applies is going to take a while," Georgetown University law professor Erica Hashimoto added. "No chance of a pre-election trial."

The Supreme Court made two other rulings this year beneficial to Trump. In March, it reinstated Trump to the presidential primary ballot in Colorado. And last week, it raised the legal bar for prosecutors pursuing obstruction charges in Smith's election subversion case against Trump and defendants involved in the Capitol attack.
In the special counsel's August 2023 indictment, Trump was charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, corruptly obstructing an official proceeding and conspiring to do so, and conspiring against the right of Americans to vote. He has pleaded not guilty.
Sotomayor wrote on Monday: "Relying on little more than its own misguided wisdom about the need for bold and unhesitating action by the president, the court gives former President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more."

Hush Money Case

In a separate case brought in New York state court, Trump was found guilty by a jury in Manhattan on May 30 on 34 counts of falsifying documents to cover up hush money paid to a porn star to avoid a sex scandal before the 2016 election. Trump also faces criminal charges in two other cases. He has pleaded not guilty in those and called all the cases against him politically motivated.
Not since its landmark Bush v. Gore decision, which handed the disputed 2000 US election to Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore, has the Supreme Court played such an integral role in a presidential race.
If Trump regains the presidency, he could try to force an end to the prosecution or potentially pardon himself for any federal crimes.

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China Strengthens Disaster Management Laws, Amid Increasing Weather Events

China has strengthened its laws governing disaster management, imposing stricter penalties for inadequate responses and intensifying government oversight of media coverage during emergencies.

The legal revisions aim to bolster emergency preparedness and streamline the dissemination of information concerning natural disasters, accidents, and public health crises.

They also expand the scope of government control over news reporting, potentially tightening restrictions in a nation vigilant against information that could undermine social stability and security, analysts noted.

Recent years have seen China grappling with more frequent and severe weather extremes, challenging local authorities' ability to respond effectively. The amendments to the Emergency Response Law, effective from November 1, escalate fines for insufficient disaster preparation or response fivefold, up to 1 million yuan (£110,000).

Under the new regulations, government agencies will exert greater influence over media coverage, mandating a more regulated "news interviewing and reporting system" without specifying detailed guidelines. Officials are instructed to guide and support news media while supervising public opinion.

The revised law emphasises the importance of timely, accurate, objective, and fair reporting during emergencies. It mandates swift dissemination of emergency warnings and designates personnel responsible for public communication in crises.

While ostensibly aiming to enhance the accuracy and fairness of information, critics argue the revisions further consolidate state control over information flows. They impose stricter requirements on journalists covering emergencies, fostering a more prescriptive environment for media professionals.

Passed by the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, the revisions introduce over 30 new provisions to the 2007 law. They prohibit government agencies from delaying, misreporting, concealing information, or obstructing others from reporting, responding to past public outcry over delayed disaster management.

Foreigners in China will now be required to comply with local laws and government directives under the updated legislation, reflecting China's increasing scrutiny of crisis preparedness and its political expectations during emergencies.

The regulatory changes signal a heightened focus on crisis management readiness, impacting not only foreign residents and media but also international businesses operating within China, observers cautioned.

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Saudi Nazaha: 155 Government Officials Arrested Over Corruption Charges

A total of 155 government officials have been arrested over corruption charges. Some of the arrested individuals have been released on bail, according to the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha).

Nazaha said in a statement on its X account that its officials carried out a total of 924 inspection raids during the last month of June. Nazaha initiated a number of criminal and administrative cases following the oversight rounds in June, which resulted in the investigation of cases against 382 officials accused of various corruption charges.

These officials are from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Transport and Logistics, and Ministry of Culture, in addition to the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.

The corruption charges against them include bribery, abuse of power, forgery, and money laundering. The authority said that 155 people were arrested during the course of the investigation.

Nazaha stated that the average number of oversight rounds carried out in the Holy Sites during the Hajj season stood at 9,623. The oversight body had arrested about 5,235 people in corruption cases during the period between 2021 and 2023.

Nazaha said that it shows no leniency while dealing with those involved in financial and administrative corruption.
The authority stated that it will continue to carry out its oversight rounds on government agencies and private establishments in order to monitor and catch anyone who infringes on public funds or exploits their position to achieve personal benefit or harm the public interest, and hold them accountable, even after ending their relationship with the job. 

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Complimentary 5-Star Hotel Stay for Passengers Flying to Dubai This Summer

Emirates has announced complimentary 5-star hotel stays for travellers to Dubai this summer. The airline stated that the offer is valid on tickets purchased from 1 to 21 July.

Travellers who purchase first or business class return tickets will enjoy a two-night stay at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. Those booked in premium economy or economy can enjoy a complimentary one-night stay.

“This special offer is valid for all return tickets to or stopping over in Dubai for more than 24 hours, for customers travelling between July 4 and 15 September,” the airline said.

The offer is available for bookings made via the airline’s website, app, ticketing offices or participating travel agents “made at least 96 hours in advance of passengers’ arrival.”

Once tickets have been issued, passengers need to email emiratesoffer@emirates.com with passenger details to confirm their stay. If the hotel is not available, the airline will book a room at a hotel with a “comparable star rating.”

According to the terms and conditions listed on the airline’s website, the offer is applicable on a twin‑sharing basis (maximum two adults and one child up to 12 years old).

Dubai sees its summer temperatures peak during July and August. Most activities move indoors during this period.
Adnan Kazim, Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline, said: “With the city’s annual entertainment and shopping festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, underway, shoppers and tourists will get to experience an endless array of activities and attractions.

"As an added incentive, Emirates is providing complimentary hotel stays for customers travelling to and through Dubai, giving travellers another reason to visit our home city, whether for the first time or on repeat,” added Kazim.

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MoEc Announces New Law to Strengthen UAE Legislation, Combat Commercial Fraud

The Ministry of Economy (MoEc) has clarified that Federal Decree-Law No. (42) of 2023 on Combating Commercial Fraud contributes to creating integrated legislation that will significantly enhance consumer rights protection and combat commercial fraud in the UAE, aligning with the best global standards.

This law introduces comprehensive mechanisms and regulations to prevent the trade of counterfeit, adulterated, and corrupt products and to combat counterfeiting activities, ensuring fair competition and bolstering the UAE’s global competitiveness.

Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, highlighted that this law marks a significant milestone in the UAE's transition towards an economic model based on fair competition and innovation.

“The primary objective of this law is to enhance the regulatory and legislative landscape for the economic sector, reinforcing the business environment and governance in line with the ministry’s strategic objectives,” he said.

“The introduction of this new law aims to enhance the competitiveness of the business environment for both companies and trademark owners in the country, replacing the previous law on combating commercial fraud.

Additionally, it seeks to foster innovation in businesses and provide support for the protection of intellectual property. The law aligns with federal laws on ‘Consumer Protection’, ‘Trademarks’, ‘Copyright and Neighbouring Rights’, and ‘Commercial Agencies’. Its provisions have been developed with a forward-thinking and adaptable approach that takes future developments into account, ” Ahmed Al Saleh said.

“In the past stage, the Ministry of Economy has collaborated with partners from federal and local government entities, as well as the private sector, to enhance law concerning commercial fraud.

This effort has been instrumental in creating a competitive environment for the establishment of businesses, increasing flexibility in economic and trade activities, and strengthening the UAE's status as a leading global hub for commerce, business, and innovation,” he added.

The Ministry has emphasised the law’s crucial role in fostering a competitive trade and business environment. It will drive the growth and improvement of the domestic trade system and enhance the retail sector.

The law will promote sound commercial practices and effectively combat the sale of counterfeit, adulterated, and corrupt products. This, in turn, will attract major brands and positively impact their economic performance.

Additionally, it will encourage research, development and innovation, benefiting consumers and the UAE’s overall economy.

The MoEc highlighted the significant outputs of the new law, which include:

* Creating a conducive and secure environment for purchases by effectively combating counterfeit, fraudulent, and corrupt goods. The law applies to all types of commercial deceit across the country’s markets, including free zones.

* Violations of the law result in the imposition of administrative penalties designed to encourage greater compliance among businesses by deterring them from selling counterfeit, adulterated, or corrupt products within the country.

* Strengthening collaboration between local and federal authorities and empowering local authorities to address counterfeit and adulterated products, thereby promoting investments and business activities in the country.

* Implementing regulations to eliminate counterfeit, adulterated, or corrupt products from markets and warehouses. This includes reimbursing their value and ensuring that suppliers comply with mandatory commercial records and requests for product release.

* Establishing the Supreme Committee for Combating Commercial Fraud to effectively implement measures against commercial fraud across UAE markets by collaborating with federal and local authorities.

* Prohibiting any involvement in the importation, exportation, production, manufacturing, display, sale, storage, transportation, marketing, trading, promotion, disposal, or possession with the intention to sell counterfeit, corrupt, or adulterated products. This aligns with the best international standards and reinforces the UAE's reputation as a country with robust legislation against such practices. This comprehensive approach aims to protect the interests of both businesses and consumers alike.

According to the law, commercial fraud involves deceiving a consumer through various means. This deception can involve altering or modifying elements such as the nature, quantity, type, price, essential characteristics, origin, source, validity, or providing inaccurate or misleading commercial information about the promoted products, ultimately misleading the customer.

The MoEc's Efforts to Combat Commercial Fraud within the Country

The MoEc, in collaboration with the economic departments, has been conducting regular inspection campaigns in local markets to combat instances of commercial fraud and trademark counterfeiting. Since the start of 2023, a total of 4,444 inspection rounds have been conducted by the Ministry, which have identified 620 violations.

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Authorities in Abu Dhabi Issue Urgent Notice to Safeguard ‘Beautiful’ Wild Birds

With summer in full swing, Abu Dhabi's islands offer a refuge for birds during the hot months. Some islands also serve as crucial breeding grounds for migratory terns during this season.

Collecting the eggs of wild birds is illegal. Under Federal Law No. (24) of 1999, it is prohibited to hunt, capture, or harm wild birds and their nests. Violations of this law can result in imprisonment and fines ranging from Dh2,000 to Dh20,000.

In addition, authorities have introduced a new law regulating wildlife hunting in Abu Dhabi to protect and preserve national heritage. Last Monday, the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi issued a local decree amending the executive regulations issued by Resolution No. (69) of 2015 for Local Law No. (22) of 2005 regarding the regulation of hunting in Abu Dhabi.

This law, currently implemented by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), supports the hunting sector in its efforts to preserve the heritage of traditional hunting in Abu Dhabi. It ensures that this ancient Arab tradition and its values are passed on to current and future generations while respecting legal and environmental frameworks.

The updates to the law also emphasise enhancing the economic value of natural resources by diversifying and enhancing investment opportunities in the environment sector. This ensures that traditions such as falconry comply with international environmental sustainability standards.

The decision exempts all hunters and operators from the "Species Conservation Fee" and cancels it from the executive regulations issued by Executive Council Resolution No. (69) of 2015.

Additionally, the decision stipulates that EAD shall issue guidelines and conditions for hunting using traditional methods outside the designated hunting areas determined by EAD. This involves prohibiting hunting within the borders of protected areas, rangelands, or near restricted areas as specified in Article (4) of Local Law No. (22) of 2005.

The traditional hunting permit issued by EAD will include terms and conditions for hunting, such as the details of the licence holder, the seasons and areas of hunting, and the species licensed for hunting.

The permit will also emphasise additional legal provisions regarding species conservation and promote sustainable hunting.According to the decision, EAD has outlined the species allowed to be hunted by falconers, which includes only Houbara birds.

Hunting is permitted using falcons licensed and registered with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and proof of registration must be submitted if requested.

Traditional hunting is restricted to open areas while avoiding prohibited places such as nature reserves, forests and residential, military and petroleum production areas by no less than two kilometers.

EAD stressed the need for the licensee to abide by the specified hunting period, with permits issued for one season only. EAD will also start licensing wild hunting for this season until 28th February 2022, under the terms and conditions set by EAD as the competent authority.

It is prohibited to hunt any wild animal and cause its disturbance. It is also forbidden to drive vehicles over and damage vegetation. Furthermore, it is prohibited to transfer a hunting permit to another person. The permit must be carried while hunting and presented upon request.

To obtain a wild hunting permit, the applicant must be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates and be at least 18 years old. The application for a wild hunting permit can be submitted through the EAD email at customerhappiness@ead.gov.ae.

Law No. (22) of 2005 on hunting in Abu Dhabi lays down a legal framework for hunting activities to ensure they are within environmental controls and standards, consistent with the supreme goals and efforts to preserve and conserve wild animal species in a manner that does not conflict with the sustainability of their numbers in their natural habitats.

The law contributes to protecting the heritage of falconry, protecting wild animals, preserving hunting areas, and optimising wildlife resources according to an integrated vision that meets environmental sustainability standards.

The law aligns with other local and federal environmental laws to ensure adequate biodiversity protection while maintaining local culture and traditions that depend directly or indirectly on natural resources.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi is currently creating a model for hunting in Abu Dhabi benchmarked against international standards and best practices from across the world, including Europe, Africa, the United States, Canada and countries in the Arab region.

The UAE has updated its wildlife hunting laws to promote traditional hunting while ensuring sustainable development and species protection. The Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing these regulations and will issue guidelines for traditional hunting outside designated areas, prohibiting hunting in protected zones.

The amendments to Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decision No. 69/2015, as per Decision No. 5/2021, aim to preserve traditional hunting. Hunting permits will specify terms, including licence holder information, hunting seasons, areas and species allowed (currently only Houbara birds). The Species Conservation Fee is waived, and hunting with licensed and registered falcons is permitted.

Traditional hunting is restricted to open areas, and permits are valid for one season, expiring on 28th February 2022. The law prohibits harming wild animals, driving vehicles over vegetation, and transferring permits. Hunters must carry their permits and be UAE citizens over 18 years old.

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UK Government and British Airways Face Lawsuit Over 1990 Kuwait Hostage Crisis

Passengers and crew of a British Airways flight taken hostage in Kuwait in 1990 have initiated legal proceedings against the UK government and the airline, as announced by a law firm on Monday.

The incident involved BA flight 149, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur and landed in Kuwait on August 2, 1990, just hours after Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein invaded the country.

The 367 passengers and crew members were subsequently held captive for over four months, with some being used as human shields during the Gulf War.

A total of 94 former hostages have filed a civil lawsuit in the High Court in London, accusing the UK government and British Airways of "deliberately endangering" them. McCue Jury & Partners, the law firm representing them, stated that all claimants experienced severe physical and psychological trauma, the effects of which persist.

The lawsuit alleges that the UK government and British Airways were aware of the invasion before allowing the flight to land. It claims the flight was used to "insert a covert special ops team into occupied Kuwait."

Barry Manners, a claimant who was on the flight, stated, "We were not treated as citizens but as expendable pawns for commercial and political gain." He hopes the lawsuit will help restore trust in the political and judicial system after years of alleged cover-up and denial.

Documents released by the British government in November 2021 indicated that the UK ambassador to Kuwait had informed London of the Iraqi invasion before the flight landed, but this information was not relayed to British Airways.

There have been further allegations that the UK government knowingly endangered passengers by using the flight to deploy undercover operatives and delaying its take-off to facilitate this. The government has denied these claims and declined to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings.

British Airways has consistently denied allegations of negligence, conspiracy, and cover-up. The airline did not respond to a request for comment from AFP but previously stated that the records released in 2021 confirmed they were not warned about the invasion.

McCue Jury & Partners had announced in September their intention to file the lawsuit, suggesting that the hostages might seek an estimated average of £170,000 ($213,000) each in damages.

In 2003, a French court ordered British Airways to pay 1.67 million euros to French hostages from the flight, citing a "serious failure" in their obligations by landing the plane.

The airline did not respond to AFP's request for comment but stated last year that records released in 2021 "confirmed British Airways was not warned about the invasion."

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What Steps Can Tenants Take If Landlord Delays Responding to Renewal Contracts in Dubai?

In a recent case, a tenant in Dubai faced uncertainty after the landlord remained unresponsive for six weeks after issuing an eight-month tenancy renewal contract. Despite attempts to negotiate for a standard 12-month contract, the landlord has not responded, leaving the tenants unsure of their next steps.

According to UAE's Law No. 33 of 2008, which amended parts of Law No. 26 of 2007 governing landlord-tenant relationships, tenants are not required to provide notice for non-renewal if the contract has a specified start and end date.

The law’s 90-day notice period is intended for either party to propose changes to the contract at renewal. However, if the landlord does not communicate, tenants can vacate at the end of their tenancy.

Many landlords and tenants may not be aware of this rule, potentially leading to disputes. If a tenant vacates without notice, landlords may attempt to withhold the security deposit, believing that notice was required. This could result in the tenant needing to file a case with the Rental Dispute Centre to resolve the issue.

Applicable Law and Tenant Rights

The relevant law is Law No. 26 of 2007 (as amended by Law No. 33 of 2008) ‘Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai’ (the “Tenancy Law”).

This law applies to all leased lands and properties in Dubai, excluding free accommodation provided to employees. Under this law, tenants have the right to automatically renew their leases, derived from Article 25(2) of the Tenancy Law, considered a matter of public policy. Any agreement to the contrary between the parties is unenforceable.

However, the landlord can refuse the renewal under certain conditions, such as property demolition, significant renovation, personal use, or sale of the property. Strict notice requirements must be followed for eviction, including a twelve-month notice served through the Notary Public or by registered mail.

Lease Renewal Laws for Landlords and Tenants in Dubai

Here’s a detailed look at the laws and essentials for both landlords and tenants in Dubai.

Applicable Law

The relevant legislation is Law No. 26 of 2007, amended by Law No. 33 of 2008, titled ‘Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai’ (the “Tenancy Law”). This law applies to all leased properties in Dubai, regardless of their use -- be it residential, commercial, or industrial -- excluding free accommodation provided to employees by natural or judicial persons.

Tenant’s Right to Renewal

Under the Tenancy Law, tenants have an automatic right to renew their leases. This right is enshrined in Article 25(2) and is considered a matter of public policy, making any agreement to the contrary unenforceable as confirmed by previous decisions of the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC).

Landlord’s Grounds to Refuse Renewal

While tenants have the right to renew, landlords can object to renewal under specific circumstances:
Demolition for Construction: Landlords may evict tenants if they intend to demolish the property for reconstruction or addition of new constructions. Tenants can challenge this claim at the RDSC, which requires the landlord to provide evidence, such as prior approval from Dubai Municipality.
Renovation or Maintenance: Renewal can be refused if the property requires extensive renovation or maintenance that cannot be carried out while the tenant is still residing there. The landlord must submit a technical report from Dubai Municipality or an accredited entity.
Recovery for Personal Use: Landlords can evict tenants if they or their first-degree relatives intend to use the property personally. Proof that the landlord lacks suitable alternative property is required. This ground is mainly relevant for individual landlords and may be challenging for commercial leases, where landlords might own multiple properties.
Sale of Property: If the landlord wishes to sell the property, they must provide evidence of the sale, such as a broker agreement or a memorandum of understanding. Simply declaring the intent to sell is insufficient.

Notice Requirements

For eviction, landlords must serve a notice if the grounds align with the mandatory conditions. The notice must:

  • Be served at least twelve months before the eviction date.
  • Be delivered through a Notary Public or by registered mail.
  • Clearly state the grounds for eviction.

Failure to adhere to these requirements allows tenants to challenge the notice, potentially leading to its rejection by the RDSC. The landlord would then need to serve a new notice, delaying the eviction process.

Eviction Order

Once the notice period expires, landlords can apply to the RDSC for an eviction order. If the RDSC finds the landlord’s grounds valid, it will issue an order, and the tenant must vacate the property.

Protecting Your Rights

For Tenants:

  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all communications with your landlord.
  • Know Your Rights: Familiarise yourself with the Tenancy Law.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult a legal expert specialising in Dubai’s tenancy laws.
  • Use Formal Channels: Send notices via registered mail or through a Notary Public.
  • Consider Legal Action: If disputes persist, file a case with the RDSC.

For Landlords:

  • Follow Legal Procedures: Ensure all eviction notices meet the legal requirements.
  • Provide Sufficient Evidence: When claiming grounds for eviction, be ready to present necessary documentation.

Another Case in Abu Dhabi

In another case, a tenant in Abu Dhabi faces a different dilemma. With their tenancy contract set to expire in one month and an unexpected need to leave the country, they are seeking clarity on their obligations. Despite having previously agreed to renew the contract, they must now cancel their residence visa and leave.

A situation like this largely depends on the landlord's discretion. While the tenant may face penalties for short notice, negotiating with the landlord for a compromise is advised. Potential penalties could amount to one or two months’ rent. Finding a new tenant could also help mitigate these costs.

Protecting Your Rights

To protect your rights as a tenant, consider the following steps:

  • Document Communication: Keep a record of all communications with your landlord, including emails, messages, and letters. This documentation can be crucial if a dispute arises.
  • Understand the Law: Familiarise yourself with the Tenancy Law and your rights and obligations under it. Knowing the legal framework can help you make informed decisions and recognise when your rights are being infringed upon.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If your landlord is unresponsive or you face potential legal issues, consider consulting with a legal expert who specialises in landlord-tenant laws in Dubai. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.
  • Use Registered Mail for Notices: When sending important notices, use registered mail or the services of a Notary Public to ensure that your communications are formally acknowledged.
  • File a Case if Necessary: If you cannot resolve issues with your landlord and your rights are being violated, you may need to file a case with the Rental Dispute Centre. Legal action can help enforce your rights and potentially recover any withheld deposit.

To protect your rights as a landlord, consider the following steps:

  • Follow Legal Procedures: Ensure all eviction notices meet the legal requirements.
  • Provide Sufficient Evidence: When claiming grounds for eviction, be ready to present necessary documentation.

Conclusion

In both scenarios, tenants are advised to communicate openly with their landlords to seek amicable solutions and be prepared for potential financial repercussions.

By understanding the legal framework and practical considerations, both landlords and tenants can navigate the complexities of lease renewals and avoid disputes.

The Tenancy Law offers increased protection for tenants and stability in Dubai’s housing market, though challenges remain in its application to commercial leases.

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St. Petersburg International Legal Forum: Kuwait Aims to Modernise Judicial System

Kuwait's Minister of Justice and Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Dr.Muhammad Al-Wasmi, reaffirmed the country's commitment to advancing its judicial system to align with global developments.

Speaking to KUNA after presiding over the plenary session at the 12th St. Petersburg International Legal Forum in Russia from June 26-28, Al-Wasmi underscored the significance of Kuwait's participation in the event.

Al-Wasmi emphasised that the forum, which spans three days, covers crucial topics related to the judicial system, emerging jurisprudence issues, the latest legislative developments, and the incorporation of technology to modernise judicial practices.

The Kuwaiti delegation aimed to showcase the government's use of electronic systems across various sectors to improve service delivery. Highlighting recent advancements, Al-Wasmi noted that the Ministry of Justice has implemented automated systems within its departments, integrating them with the government services application (Sahel) to streamline processes for litigants.

He stressed Kuwait's recognition of the importance of innovation and technology in the justice sector amidst rapid global changes.

On the forum's sidelines, Minister Al-Wasmi joined a meeting with fellow justice ministers from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. The ministers discussed enhancing cooperation and unifying positions on key issues featured on the forum's agenda.


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MoHRE Sets June 30 Deadline for Emiratisation Targets, Urges Compliance

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has announced that June 30 is the final deadline for achieving Emiratisation targets for the first half of 2024.

These targets require a 1% increase in the number of UAE citizens in skilled positions at companies with 50 or more employees, as per the Council of Ministers' decisions.

In a press release, the ministry stated that from July 1st onwards, it will begin assessing companies' compliance with these targets and will impose financial penalties on those that fail to meet the requirements.

The ministry praised companies that have met the growth targets, highlighting the importance of registering Emirati employees in a pension fund and the Wage Protection System (WPS). It urged these companies to maintain the achieved growth rates by June 30.

Expressing confidence in companies' ability to meet their commitments amid the UAE's rapid economic development, the ministry noted the significant contributions of Emirati citizens in the private sector.

Additionally, the ministry encouraged companies that have not yet met their targets to use the Nafis Programme’s digital platform. This platform provides access to a large pool of qualified Emirati job seekers across various fields.

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Blood Money and Justice: Exploring the Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Diya in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates Penal Code, established by Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021, serves as the foundation for criminal justice in the nation. It outlines a range of punishments for offenses, including fines, imprisonment terms of varying lengths (temporary or life), and even the death penalty. The Code also integrates principles derived from Islamic law, specifically regarding retribution (Qisas) and compensation for victims (Diya).

Diya is a key aspect of victim compensation through blood money, which is a financial payment mandated by the Penal Code. In the UAE, Diya is a form of compensation paid by a perpetrator to a victim or the victim's family for death or injury, based on Islamic Sharia principles. It can be traced back to the Holy Quran, where it is intended to promote justice and forgiveness through financial compensation.

Diya serves as an alternative to Qisas, which refers to retaliation, allowing the victim’s family some retribution. In cases of involuntary manslaughter, where a killing occurs unintentionally, Diya serves as a form of financial restitution to the victim's family. The standard amount for involuntary manslaughter is set at Dh200,000 according to Article 30.

However, it's important to note that Diya is not the sole consequence. As stipulated by Article 383, the perpetrator may also face additional penalties outlined in the Penal Code, such as imprisonment.

This means that someone who commits a crime resulting in death could be sentenced to jail time while simultaneously being obligated to pay blood money to the victim's family.

It's crucial to understand that Diya is not awarded in all criminal cases. It's strictly applicable to offenses against human life and society, such as unintentional killings, causing serious injuries, or permanent disabilities.

Arsh Compensation

The UAE Penal Code also recognises compensation for bodily harm beyond involuntary manslaughter. Arsh refers to financial compensation awarded for the loss of limbs, organs, or bodily functions. The payment amount is not a fixed sum but rather a proportion of the standard Diya (Dh200,000) determined by a medical evaluation.

A team of medical professionals assesses the disability percentage sustained by the victim, and this rating is then applied to the base Diya amount to calculate the final Arsh compensation.

For instance, a 50 per cent disability would result in an Arsh compensation of Dh100,000. Notably, the courts may award the full Diya amount in cases of severe injuries, such as losing both limbs.

Application of Diya

Diya plays a significant role in compensating families for deaths caused by traffic accidents. However, the amount awarded is not absolute. Mitigating factors, such as the victim's own actions contributing to the accident, can lead to a reduction in Diya.

This principle was illustrated in a case before the Federal Supreme Court (Case No. UAE 42/2014). Here, a driver was found responsible for a child's death in a traffic accident and ordered to pay Diya. The driver appealed the decision, arguing contributory negligence on the part of the child's father who allegedly let the child run near moving vehicles.

Even though the Federal Supreme Court, in its 2015 decision, rejected the appeal, the court still acknowledged the trial court's authority to assess the link between fault and damages, including the extent to which the victim or others contributed to the accident. Crucially, the court determined that the charges against the driver were proven to the point of conviction, rendering the argument of contributory negligence irrelevant at the appeal stage.

This case emphasises the nuanced application of Diya in the UAE. While it offers compensation to the victim's family, the system considers the degree of fault on both sides, ensuring a balance between restorative justice and accountability.

In contrast, Diya is not used in cases considered to be an “Act of God.” For example, in a case regarding a passenger who died of a heart attack during a flight, the family sought compensation through Diya and other psychological damages. They argued that under the Montreal Convention, which was embodied in UAE law through Federal Decree No. 13 of 2000, the airline negligently handled the medical emergency and should have taken reasonable steps to mitigate the condition.

The UAE court, influenced by expert testimony on aviation matters, ultimately concluded that the airline bore no fault in the passenger's death. The heart attack was classified as an "Act of God," absolving the airline of liability. Furthermore, the court acknowledged the crew's appropriate actions, including seeking medical advice via Medlink (the standard procedure for onboard medical consultations) and providing available medical care.

The timeframe and location (over the sea) also factored into the court's decision, deeming an emergency landing impractical. The case illustrates that the concept of Diya is only applicable when the airline's negligence is established, and it does not preclude claims for other forms of compensation.

Compensation Beyond Blood Money

The UAE legal system allows for compensation beyond Diya in certain circumstances. A landmark case (Case No. 111/2020) involved an insurance company disputing additional compensation for moral damages awarded to the parents of a child killed in a traffic accident, on top of the Diya payment.

The company argued that Article 299 of the UAE Civil Code prohibits combining these forms of compensation. However, the Dubai Court of Cassation disagreed.

While the article restricts combining Diya with other forms of compensation meant as financial gain, the court distinguished moral damages as a remedy for the emotional and psychological suffering endured by the parents.

The court emphasised that these damages are separate from Diya, which serves as financial compensation for the loss of life. Therefore, the court upheld the additional compensation for the parents' emotional distress. This case clarifies that Diya does not preclude victims' families from seeking compensation for intangible losses associated with their tragedy.

In essence, the UAE Penal Code strives to achieve a balance between punishment and financial support for the families of victims in specific criminal cases.

This system reflects the influence of Islamic legal principles while incorporating a contemporary approach to criminal justice. Additionally, while the standard Diya amount is established, there may be variations depending on the specific circumstances of the crime and the gender of the victim.

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Now You Can File Labour Complaints Through MoHRE's Newly-Launched Video Call Service

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has introduced a new video call service for customers via its official smart application, aiming to enhance digital services and customer support. This feature complements the existing video call service available on WhatsApp through the number 600590000.

Enhancing Digital Services

The launch of the video call service aligns with the UAE Government’s ambitious digital transformation goals. By expanding and supporting the scope of its digital offerings, MoHRE aims to provide seamless and efficient customer service. Users can now inquire about all MoHRE services and receive necessary support through video calls with customer happiness consultants.

Accessible and User-Friendly

Customers can access the video call service through the Ministry’s official application by selecting the ‘Support and Contact’ option. Additionally, the service is available on WhatsApp under the ‘Establishments and Workers’ or ‘Domestic Workers’ options, ensuring a seamless and efficient communication channel for all users.

Strategic Expansion

“Expanding the new service and launching it through the smart application is part of our strategy at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation,” said Hussain Al Alili, Director of the Customer Relations Department at MoHRE. “It aligns with our commitment to providing outstanding services to customers, expanding our digital offering, and ensuring a comfortable, easy, and quick user experience.”

Customer-Centric Approach

“The new service is designed to meet the needs of all customers, providing them with support, assistance, and prompt responses from the ministry. This initiative serves to enhance compliance with labour market regulations and provide reliable answers to users’ questions,” Al Alili added. He also praised the ministry’s qualified and highly trained team for their efficiency in responding to inquiries in various languages and providing effective solutions and advice.

How to Use the Service

  •  Download the MoHRE app or visit the MoHRE website.
  •  Navigate to the labour complaint section and select the video call option.
  •  Schedule an appointment or initiate an immediate call, depending on availability.
  •  During the call, provide necessary details and documents to the MoHRE representative.

The launch of this service is part of MoHRE's ongoing efforts to modernise and enhance the labour market framework in the UAE. By integrating advanced technology, MoHRE continues to uphold its commitment to protecting workers' rights and fostering a fair and productive work environment.

Service Availability

The video call service will be available to customers during MoHRE’s official working hours from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm Monday to Thursday, and from 7:30am to 12:00pm on Friday. Customers can also contact the ministry’s call centre at 600590000 any time throughout the week.

Conclusion

The introduction of the video call service by the Ministry marks a significant step towards enhancing digital services and customer support. By leveraging modern technology to provide seamless and efficient communication channels, MoHRE demonstrates its commitment to customer satisfaction and digital transformation.

This service is expected to streamline interactions, provide timely and reliable assistance, and uphold the ministry's high standards of service excellence, ultimately benefiting the UAE’s labour market and its stakeholders.

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Indian Govt Probes Foxconn Over Exclusion of Married Women from iPhone Assembly Jobs

The Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has intervened following a Reuters report that exposed Foxconn's practice of excluding married women from iPhone assembly jobs at its main plant in Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has invoked the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, which explicitly prohibits discrimination in hiring based on gender. In a statement, the ministry called for a detailed report from the Tamil Nadu Labour Department, the location of the iPhone factory in question.

Additionally, the ministry directed the Regional Chief Labour Commissioner to provide a factual report on the situation. Neither Apple nor Foxconn immediately responded to requests for comment on the government's statement. The Tamil Nadu state government also did not respond to Reuters' request for comment outside of regular office hours.

A Reuters investigation published earlier revealed that Foxconn systematically avoided hiring married women, citing reasons such as family responsibilities, pregnancy, and higher absenteeism compared to unmarried women. The Ministry of Labour noted these reports and emphasized the legal framework prohibiting such discriminatory practices.

In response to questions raised in the Reuters report, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged previous lapses in hiring practices in 2022 and stated that corrective actions had been taken. However, the discriminatory practices documented at the Sriperumbudur plant occurred in 2023 and 2024, for which Apple and Foxconn did not provide specific responses.

Apple clarified that they took immediate action in 2022 upon learning of concerns about hiring practices and had implemented monthly audits to ensure compliance with their standards across all suppliers, including Foxconn. Foxconn, on the other hand, strongly denied allegations of discrimination based on marital status, gender, religion, or any other grounds.

Legal experts cited by Reuters pointed out that while Indian law does not explicitly prohibit companies from discriminating in hiring based on marital status, both Apple and Foxconn have policies against such practices within their supply chains.

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SFDA Fines Firm $133,333 for Tampering with Data on Banned Fish Consignment

 

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has fined a firm in the Qassim region SR500,000 ($133,333) for tampering with the data of a fish species prohibited from import into Saudi Arabia, with the intent of selling it in the domestic market.

The SFDA reported that the penalty was imposed following a request to inspect a shipment containing eight types of fish in a warehouse imported from outside Saudi Arabia. During the inspection, officials grew suspicious of one fish variety's name in the consignment, as the data on the label and the customs declaration did not match the apparent appearance of the imported fish.

Consequently, samples were taken and all the fish were sorted, revealing that one of the imported varieties did not correspond with the label. It was identified as river tilapia, a species whose import is banned in the Kingdom.

The SFDA stated that this consignment, weighing approximately two tonnes, was rejected, and the firm was referred to the relevant authorities to complete the necessary regulatory procedures and impose penalties as per the law.

According to the Food Law and its executive regulations, the penalties for this violation amount to a fine of SR500,000, along with preventing or suspending the violator from engaging in any activities related to the Food Law.

The violation pertains to any establishment trading or advertising food or its derivatives that contain prohibited, forbidden, contaminated, or banned substances, either internationally or locally, or if the firm was previously subjected to a trading ban.

The SFDA urged consumers to report any violations in establishments under its supervision by calling the unified number 19999 or through the Tameni application.

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UAE to Launch ‘Anti-Piracy Lab’ to Block Websites Violating Intellectual Property Rights

The UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Spanish National Professional Football League ‘La Liga’ to establish a laboratory aimed at combating piracy and protecting intellectual property rights in the UAE.

The initiative will focus on detecting and addressing the illegal use of audio and visual content across digital platforms. The project, executed in collaboration with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Digital Government (TDRA), will be established in Dubai Media City.

The MoU was signed by Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, and Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, in the presence of Major General Dr Abdul Quddus Abdul Razzaq Al Obaidly, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Excellence and Pioneering at Dubai Police and Chairman of the Emirates Intellectual Property Association; Abdullah Balhoul, CEO of TECOM Group; and Majid Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice

President of TECOM Group - Dubai Media City. Al Saleh emphasised the UAE's commitment to building a robust intellectual property system aligned with the best global practices.

“The UAE has established a legislative framework that is highly adaptable and competitive on both regional and international levels, enhancing its role as a premier global centre for creativity and innovation. This aligns with the 'We the UAE 2031' vision to position the country as a global hub for the new economy and a thriving society by the next decade,” he said.

“The MoU marks a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen the comprehensive protection of intellectual property applications and creative works in the UAE. Through our collaboration with La Liga, we aim to establish frameworks for blocking websites that infringe upon intellectual property rights in the country, aligning with the best global practices.

It also focuses on strengthening the UAE’s collaborations in combating intellectual property infringements and supporting global initiatives in this field. Additionally, this new project will bolster the Ministry’s ‘InstaBlock’ initiative, which was launched in February as part of its new intellectual property system initiatives,” he added.

Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, said: "It is a historic act because we are at a moment where intellectual property in the sports industry is completely threatened. We have more than 10 years of experience in this fight around the world, which is why we know that this agreement is unique.

"This agreement is an example of how public and private authorities can understand each other and create collaborative spaces against audiovisual fraud. We are seeing with the latest resolutions that we can fight piracy with technology. The Emirates is an example to follow, a pioneer in the world and unique in this activity.

"We know that we will not only defend La Liga but also many other sports and audiovisual properties. We must defend this industry that belongs to everyone."

Abdullah Balhoul, CEO of TECOM Group, said: “Protecting intellectual property is one of the key pillars in advancing a knowledge-based economy. The UAE and Dubai have been pivotal in this effort, utilising their status as global hubs for creativity.

Through specialised business districts like Dubai Media City, the TECOM Group has created integrated business environments that attract top talent from around the world. The Group has succeeded in attracting global companies and top talent in six strategic sectors, thanks to the UAE and Dubai's state-of-the-art infrastructure, supported by legislative and regulatory frameworks that prioritise innovation and growth.

“TECOM Group’s media sector includes over 3,500 clients working within Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City. Our goals align with forward-looking government strategies such as ‘We the UAE 2031’ and the Dubai Economic Agenda D33. We are pleased to welcome La Liga in Dubai Media City, affirming our steadfast commitment to supporting the Ministry of Economy’s efforts to cement the UAE’s position as a leading global destination for creativity and innovation.”

Through this project, the MoE seeks to encourage investment in advanced technology and digital innovations, along with the various services offered by the laboratory.

The primary objective is to enhance the protection of intellectual and creative rights within the country, in line with the Ministry’s strategic goals of fostering leadership and competitiveness in innovation and intellectual property rights.

This initiative also aims to empower national creative talents to utilise intellectual property applications, thereby contributing to the development of a knowledge and innovation-driven national economy.

The MoE has outlined plans to complete the project within three years in collaboration with its partners. The Anti-Piracy Lab, which will be established in Dubai Media City, will be similar to La Liga’s Anti-Piracy Lab in Madrid. The lab will utilise cutting-edge technological and digital tools to detect, analyse and remove illegally used audiovisual content, adhering to industry best practices.

Dubai was chosen due to its collaborative efforts with relevant government bodies to formulate policies promoting creative industries and safeguarding intellectual property rights. The city also contributes to the development of a legal and regulatory framework that supports innovation and creativity in the media industry.

The MoE, through its ‘InstaBlock’ initiative, successfully blocked 1,117 websites that infringed upon the copyright of creative content on digital platforms during the holy month of Ramadan 2024, compared to 62 sites in Ramadan 2023.

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Woman Receives 6-Month Prison Sentence for Stabbing Boyfriend During Dispute Over Phone

 

A woman, who stabbed her boyfriend three times after he refused to hand over his mobile phone so she could check his chats, has been sentenced to six months in prison.

The incident occurred on August 20, 2022 at their shared apartment in Dubai’s Al Muraqqabat area. According to the Dubai court verdict, the Thai national and the Arab victim were in a romantic relationship and frequently faced conflicts. On the day of the incident, she saw her boyfriend in the kitchen, engaged in a voice chat with another woman.

When she questioned him about the call, he did not respond, prompting her to demand his phone. After his refusal, she attempted to seize the mobile phone by force but was unsuccessful. At that point, her boyfriend struck her on her left eyebrow.

The woman then grabbed a kitchen knife and warned her boyfriend that she would stab him if he hit her again. As he tried to disarm her, she stabbed him three times.

Her boyfriend managed to leave the kitchen but collapsed in the bathroom, bleeding from his chest. Overcome with fear upon seeing the blood, she called the police and reported the incident, seeking medical help for him.

Emergency services arrived, and the man was taken to Rashid Hospital, where he was treated for three stab wounds -- two to his chest and one to his left forearm.

The forensic report confirmed that the man sustained three stab wounds, including a deep, life-threatening chest wound that caused significant internal bleeding and required extensive medical treatment.

During the prosecution investigation, the woman admitted to an attempted murder charge and explained that she did not intend to kill him but only wanted to protect herself after he assaulted her. She repeated the same explanation to the judges.

In light of the evidence, the court concluded that the woman’s actions constituted intentional bodily harm rather than attempted murder.

The court noted that she ceased her assault after the initial stabbing and sought help for the victim, indicating a lack of intent to kill. Consequently, she was found guilty of assault, not attempted murder, and sentenced to six months in prison. The woman will be deported after serving her sentence.

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Law Update: Airlines Should Compensate Passengers for Damaged or Lost Luggage

 

A recent update to the UAE's Commercial Transactions Law outlines the conditions under which travellers can claim compensation for stolen or lost belongings during flights. The law specifies the responsibilities of airlines for passengers' checked-in luggage, clarifying when and how passengers can seek compensation.

Responsibilities of Airlines

Under Article 353(2) of Federal Decree-Law No. 50 of 2022, which issues the Commercial Transactions Law, airlines departing from or arriving in the UAE are responsible for the checked-in luggage of their passengers.

The law states: “The luggage referred to in Clause (1) hereof shall mean the objects that may be carried by the passenger in the aircraft or delivered to the carrier to be in its custody, during the travel.”

Additionally, Article 356(1) stipulates that airlines are liable for damage or loss of checked-in luggage. It states, “The air carrier shall be responsible for the damage resulting from the destruction, loss, or damage of the checked luggage and cargo if an accident occurs and results in damage during the air transport.”

Compensation for Lost or Damaged Luggage

In cases of damage or loss of luggage, airlines should compensate passengers up to Dh500 per kilogramme of luggage. Article 359(2) explains: “In case of transport of luggage and cargo, the remedy shall not exceed Dh500 for each kilogramme unless it is agreed on a higher amount.

However, if the consignor sends a special statement upon delivering the luggage or cargo indicating the special importance imparted to the delivery thereof in good condition at the destination due to its value, and pays the additional fare requested by the carrier, the carrier shall pay the remedy in the amount specified by the consignor, unless the carrier proves that such value exceeds the real value of luggage and cargo.”

Filing a Civil Claim

Passengers who experience loss or damage to their luggage may file a civil claim against the airline. According to Article 368, claims can be filed in any of the following courts:

  • The court with territorial jurisdiction over the arrival or departure destinations.
  • The court under whose jurisdiction the airline’s head office is located.
  • The court specified in the travel contract (air ticket) between the passenger and the airline.

The law states that the claimant shall have the option to file action before any of the following courts:

  • The court in which circuit the domicile of the carrier is located.
  • The court in which circuit the head office of the carrier’s activity is located.
  • The court in which circuit the establishment or the facility that concludes a contract for him, is located.
  • The court of the destination.

Steps to Take

  • Check Your Air Ticket: Review the terms and conditions related to the loss of checked-in luggage.
  •  File a Complaint: Submit a written complaint to the relevant airline regarding the loss of your personal belongings.
  • Seek Higher Authorities: If the airline is uncooperative, file a complaint with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.
  • Consider Legal Action: If necessary, consider filing a case against the airline in the Dubai Court or the court with jurisdiction over the South Asian airport where the belongings were lost.

These updates are part of the UAE’s efforts to protect passengers' rights and ensure that airlines are held accountable for their responsibilities. Travellers are advised to be aware of these regulations to take appropriate action if they encounter any issues with their luggage.

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Criminal Offenses Frequently Committed by Employees Against Their Companies and the Penalties

In the fast-paced and competitive world of business, trust is paramount. Crimes in the workplace can take various forms, but one of the most insidious is the creation and misuse of deceptive documents by employees, particularly those in managerial positions.

The impact of these crimes can be profound for the company. Therefore, this article will focus on breach of trust, embezzlement of funds, forgery and fraud perpetrated against employers by employees.

Forgery

Forgery is a serious concern with significant societal implications. It involves the creation of a false instrument intended to deceive others into accepting it as genuine, thereby causing harm.

Under Article 251(4) of the Crimes and Penalties Law, forging a document or falsely attributing it to a third party constitutes forgery. UAE law imposes strict penalties, including temporary imprisonment for up to 10 years, for misappropriating fake official documents. The effects of forgery extend beyond immediate financial losses; forged documents can lead to severe consequences for employers.

Embezzlement of Funds

Embezzlement refers to the dishonest appropriation by an employee of money or valuables entrusted to them by their employer. The UAE Penal Code outlines severe consequences for those misusing their positions within a company.

It stipulates that individuals who unlawfully seize company papers or funds through misuse of office can face temporary imprisonment. Additionally, using forged documents exacerbates the penalty to a minimum of five years' imprisonment.

Thus, employees guilty of embezzling funds or misappropriating company papers may face imprisonment. Consequently, embezzlement damages the company's reputation, undermining trust among clients, investors and stakeholders, thereby jeopardising business opportunities and tarnishing the company's image.

Fraud

Fraud involves knowingly or recklessly making false representations through statements or conduct to gain a material advantage. Within companies, fraudulent activities encompass unethical practices such as misappropriation of assets or falsification of documents.

Employee fraud against employers poses a significant threat to company stability, involving deceptive actions aimed at personal gain. According to the Crimes and Penalties Law, individuals unlawfully taking property or using deceitful means for personal benefit can face imprisonment or fines.

Breach of Trust

Breach of trust occurs when a person in a position of responsibility, such as a trustee, fails to fulfil their duties, thereby betraying the trust placed in them.

This betrayal often results in harm or loss to the company. Breach of trust can lead to financial losses and damaged reputations, ultimately affecting the company's standing.

Under Article 453 of Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021, individuals misappropriating entrusted money or documents to the detriment of the rightful owner can face imprisonment or fines.

For instance, a manager creating documents on behalf of the company and subsequently delegated to employees who misuse them could result in liability and subsequent damages for the company, potentially leading to imprisonment or fines for those involved.

Conclusion

Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 (Crimes and Penalties Law) safeguards employers against fraudulent actions by employees, which pose significant risks to companies. Understanding the severe penalties outlined in this law serves as a strong deterrent, discouraging involvement in criminal activities.

The law aims not only to protect employers but also to ensure that individuals engaging in fraud face appropriate consequences. 

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Man Who Briefly Worked in Pakistan for Job Not an Enemy, Rules Kerala High Court

 

An Indian man cannot be termed an ‘enemy’ under the Defence of India Act or its rules merely because he briefly worked in Pakistan, observed the Kerala High Court recently.

The Court made the observation while quashing proceedings initiated under the Enemy Property Act, 1968 against certain land that had belonged to the now-deceased man, which was later acquired by his son.

The 74-year-old son (petitioner), a retired police officer, was not allowed to pay basic tax on this property on the ground that there were instructions not to alienate the said land on account of proceedings initiated against it under the Enemy Property Act.

The petitioner was told that his father, who passed away in 1995, had been viewed as an "enemy" since he went to Pakistan in search of a job in 1953.
Aggrieved, the petitioner moved the High Court seeking relief.

In a June 24 ruling, Justice Viju Abraham observed that moving to Pakistan for a job does not make one an "enemy" under the Defence of India Rules.
"Only for the reason that the petitioner's father had gone to Pakistan in search of a job and worked there for a short period will not bring the petitioner’s father within the definition of ‘enemy’ under Rules 130 or 138 of the Defence of India Rules, 1971, which was provided for a totally different purpose and the reliance placed on the said Rules is totally out of context and irrelevant to the facts of the case in hand," the Court said.

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by P. Ummer Koya after he came to know that the Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI) had initiated proceedings against his father under the Enemy Property Act, 1968, based on a 1971 notification issued by the Union Ministry of Foreign Trade.

This notification stated that all property defined as enemy property under Rule 138 of the Defence of India Rules, 1971 and which is held by an enemy, as defined under Rule 130, would be vested in the CEPI.

Rule 130 deals with the 'Control of Trading with Enemy,' and Rule 138 pertains to the 'Control of Enemy Firm.' These rules were designed to prohibit trade with an enemy or enemy firms.

Koya contested the decision to declare his father's property as "enemy property" under these provisions. He told the Court that he and his family have been residing in Malappuram, Kerala for generations. His father died in 1995 at the age of 93 years and was buried in India, he added.

He submitted that his father had briefly worked in Karachi, Pakistan as a helper in a hotel around 1953, due to which police authorities used to brand the petitioner's father as a citizen of Pakistan.

The father, however, approached the Central government in the matter and in 1990, his Indian citizenship was expressly confirmed. The authorities made inquiries and concluded that Koya's father never voluntarily acquired Pakistani citizenship and therefore, remained a citizen of India.

The Court found merit in these arguments, and also noted that the 1971 notification was only meant to prevent trading with an "enemy" and "enemy firms" to prevent external aggression against India.

The Court found no evidence that the petitioner's father was engaged in trading with an enemy or under the control of an enemy firm during his stay in Pakistan.

"The petitioner's father will not come under the definition of ‘enemy’ nor the property held by him by any stretch of imagination be held as an ‘enemy property … The 6th respondent (CEPI) has absolutely no case that the petitioner’s father was trading with an ‘enemy’ or part of any ‘enemy firm’ carrying out business with India," the Court found.

The Court, therefore, quashed the proceedings initiated by CEPI and instructed the village officer to accept the basic tax payment from the petitioner. 

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Anti-Trafficking Law Aims to Punish Traffickers, Not Sex Workers, Clarifies Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court recently highlighted that India's anti-trafficking law does not penalise sex workers or trafficking victims compelled into prostitution.

In a ruling on June 10, Justice M. Nagaprasanna clarified that the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) aims not to penalise sex workers but rather to target those who traffic women or girls for exploitation in prostitution.

"The purpose or the object of the Act is not to abolish prostitution or the prostitute. There is no provision under the law that penalises a victim who indulges in prostitution. What is punishable is sexual exploitation for commercial purposes and earning or making a living from it against such person/s," the Court said.

The Court also highlighted a similar observation made by the Bombay High Court, which emphasised that allowing the police to prosecute victims (sex workers) under the ITPA would constitute an abuse of the law.

The Court made this observation while dismissing criminal proceedings against a woman (petitioner) who had been implicated in an ITPA case in 2013. The woman was accused of being part of a group of girls who were allegedly paid ₹10,000 each to be coerced into prostitution.

The incident occurred while the girls were being transported from Udupi to Goa, and their vehicle was intercepted by authorities.

Case Brief

In the said matter, the petitioner approached the High Court seeking to quash the case filed against her under Section 5 of the ITPA, which pertains to procuring, inducing, or taking a woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution.

During the course of the hearing, the petitioner's counsel argued that she was a victim of prostitution and therefore should not face prosecution. In response, the state argued that regardless of her victim status, the petitioner cannot approach the High Court 10 years after the case was filed. The state maintained that she should undergo trial and prove her innocence.

However, the Court granted the petitioner relief after noting that Section 5 of the ITPA only punishes persons accused of procuring or attempting to procure a woman or a girl for prostitution and does not penalise the victims.

Thus, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the proceedings pending against the petitioner.

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Penal Action Against 79 Saudi Car Agents, Distributors for Violating Competition Law

 

The Saudi General Authority for Competition filed charges against 79 firms operating in the automobile sector, including agents and distributors, for violating the Competition Law during the year 2023.

The violations by these establishments included agreeing to fix prices for manipulation and dividing markets according to geographical regions in a way that curtailed competition and affected consumer welfare. Consequently, the authority filed criminal cases against 64 of these establishments and is currently examining requests submitted by the remaining 15 establishments for settlement of the cases against them.

The authority stated in its report that criminal lawsuits were filed against a number of establishments operating in various sectors. These included three pharmacies and four retail markets for fixing uniform prices for a health product for children.

Lawsuits were also filed against three establishments operating in the poultry and egg production sector for agreeing to fix prices, in addition to filing a criminal case against two computer programming firms for refraining from dealing with other firms and weakening their competitive position.

The authority also announced the initiation of criminal lawsuits against six establishments for their collusion with major companies in bids amounting to SR600 million and the filing of a criminal lawsuit against two wholesale establishments for failing to complete requirements related to their settlement requests.

Among the lawsuits that the authority is working to bring are six establishments working in the field of information technology for their collusion in competitions worth SR7.75 million, five establishments that submitted bids with the health authorities in violation of the Competition Law, and three advertising firms for violating provisions of the law.

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UAE Bankruptcy Law: Employee Protections and Entitlements in Times of Company Insolvency

In today's dynamic economic landscape, where businesses can face unexpected challenges leading to insolvency, it is crucial for employees to understand their rights and protections under the law.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Federal Decree Law 51 of 2023, promulgating the Financial Reorganisation and Bankruptcy Law (the “Bankruptcy Law”), has been pivotal in safeguarding the interests of employees when their employer declares insolvency. This legislation outlines a framework designed to provide reassurance and support to employees during what can be a tumultuous period.

Immediate Protections and Entitlements

This newly enacted Bankruptcy Law establishes that employees are considered privileged creditors. This means that when the company's assets are liquidated to settle debts, employees' claims for unpaid wages, end-of-service benefits and other entitlements are given priority over other creditors, except for secured creditors (like banks with mortgages).

When a company in the UAE declares insolvency, employees are entitled to several key protections and benefits:

Notification and Reporting: When an employer becomes insolvent or is unable to pay its debts, they must notify the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) within a specified timeframe. This notification triggers the implementation of protective measures outlined in the law.
Unpaid Wages and End-of-Service Benefits: The newly enacted law ensures that employees have a legal right to receive their unpaid wages, end-of-service benefits and any other financial entitlements accrued during their employment. In other words, when a company's assets are liquidated to pay off debts, employees' claims for their financial entitlements are given precedence. This is crucial as it safeguards employees from losing their rightful compensation due to the financial difficulties of their employer.
Redundancy Payments: In cases where the insolvency leads to redundancies, employees can demand compensation. This includes compensation for notice periods and severance pay, which are crucial lifelines for individuals facing sudden unemployment.

Legal Framework and Implementation

The Bankruptcy Law ensures that these protections are enforceable through a clear legal framework. Employers or trustees appointed by the court are obligated to comply with these provisions and ensure that all entitlements are settled. Failure to do so can result in penalties and legal consequences for the employer.

The law underscores the UAE government's commitment to maintaining fair labour practices and protecting the rights of all employees, particularly in times of economic hardship.

Challenges and Considerations

While the law provides robust protections, navigating the complexities of insolvency proceedings can still pose challenges. Employees may encounter delays in receiving their entitlements due to the intricacies of asset liquidation and debt settlement.

Therefore, it's advisable for affected individuals to seek guidance from legal experts or labour lawyers to ensure their rights are upheld throughout the process.

Conclusion

This new Bankruptcy Law represents a significant stride in ensuring that employees are not unduly disadvantaged when their employer faces insolvency. By prioritising employees' financial entitlements and providing support mechanisms during transitional periods, the UAE government underscores its commitment to safeguarding the welfare of its workforce.

For employees navigating the aftermath of company insolvency, understanding these rights and accessing available resources can make a crucial difference in mitigating the impact of unexpected job loss and financial uncertainty.

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No Bail in Liquor Policy Case, Arvind Kejriwal Sent to 3-Day CBI Custody by Delhi Court

Arvind Kejriwal has been sent to the custody of the CBI for three days, following his arrest by the federal agency in the alleged liquor policy case. The agency had asked for custody for five days.

Kejriwal was arrested by the CBI -- inside Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court - and then, inside a tumultuous hour, withdrew a Supreme Court petition challenging a stay on grant of bail after his arrest in March - in the same case - by the Enforcement Directorate.

The top court petition was withdrawn - the ED offered no objection - citing a desire to launch a more substantial appeal against the High Court's decision to stay the Rouse Avenue Court's bail order.

In the Rouse Avenue Court this morning, Kejriwal's lawyers argued that the agency's move to arrest the AAP boss at this point showed it had acted "in a most biased manner". The reference was to the fact the CBI had already quizzed him in connection with this case -- for nine hours in April last year.

Kejriwal had then been questioned as a witness in the case. On Wednesday, he addressed the court directly and recounted what he told the CBI when asked why the liquor policy in question was framed.

Kejriwal's legal team criticised the CBI for moving to arrest him at this point. "It is a poor citizen vs might of the State. This case is pending since August 2022. I was called as a witness... I appeared and, for nine hours, I assisted. Not a single notice (from the CBI) since then. How did they shift from a witness to an accused... it is a long distance to cover," they argued.

Kejriwal also asked for this hearing to be deferred by 24 hours so he could study the CBI's case. Following Kejriwal's arrest in court, his party posted a sharp message on X.

"Today when the BJP felt Delhi's son, Arvind Kejriwal, might get bail from the Supreme Court, they again hatched a conspiracy - to get him arrested by CBI in a fake case. But every conspiracy of the BJP will be answered (and the) truth will win in the end," the party said.

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How UAE Free Zone Employees Can Effectively Address Their Grievances and Seek Justice

 

In the UAE, free zones play a crucial role, offering unique benefits to companies and employees alike. However, understanding the legal landscape, especially when it comes to labour issues, can be challenging. For free zone employees facing workplace disputes, identifying the proper channels to file a complaint is essential.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how free zone employees can address their grievances effectively.

Understanding Free Zones

Free zones in the UAE are designated areas where businesses operate under distinct regulatory frameworks, separate from the UAE’s mainland laws. These zones offer advantages such as full ownership of businesses by foreign nationals, tax exemptions, and simplified procedures for starting a business.

Prominent free zones include Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

What Grievances Do Free Zone Employees Face in the UAE?

Free zone employees in the UAE often face a range of grievances, including delayed or unpaid salaries, unjust termination, workplace harassment and breaches of employment contracts. Additionally, issues such as inadequate working conditions, lack of proper health and safety measures, and unfair treatment or discrimination can also arise. These grievances can significantly impact the well-being and job satisfaction of employees, making it crucial for them to understand their rights and the proper channels to seek redress.

Required Documents for Filing a Labour Complaint

When filing a labour complaint, it is essential to have the following documents ready to support your case:

  • Employment Contract: A copy of the signed employment contract detailing your terms of employment, job role, salary, and other conditions.
  • Identification Documents: Copies of your passport, visa, and Emirates ID to establish your identity and employment status.
  • Salary Slips and Bank Statements: Records of salary slips and bank statements showing your salary payments, which can help substantiate claims of unpaid or delayed wages.
  • Correspondence: Any relevant email correspondence or written communication between you and your employer regarding the grievance. This includes emails, letters, or messages that demonstrate attempts to resolve the issue internally.
  • Additional Evidence: Any other relevant documents such as medical reports (in cases of workplace injuries or harassment), proof of expenses, or other supporting materials that strengthen your case.
  • Mediation Records: Documentation of any mediation attempts made through the free zone authority, including meeting notes, agreements, or correspondence.
  • Witness Statements: Statements from colleagues or witnesses who can corroborate your claims and provide additional evidence of the issues faced.

Steps to File a Labour Complaint

Internal Resolution: Attempt to resolve the issue internally by discussing it with your HR department or direct supervisor. This step is crucial as many disputes can be resolved through open communication. If the dispute is not settled or unsuccessful, the authority will issue a document to the aggrieved party called an NOC.
MoHRE Website: You can file an online complaint on the official website. It is important for the complaint to be reviewed by a legal expert to ensure nothing is overlooked and correct legal terms are used. You can also register the complaint by calling 600590000, which is the call centre number of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Details to be Entered: Go to the services option and enter the details asked on the website, such as your name, number, and other essential details for registering a complaint. Then, click on ‘Register Complaint’.
SMS Confirmation: You will receive an SMS confirmation of your application. The MOHRE will go through all your personal details and the details of the case, and will follow up with you.

Important Considerations

  • Documentation: Keep meticulous records of all communications and documents related to the dispute. This will be crucial in supporting your case.
  • Timeliness: Act promptly when filing a complaint. Delays can weaken your case and prolong the resolution process.
  • Legal Advice: Consider consulting a lawyer who specialises in UAE labour law. They can provide valuable guidance and increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome.

Conclusion

Filing a labour complaint in a UAE free zone involves a structured process aimed at ensuring fair treatment for employees. By following the correct steps and seeking appropriate assistance, free zone employees can effectively address their grievances and seek justice.

Remember, understanding your rights and the proper procedures is the first step towards resolving any workplace dispute.

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General Pension Authority Upgrades Registration Service for Insured Emiratis

 

UAE-based entities can now reattach and resubmit an insured’s document or application form when registering their Emirati employees, contrary to the previous rejection process in place, announced the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA).

The upgrade to the insured’s registration process aligns with GPSSA’s quest to continue improving its services for customers as part of its alignment with the UAE government's #Services2.0 campaign in its third cycle.

The previous practice rejected applications citing incomplete documents, resulting in the transaction being removed from the system and forcing the employer to resubmit the application form.

To avoid a negative impact on the service index, which specifies the number of days to complete the service, GPSSA decided to amend the entire process. According to statistics, the number of rejected transactions in the first quarter of 2024 reached 34.64 per cent due to incomplete data and attachments entered by the customer (employer). Therefore, it was decided to allow the customer to amend the applicant’s attachments and details rather than reject transactions, in order to increase operational efficiency between employers/entities and the GPSSA, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and strategic partnerships.

The registration service for an insured Emirati, which is undertaken by the entity, starts with filling out and attaching a service start form, downloading a copy of the Emirates ID, a copy of the family book, and details on whether the insured receives a pension or is employed, with an attached pension receipt as proof.

GPSSA’s tireless efforts in improving its services have resulted in accelerating the completion of transactions, facilitating access, and elevating customer experience. These factors lead to customer satisfaction and contribute to business competitiveness as part of the UAE government's mission to be recognised as one of the five best governments globally in terms of services.

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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Gains Freedom After 12 Years After Pleading Guilty in US Court

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walked free on Wednesday from a court on the US Pacific island territory of Saipan after pleading guilty to violating US espionage law, in a deal that will see him return home to Australia.

His release ends a 14-year legal saga in which Assange spent more than five years in a British high-security jail and seven years in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, battling extradition to the US, where he faced 18 criminal charges.

During the three-hour hearing, Assange pleaded guilty to one criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified national defence documents but said he had believed the US Constitution's First Amendment, which protects free speech, shielded his activities.

"Working as a journalist I encouraged my source to provide information that was said to be classified in order to publish that information," he told the court. "I believed the First Amendment protected that activity but I accept that it was ... a violation of the espionage statute."

Chief US District Judge Ramona V. Manglona accepted his guilty plea and released him due to time already served in a British jail. "We firmly believe that Mr Assange never should have been charged under the Espionage Act and engaged in (an) exercise that journalists engage in every day," his US lawyer, Barry Pollack, told reporters outside the court.

WikiLeaks' work would continue, he said. His UK and Australian lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, thanked the Australian government for its years of diplomacy in securing Assange's release.

"It is a huge relief to Julian Assange, to his family, to his friends, to his supporters and to us and to everyone who believes in free speech around the world that he can now return home to Australia and be reunited with his family," she said.

Assange, 52, left the court through a throng of TV cameras and photographers without answering questions, then waved as he got into a white SUV. He is set to leave Saipan on a private jet accompanied by Australia’s ambassadors to the US and UK, heading to the Australian capital Canberra, where they are expected to land around 7 pm (0900 GMT), according to flight logs.

Assange had agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal count, according to filings in the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. The US territory in the western Pacific was chosen due to his opposition to travelling to the mainland US and for its proximity to Australia, prosecutors said.

Dozens of media from around the world attended the hearing, with more gathered outside the courtroom to cover the proceedings. Media were not allowed inside the courtroom to film the hearing.

"I watch this and think how overloaded his senses must be, walking through the press scrum after years of sensory depravation and the four walls of his high security Belmarsh prison cell," Stella Assange, the wife of WikiLeaks founder said on social media platform X.

 Long Saga

Australian-born Assange spent more than five years in a British high-security jail and seven holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London as he fought accusations of sex crimes in Sweden and battled extradition to the US, where he faced 18 criminal charges.

Assange's supporters view him as a victim because he exposed US wrongdoing and potential crimes, including in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington has said the release of the secret documents put lives in danger.

The Australian government has been advocating for his release and has raised the issue with the United States several times. "This isn't something that has happened in the last 24 hours," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a news conference on Wednesday.

"This is something that has been considered, patient, worked through in a calibrated way, which is how Australia conducts ourselves."


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UAE Revises Entry, Residency Regulations: Guidelines on Expat Deportation Scenarios

The UAE has updated its executive regulations regarding the entry and residence of expatriates, specifying six scenarios that can lead to deportation. These updates, issued by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP), clarify both judicial and administrative deportation processes, even for individuals holding valid residence permits.

New Deportation Guidelines

The revised regulations outline six key scenarios for deportation, including:

Judicial Deportation: Ordered by a court against individuals convicted of serious crimes or misdemeanours.
Administrative Deportation: Ordered by the ICP for reasons related to public interest, security, or morals.

Four cases fall under the authority of the ICP, while two are classified as administrative deportation cases.

Key Deportation Cases

Illegal Entry: Foreigners caught trying to enter the UAE illegally, without an entry visa or residence permit.
Overstaying Visas: Individuals who let their entry or residence permits expire without renewing them within the prescribed period.
Expired Residence Permits: Those who have their residence permits cancelled and do not leave the UAE within the given timeframe.
No Means of Livelihood: Individuals without apparent means of support.
Public Interest: Deportation required by public interest, security, or morals, even if the individual holds a valid residence permit.

Implementation and Family Members

The regulations permit the ICP to include the deportee's family members in the removal order. Coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the General Command of the Police ensures the deportation process is carried out effectively. Deportation expenses are typically covered by the violator, their guarantor, or their employer.

 Liquidation of Interests

If a deported individual has assets or interests in the UAE requiring liquidation, the ICP may grant up to three months to settle these matters, provided a suitable guarantee is offered.

Returning to the UAE

A previously deported foreigner can only return with special permission from the Director General of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. Those deported judicially can request a review of their deportation order by submitting a petition to the Public Prosecution, which will then be reviewed by the competent committee.

Understanding Deportation in the UAE

Deportation in the UAE is a legal process enforced to maintain public order, security and safety. Judicial deportation follows a court ruling, often linked to criminal activities, while administrative deportation can be initiated by the ICP for broader public interest reasons. The regulations aim to ensure clarity and fairness in handling residency violations, emphasising the importance of adherence to UAE residency laws.

These updates are part of the UAE's continuous efforts to regulate and manage the expatriate population effectively, ensuring the safety and security of its residents.

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Abortion Now Allowed in Cases of Rape & Incest: All You Need to Know About UAE’s New Law

 

A recent cabinet resolution in the UAE has expanded the circumstances under which abortion is permitted, aiming to curb unsafe practices associated with terminating unwanted pregnancies. The new law specifies that abortions can now be performed in five instances.

According to the resolution, a licensed physician may conduct the procedure if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, or if it is at the request of spouses following approval by a designated committee.

Details regarding the specific nature of the requests from spouses have not been disclosed in the resolution. Additionally, non-consensual intercourse or pregnancy involving a person from the woman's lineage or relatives are now recognised grounds for abortion. This decision, along with existing provisions in the Medical Liability Law, allows for abortions in a broader range of circumstances compared to previous regulations.

Previously, abortions were only permitted if the pregnancy endangered the woman's life or if foetal abnormalities were detected. "This legislative reform marks a critical development in the UAE's legal approach to women's rights, extending access to safe abortions under specified conditions and aligning with international legal standards," says Ayushi Tripathi, Legal Associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has outlined that parental or guardian consent will not be required in emergency cases necessitating immediate surgical intervention. A committee within each health authority, comprising specialists in obstetrics/gynaecology, psychiatry, and a representative of the Public Prosecution, will oversee and approve such requests.

"It demonstrates the nation's commitment to gender equality and sets a precedent for progressive legal reforms within the region," she adds.

Key Conditions

  • A licensed specialist obstetrician-gynaecologist in the UAE can perform abortions at authorised healthcare facilities, subject to specific conditions.
  • Before and after the procedure, women must receive medical and social counselling as mandated by the resolution.
  • Abortions are permissible only if they do not pose a risk to the pregnant woman's life due to medical complications.
  • The procedure must be performed within 120 days of pregnancy duration.

International Standards

The UAE's approach to reproductive rights aligns with international standards by considering the physical and mental health of women in addition to cases of rape and incest. It is part of broader efforts to modernise the legal framework, promoting gender equality and improving protections against domestic violence and discrimination.

The reform applies uniformly to Emirati citizens and expatriates residing legally in the UAE for at least one year. This development will have a positive impact on women's rights and contribute to a more inclusive legal environment in the UAE.

The establishment of a committee within each health authority, comprising specialists in obstetrics/gynaecology, psychiatry, and a representative from the Public Prosecution, underscores the government's commitment to ensuring the procedure is conducted responsibly and in line with legal requirements.

As the UAE continues its path of legal reform, including advancements in family court procedures and women's social and economic rights, experts anticipate further improvements in gender equality and healthcare access.

The new resolution marks a significant step forward in the UAE's efforts to protect women's health and rights, setting a precedent for other nations in the region to consider similar reforms in the future. The law applies to both Emiratis and expatriates; non-Emirati residents must have legally resided in the UAE for at least one year before requesting an abortion.

When is Abortion Allowed?

Abortions are permitted in the following circumstances:

  • Sexual Assault: If the pregnancy is the result of sexual intercourse against the woman’s will or without her consent.
  • Incest: If the pregnancy is a result of incest, involving a person from the woman's lineage or relatives.
  • Spousal Request: At the request of spouses, subject to approval by a dedicated committee.
  • Risk to Life: If continuing the pregnancy poses a risk to the pregnant woman's life.
  • Foetal Deformation: If severe foetal deformation that could impact the newborn’s health and life is diagnosed.

Conditions for the Procedure

The pregnancy must not exceed 120 days, and there should be no medical complications endangering the life of the pregnant woman.

Regulatory Committee

Decisions regarding abortion requests will be made by a committee formed by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) or the head of an emirate's health authority. The committee comprises:

  • An obstetrics and gynaecology specialist
  • A psychiatry specialist
  • A representative from the Public Prosecution

Process and Appeals

The committee may request additional documents and expert opinions, issuing a decision within five working days. If the decision is contested, appeals can be made by the pregnant woman, her husband, or guardian within the same timeframe. The final decision, binding for all parties, will be issued by the Minister or Head of the health authority.

Where and How the Procedure Must Be Performed?

Abortion procedures must be performed at licensed healthcare facilities by specialist obstetrician-gynaecologists. The facility must document the case thoroughly, including the pregnancy duration, reasons for abortion, necessary approvals, and procedures undertaken. Medical and social counselling is mandatory before and after the procedure.

Consent Requirements

Written consent from the pregnant woman is mandatory, unless in cases of emergency where consent is implied. In situations where the woman cannot provide consent, approval from her husband or guardian is required.

Expat Requirements

Non-citizen women seeking abortion must have held a valid UAE residency permit for at least one year before submitting the request.

These regulations mark a significant step in the UAE’s approach to reproductive health, aiming to provide clarity and legal safeguards while addressing sensitive medical and ethical considerations. For more information, individuals are encouraged to consult with healthcare providers and legal authorities to understand their rights and responsibilities under the new law.

"This new reform represents a pivotal moment in the UAE's approach to women's rights, expanding access to safe abortions in critical circumstances and aligning with international standards. It underscores the country's commitment to gender equality and sets a precedent for progressive legal frameworks in the region," concludes Ayushi.

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Are You a Domestic Worker in UAE? Know Your Rights and Obligations of Employer

 

Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 governs the law concerning domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Enacted to ensure the protection and fair treatment of domestic workers, this decree-law represents a significant step towards regulating this often overlooked sector, providing clarity on responsibilities and avenues for dispute resolution.

Understanding the Law

Under Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022, several key provisions outline the rights and obligations of domestic workers and their employers, including:

Working Hours and Rest Periods: Domestic workers are entitled to a maximum of 12 hours of work per day, with at least 8 hours of rest. They should also be provided with one day off per week, preferably on a Friday.
Compensation and Benefits: Domestic workers are entitled to receive their wages in full and on time. Employers must also provide suitable accommodation, food and medical care to ensure the worker's basic needs are met.
Respect and Dignity: Employers are obligated to treat domestic workers with respect and dignity, refraining from any form of physical or verbal abuse. Likewise, workers are expected to carry out their duties diligently and respectfully.
Termination and Dispute Resolution: The decree-law stipulates procedures for termination, ensuring fair treatment for both parties. In case of disputes, avenues for resolution through mediation and legal channels are provided.
Minimum Salary: The law does not specify a minimum salary.
Annual Leave: Workers are entitled to 30 days of paid annual leave.
Probation Period: The probation period should not exceed six months from the date of commencement.

Obligations of the Employer

  • Provide appropriate accommodation for the domestic worker.
  • Provide meals and necessary clothing for the performance of duties, unless employed on a temporary basis.
  • Cover the costs of medical care or provide health insurance as per the UAE health system.
  • Allow the domestic worker to retain all official documents.
  • In case of death during service, the worker's heirs are entitled to wages for the month of death and any other due entitlements.
  • Cover repatriation costs to the worker's country of origin as per the Decree-Law and its regulations.

Challenges Faced by Domestic Workers

Despite the legal framework, domestic workers in the UAE often struggle to assert their rights due to language barriers, fear of retaliation and lack of awareness about legal protections. Common issues include underpayment, excessive working hours and inadequate living conditions.

Questions and Legal Remedies

For domestic workers seeking clarity on their rights and obligations, here are some common questions addressed:

Q1: What should I do if I'm not being paid my wages or if my employer breaches the terms of my contract?
A: Document any violations and seek assistance from relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) or legal aid organisations specialising in labour rights.

Q2:My employer is demanding I work beyond the stipulated hours. What recourse do I have?
A: Inform your employer of the legal limits on working hours and request adherence to the law. If the issue persists, consider seeking assistance from labour authorities or legal advisors.

Q3:I am facing mistreatment and abuse from my employer. How can I ensure my safety and seek redressal?
A: Contact law enforcement or seek refuge at shelters provided for victims of abuse. Additionally, legal aid organisations can assist in filing complaints and obtaining protection orders.

Workmen Gratuity

For domestic workers in the UAE, entitlement to gratuity depends on the terms outlined in their employment contract and whether they fall under the purview of the UAE Labour Law or other regulations.

While Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 may not explicitly mention gratuity provisions, it focuses on aspects such as working hours, compensation, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Domestic workers should review their contracts carefully to understand their entitlements regarding gratuity. If gratuity is not explicitly stated, they may seek clarification from their employer or legal advisors.

In conclusion, while Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 marks progress in safeguarding the rights of domestic workers in the UAE, effective implementation and awareness are crucial.

By understanding their rights and obligations, domestic workers can navigate challenges more confidently, while employers can uphold ethical standards and foster a culture of respect and dignity in the workplace.

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Online Fraud in Dubai: Legal Implications, Prevention Strategies and Public-Private Partnerships

 

Online fraud is a collective term for various types of malicious activities, such as phishing, identity theft, data breaches and ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals use diverse attack vectors, including malicious software, spoofed websites and elaborate phishing schemes, to trick victims into revealing personal information, financial information, or access to secure networks.

In the ever-changing digital economy of Dubai, online fraud has become a major menace for both companies and clients. The financial and operational impacts are substantial, with 42 per cent of UAE organisations reporting increased fraud within just one year.

Firms incur an average cost of Dh4.19 per dirham lost to fraud, which includes direct financial losses as well as other costs related to internal labour, external fees, interest paid and replacement costs for goods obtained through theft or loss.

Digital payments have transformed the payment landscape with improved convenience and ease in transactions, but they also expose users to new threats from cyber criminals who often target digital channels.

Across the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region, digital channels now account for 52 per cent of fraud losses, surpassing physical fraud for the first time.

The anonymity and speed of digital, cross-border transactions enable cybercriminals to execute untraceable fraud with alarming ease.

Moreover, the sophistication of cyber-attacks is escalating, driven by advancements in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), which enhances the ability of criminals to exploit both consumers and businesses.

Legal Implications and Preventive Strategies

As a member of the UAE, Dubai has recognised the urgent need to safeguard its rapidly expanding digital economy and has built a strong regulatory framework to combat cybercrime.

The Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes, also known as the UAE Cybercrimes Law, is the cornerstone of this system. It provides comprehensive measures to prevent and penalise various forms of cybercrime, including online fraud. Key aspects of the UAE Cybercrimes Law include:

Article 2: Criminalises unauthorised access to electronic websites, systems, or information networks, with harsh consequences for causing damage, interference, or altering information.
Article 3: Covers crimes involving communication interception, such as hacking and eavesdropping.
Article 4: Addresses cyber forgery and prohibits the unauthorised use, alteration, or copying of data, documents, or electronic records.
Article 11: Targets internet fraud specifically, punishing offenders who unlawfully obtain property, advantages, or rights by deceit, impersonation, or fraudulent schemes with harsh fines and/or imprisonment.

The UAE has implemented specific regulations to tackle online fraud in addition to the general provisions of the Cybercrimes Law. These provisions are designed to address the unique challenges posed by digital transactions and cyber threats:

The Electronic Commerce Act (Federal Law No. 1 of 2006): Governs electronic commerce in the UAE, ensuring that digital contracts and transactions are valid and enforceable while also providing security measures to help prevent fraud through hacking.

Data Protection Legislation: Safeguards personal and sensitive information, thereby reducing the risks of identity theft and data breaches.
Payment Systems Regulations: Issued by the Central Bank of the UAE, these rules ensure the security and integrity of electronic payment systems, minimising opportunities for financial fraud.

Enforcing these laws is a critical role played by local authorities. The Dubai Police Cyber Crime Unit uses forensic tools to investigate and fight cybercrime. Enhancing cybersecurity across Dubai is the mandate of the Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC), whereas the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) is responsible for promoting cybersecurity awareness and initiatives.

Moreover, the UAE Cybercrimes Law provides for strict punishments, including severe fines from Dh50,000 to Dh3 million, imprisonment, or asset forfeiture.

The Dubai government has implemented several measures aimed at curbing online fraud, including awareness campaigns targeting public online risks and promoting secure internet behaviours.

Organisations like DESC prioritise technological advancements, utilising AI and blockchain technology in fraud detection and prevention efforts. AI analyses big data to identify patterns indicative of fraudulent activity, while blockchain technology offers a secure way of maintaining transaction records, guaranteeing data integrity. Imposing tough penalties on offenders helps enforce stringent cybercrime laws, thereby providing a safer internet environment.

By employing strong passwords, recognising phishing attempts, keeping software updated, and enabling two-factor authentication, individuals can protect themselves from online fraud. Businesses can mitigate risks by adopting robust cybersecurity measures, conducting regular employee training, performing security audits, and maintaining comprehensive incident response plans.

Combating online fraud is a joint responsibility of both public and private sectors. Public-private partnerships facilitate knowledge sharing on emerging threats and the most successful mechanisms for fighting counterfeits. Governments and enterprises collaborate to provide cybersecurity training programmes, engage in public awareness campaigns and develop new technologies.

International collaboration is essential since cybercrime is borderless. Cross-border cooperation encompasses intelligence-sharing, harmonisation of legal frameworks, and joint operations.

The adoption of international cybersecurity standards ensures global safeguards against online fraud, involving organisations such as INTERPOL promoting collaboration between nations and setting norms under the United Nations.

Dubai’s emerging digital economy is under serious threat of e-fraud, prompting proactive and responsive moves by regulatory authorities. The city has a strong legal framework with Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 and dedicated agencies such as the Dubai Police Cyber Crime Unit and DESC, capable of effectively prosecuting offenders.

Preventative strategies involve public sensitisation campaigns, technological developments like AI and blockchain, and international cooperation. When individuals take care in combination with organisational efforts such as training employees and implementing solid cybersecurity systems, the fight against fraudsters is fortified.

As Dubai maintains its position as a global digital hub, it emphasises the need to combat cybercrime, demonstrating its commitment to economic growth and global security standards.

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Unlocking Justice in the UAE: Understanding Bail Procedures and Investigation Process

Understanding the legal framework of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires familiarity with bail procedures and the investigative process in case of legal issues. These aspects are crucial for protecting the rights of those accused of crimes while maintaining the integrity of criminal proceedings.

From the initial filing of complaints with local authorities to the critical roles played by the Public Prosecution and the courts, every step is regulated by Federal Law No. 35 of 1992 concerning Criminal Procedural Law.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of both the bail procedures and the investigation process in the UAE, highlighting the conditions, rights and responsibilities involved at each stage.

Familiarity with these procedures is vital for anyone involved in legal matters within the UAE, promoting transparency, adherence to legal norms and the protection of rights throughout the judicial process.

Investigation Process in the UAE

Criminal proceedings in the UAE commence with the filing of a complaint at the local police station where the offence occurred. During the initial stages of the investigation:

Police Involvement: The police gather statements from involved parties. Within 48 hours of receiving the complaint, the local police refer the case to the Public Prosecution.
Role of Public Prosecution: The Public Prosecution then assumes responsibility, questioning the accused within 24 hours of their referral from the police. Based on the evidence gathered, the Public Prosecution decides whether to order the accused's arrest or release under Article 47 of the Criminal Procedures Law.
Legal Framework: Federal Law No. 35 of 1992, as amended, outlines the comprehensive procedures for criminal cases in the UAE. It delineates the methodology for investigation, trial procedures, judgement rendering, conditions for appeal, and enforcement of judgements.
Exclusive Jurisdiction: Article 7 of the Criminal Procedures Law grants exclusive jurisdiction to the Public Prosecution to initiate and oversee criminal proceedings until a final judgement is reached. The Public Prosecution is integral in investigating charges, determining criminal involvement, and referring cases to competent courts.
International Cooperation: The Public Prosecution handles issues related to the surrender and extradition of criminals per international conventions, often collaborating with organisations like the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
Filing Criminal Complaints: As per Article 10 of the Criminal Procedures Law, criminal actions require written or verbal complaints by the victim or their legal representative. Such complaints are necessary for specific offences, including theft, breach of trust, and insults, which must be filed within three months of discovering the crime unless specified otherwise by law.
Special Cases: Complaints can be lodged directly with any public authority officer if the accused is caught red-handed. Additionally, a single complaint from any victim suffices to initiate action in cases involving multiple victims or accused parties.
Protection of Vulnerable Victims: For victims under 15 years old, mentally challenged individuals, or when crimes target their property, complaints must be submitted by their legal guardians. In cases of conflict of interest or absence of representation, the Public Prosecution acts on behalf of the victim.
Language Requirements: All investigations by the Public Prosecution are conducted in Arabic. In situations where the accused, litigants, witnesses, or other critical parties do not speak Arabic, the prosecution may engage an interpreter after administering an oath.

Bail Procedures in the UAE

Definition and Purpose: Bail is a conditional release granted to an accused person pending trial to ensure their presence at legal proceedings and prevent unnecessary detention.

Conditions for Granting Bail: Article 111 of the Criminal Procedural Law restricts bail for offences punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment. Bail is typically granted for minor crimes and misdemeanours, such as cheque bounce cases, upon application to:

Police: Before transferring the case to the Public Prosecution.
Public Prosecution: During investigation stages.
Court: Before final judgement issuance.

Types of Bail Guarantees

Personal Guarantee: Requires surrendering a valid passport, either of the accused or a third party, as collateral.
Financial Guarantee: Involves depositing a specified amount with the court, refundable after trial completion if all conditions are met.
Combined Guarantees and Bail Document: Depending on the case, both personal and financial guarantees may be required. Upon release on bail, the accused receives a "Qafala" document outlining bail conditions and consequences for non-compliance.

Responsibilities of Bail Guarantor

The bail guarantor signs a bond detailing conditions and obligations. They ensure the accused complies with bail terms and attends all required court proceedings.

Revocation of Bail

Article 115 of the Criminal Procedural Law allows bail revocation for non-compliance with conditions or new circumstances affecting the case. The Public Prosecution or court may initiate revocation and order re-arrest if necessary.

Legal Framework

Governed by Federal Law No. 35 of 1992, the Criminal Procedural Law specifies bail procedures, ensuring fairness and adherence to legal requirements. Understanding these procedures is essential for individuals navigating the UAE legal system, ensuring compliance with bail conditions and procedural obligations during legal proceedings.

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Dh14.4 Million the Proceeds of Confiscated Items Sold Pursuant to ADJD Court Judgements

The sales of seized items, confiscated in accordance with court judgements issued by Abu Dhabi Courts, have recorded a total value of Dh14.48 million. This amount represents the proceeds from the sale of 101 vehicles, five boats and some gold jewellery and artefacts.

These proceeds have been accumulated since the formation of a permanent committee in November 2022 to implement confiscation judgements on vehicles, objects, assets and precious metals.

Counselor Yousef Saeed Al Abri, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, explained that the Permanent Committee for Implementing Confiscation Judgements, formed based on the decision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the UAE, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Judicial Department, is responsible for overseeing the full implementation of criminal judgements related to the confiscation of vehicles, objects, assets, and precious metals and for taking all legal measures regarding their sale in cooperation with the relevant authorities.

Counselor Yousef Al Abri stated that the committee is working in coordination with the competent authorities to evaluate the seized items subject to confiscation and to prepare technical reports on them, in preparation for taking executive steps towards selling them through electronic auction in accordance with the established rules.

He emphasised the necessity of lifting restrictions, facilitating the procedures for handing over vehicles and removing all obstacles and challenges in cooperation with the relevant institutions.

He pointed out that the ADJD Auction smart application effectively contributes to facilitating and accelerating the processes of bidding for confiscated items in accordance with the court judgements. It enables bidders to review the full details of the items displayed, while providing innovative options for bidding remotely and ensuring that all procedures are completed through fast and simple steps. 

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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to be Freed After Pleading Guilty to US Espionage Charge

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is due to plead guilty on Wednesday to violating US espionage law, in a deal that will end his imprisonment in Britain and allow him to return home to Australia, ending a 14-year legal odyssey.

Assange, 52, has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. national defense documents, according to filings in the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

He is due to be sentenced to 62 months of time already served at a hearing in Saipan at 9 am local time on Wednesday (2300 GMT Tuesday). The island in the Pacific was chosen due to Assange's opposition to travelling to the mainland US and for its proximity to Australia, prosecutors said.

Assange left Belmarsh prison in the UK on Monday before being bailed by the UK High Court and boarding a flight that afternoon, Wikileaks said in a statement posted on social media platform X.

"This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations," the statement said.

A video posted on X by Wikileaks showed Assange dressed in a blue shirt and jeans signing a document before boarding a private jet with the markings of charter firm VistaJet.

He will return to Australia after the hearing, the Wikileaks statement added, referring to the hearing in Saipan. "Julian is free!!!!" his wife, Stella Assange, said in a post on X.
"Words cannot express our immense gratitude to YOU - yes YOU, who have all mobilised for years and years to make this come true."

The only VistaJet plane that departed Stansted on Monday afternoon was headed to Bangkok, FlightRadar24 data shows. A spokesperson for Assange in Australia declined to comment on his flight plans. VistaJet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Australian government, led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, has been pressing for Assange's release but declined to comment on the legal proceedings as they were ongoing.

"Prime Minister Albanese has been clear - Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and there is nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration," a government spokesperson said.

Historic Charges

WikiLeaks in 2010 released hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents on Washington's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - the largest security breaches of their kind in US military history -- along with swaths of diplomatic cables.

Assange was indicted during former President Donald Trump's administration over WikiLeaks' mass release of secret US documents, which were leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former US military intelligence analyst who was also prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

The trove of more than 700,000 documents included diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts such as a 2007 video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people including two Reuters news staff. That video was released in 2010.

The charges against Assange sparked outrage among his many global supporters who have long argued that Assange as the publisher of Wikileaks should not face charges typically used against federal government employees who steal or leak information.

Many press freedom advocates have argued that criminally charging Assange represents a threat to free speech. "A plea deal would avert the worst-case scenario for press freedom, but this deal contemplates that Assange will have served five years in prison for activities that journalists engage in every day," said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of free speech organisation Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

"It will cast a long shadow over the most important kinds of journalism, not just in this country but around the world."

Long Odyssey

Assange was first arrested in Britain in 2010 on a European arrest warrant after Swedish authorities said they wanted to question him over sex-crime allegations that were later dropped. He fled to Ecuador's embassy, where he remained for seven years, to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was dragged out of the embassy in 2019 and jailed for skipping bail. He has been in London's Belmarsh top security jail ever since, from where he has for almost five years been fighting extradition to the United States.

Those five years of confinement are similar to the sentence imposed on Reality Winner, an Air Force veteran and former intelligence contractor, who was sentenced to 63 months after she removed classified materials and mailed them to a news outlet.

While in Belmarsh Assange married his partner Stella with whom he had two children while he was holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy.

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Sports Apparel Maker Under Armour to Pay $434M to Settle Lawsuit Over Sales Disclosures

Under Armour said it has agreed to pay $434 million to settle a 2017 class action lawsuit accusing the sports apparel maker of defrauding shareholders about its revenue growth in order to meet Wall Street forecasts.

The proposed settlement, subject to court approval, averts a scheduled July 15 trial in Baltimore federal court. The shareholder lawsuit accused the apparel maker and CEO Kevin Plank of intentionally misleading them about the company's financial health.

In 2021, the Baltimore-based company had agreed to pay $9 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that it misled investors about its revenue growth.

The SEC in its investigation found that Under Armour failed to disclose to investors that it employed a sales tactic to accelerate or "pull forward" a total of $408 million in existing orders in the second half of 2015.

Mark Solomon, lead counsel for the shareholders and a partner at litigation firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, called the proposed settlement an "important win" that underscored the key role of pension funds in holding companies accountable.

Under Armour said it intends to pay the settlement amount of $434 million through cash on hand as well as by drawing on its $1.1 billion revolving credit facility.

The company added in a regulatory filing it had agreed to also continue to separate the roles of the chair and the chief executive officer for a period of at least three years.

Under Armour said it has consistently denied the accusations and entered into this agreement in principle, which is not an admission or finding of fault or wrongdoing.

The company expects its total accrual in legal proceeding contingencies related to the lawsuit to reach $434 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2025, from $100 million at the end of fiscal 2024. 

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Egypt To Prosecute Travel Agents Over Illegal Pilgrimages to Mecca: Government

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly ordered 16 tourism companies stripped of their licences and referred their managers to the public prosecutor Saturday over illegal pilgrimages to Mecca, the cabinet said.

The order came after countries whose citizens performed this year's haj reported more than 1,100 deaths, many attributed to the oven-like summer heat in Saudi Arabia. An AFP tally, compiling official statements and reports from diplomats involved in the response, put the toll at 1,126, more than half of them from Egypt.

Arab diplomats told AFP earlier this week that Egyptians accounted for 658 deaths -- 630 of them unregistered pilgrims. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had ordered that a "crisis cell" headed by Madbouly follow up on the deaths of Egyptian pilgrims.

"The prime minister has ordered the licences of these companies to be revoked, their managers to be referred to the public prosecutor and the imposition of a fine to benefit the families of the pilgrims who died because of them," the cabinet statement said.

It said the rise in the number of deaths of unregistered Egyptian pilgrims stemmed from some companies which "organised the haj programmes using a personal visit visa, which prevents its holders from entering Mecca" via official channels.

The cabinet statement said more than 50,000 Egyptians joined the pilgrimage officially, and that there were "31 deaths as a result of chronic diseases". It said the travel firms accused of arranging unauthorised haj visits did not provide adequate services, "causing unregistered pilgrims to be exhausted as a result of high temperatures".

On Friday a senior Saudi official defended the Gulf kingdom's management of the pilgrimage. Haj permits are allocated to countries on a quota system and distributed to individuals by lottery.

Even for those who can obtain them, the steep costs spur many to attempt the haj without a permit, though they risk arrest and deportation if caught. The irregular route, which can save pilgrims thousands of dollars, has become increasingly popular since 2019 when Saudi Arabia introduced a general tourism visa making it easier to enter the Gulf kingdom.

The senior Saudi official said the government had confirmed 577 deaths for the two busiest days of haj: Saturday, when pilgrims gathered for hours of prayers in the blazing sun on Mount Arafat, and Sunday, when they participated in the "stoning of the devil" ritual in Mina.

"This happened amid difficult weather conditions and a very harsh temperature," the official said, acknowledging that the 577 figure was partial and did not cover all of the haj, which formally ended on Wednesday.

The haj is one of the five pillars of Islam that all Muslims with the means must complete at least once in their lives. Saudi officials had earlier said 1.8 million pilgrims took part this year, a similar number to last year, and that 1.6 million came from abroad.

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FTA Urges Resident Juridical Persons to Promptly Register for Corporate Tax

As part of the Federal Tax Authority’s (FTA) ongoing efforts to encourage taxable persons subject to corporate tax to comply with FTA Decision No. 3 of 2024, which outlines the timelines for registering taxable persons for corporate tax under Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022 on the taxation of corporations and businesses and its amendments, the FTA is reminding resident juridical persons with licences issued in March and April (regardless of the year of issuance) to promptly submit their tax registration application for corporate tax no later than 30 June 2024 to avoid administrative penalties.

Resident juridical persons with a licence issued in March or April, irrespective of the year of issuance, are required to submit their registration application before June 30, 2024 to avoid administrative penalties due to late registration. The FTA cautioned that taxable persons failing to register for corporate tax within the specified timelines will incur an administrative penalty of Dh10,000.

In a press statement, the FTA urged taxpayers to adhere to the timelines specified in FTA Decision No. 3 of 2024, which came into effect on March 1, 2024. The decision specifies timelines for each category of taxable persons subject to corporate tax regarding when they are required to submit their corporate tax registration applications. The FTA decision includes both juridical and natural persons, resident and non-resident.

Furthermore, the FTA called on taxable persons subject to corporate tax to familiarise themselves with the public clarification it has recently issued regarding the specified timelines for corporate tax registration.

The public clarification provides a comprehensive analysis and examples to understand the timelines that apply to various categories of persons for submitting their corporate tax registration applications. The clarification also addresses the registration requirements for juridical persons seeking exempt status from the FTA under the corporate tax law.

According to the public clarification, juridical persons that are resident persons incorporated, otherwise established, or recognised before March 1, 2024 must submit their tax registration application for corporate tax based on the month of their licence issuance. If the taxable person holds an expired licence as of March 1, 2024, the reference for submission is still based on the month of its original licence issuance.

For those with multiple licences, the deadline is determined by the licence with the earliest issuance date. Juridical persons incorporated, otherwise established, or recognised on or after  March 1, 2024 must submit a tax registration application within three months from the date of incorporation, establishment, or recognition.

Juridical persons recognised under foreign legislation but effectively managed and controlled in the UAE must submit a tax registration application within three months from the end of their financial year.

The FTA indicated that corporate tax registration is available through the "EmaraTax" digital tax services platform, accessible 24/7. The registration process has been simplified into four main steps, taking approximately 30 minutes.

The service is accessible through the following link:https://eservices.tax.gov.ae/; the process requires creating a user account using an email and phone number, submitting the required documents, obtaining approval of the registration request, and receiving a corporate tax registration number (Corporate TRN) upon approval.

To diversify its service delivery channels and provide an environment conducive to tax compliance, the FTA allows taxpayers to register through authorised tax agents listed on the Federal Tax Authority's website.

The FTA has also facilitated corporate tax registration applications through government service centres across the UAE. Taxpayers can submit their corporate tax registration applications with the help of specialists at these centres, which provide services electronically based on high government service standards and are managed by trained and qualified personnel.

The Federal Tax Authority urges taxable persons subject to corporate tax to examine the corporate tax law, as well as all public clarifications regarding the specified timelines for corporate tax registration, and related guidelines and executive decisions, which are available on the FTA official website at:https://tax.gov.ae/en/default.aspx.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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UAE Prohibits Private Firms from Employing Students in 31 Hazardous Work Categories

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has prohibited private sector establishments from hiring and training students during vacations in 31 specific categories of work and professions deemed hazardous.

This ban includes roles such as underground work in mines and quarries, activities related to the extraction of metals and stones, working in furnaces for smelting metals, bakery ovens, petroleum refineries, cement plants, ice and refrigeration plants and welding jobs.

The ministry has established administrative and professional requirements for establishments and employers wishing to train and employ students. One key requirement is that students must not work at night in industrial projects. The maximum working hours for students are set at six hours per day, with one or more rest intervals.

MoHRE has indicated that UAE laws allow citizen students and resident expatriates aged 15 years and above to work and receive training in private sector establishments, provided a contract is written outlining the nature of the work and other related matters. The federal law regulating labour relations prohibits the employment of juveniles under the age of 15, and the ministry does not issue work permits to anyone under this age.

The ministry has specified six administrative and professional obligations for establishments and employers wishing to train or employ juvenile students during academic leave.

These include not employing them at night in industrial projects. "Night" is defined as a period of no less than 12 consecutive hours from 8pm to 6am the next morning. The maximum actual working hours for a juvenile student are fixed at six hours per day, with one or more periods for rest, eating, or prayer (totalling no less than an hour), ensuring that students do not work more than four consecutive hours.

If a student’s working hours include a rehabilitation or training period, it is counted within their working hours. Under no circumstances is it permissible for a juvenile student to remain in the workplace or training for more than seven consecutive hours.

According to MoHRE, the six obligations for employing students include not assigning a juvenile student to work overtime and ensuring they are not kept in the workplace beyond their scheduled hours. Students may not be trained or employed on rest days.

Employers must also train juvenile students in occupational safety and health methods, monitor their application of these methods, and provide a working or training environment suitable for all workers while considering the juvenile's circumstances.

Additionally, employers must inform the student’s guardians or legal guardians of any illness, absence, or behaviour during work or training hours that requires attention. Finally, employers must not train or employ juvenile students in any prohibited work.

The ministry lists 31 types of prohibited work, including underground work in mines and quarries, metal and stone extraction, work in furnaces for smelting or refining minerals, petroleum refineries, bakery ovens, cement factories, ice and refrigeration factories, mirror treatment with mercury, firecracker manufacturing, glass melting and maturing and welding with oxygen, acetylene, and electricity.

Other prohibited activities include painting with lead-based compounds, processing or storing ash containing lead, extracting silver from lead, manufacturing tin and metal compounds with over 10 per cent lead, manufacturing lead monoxide, lead oxide, lead carbonate, lead sulphate, chromates and sulphate, and processes involving the manufacturing or repairing of electric batteries.

The list also includes cleaning workshops where hazardous work is practised, managing or monitoring moving machines, repairing or cleaning machines while operational, asphalt manufacturing, oil production by mechanical methods, fertiliser manufacturing, working in fertiliser warehouses and factories for mineral acids and chemical crops.

Additional occupational prohibitions include working in tanneries, animal skinning, cutting and fat melting, rubber manufacturing, filling cylinders with compressed gases, loading and unloading goods at docks, ports, and warehouses, transporting passengers by land or water, making charcoal from animal bones (except for sorting bones before burning), bleaching, dyeing and printing textiles, working as hosts in amusement parks, working in bars, and carrying, pulling, or pushing weights. Students are also prohibited from working overtime and from being employed on rest days.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Legalities of Denying Annual Leave Requests Based on Co-Worker Absences in the UAE

Annual leave requests in the UAE can sometimes be tricky, especially when employer decisions are influenced by the absence of other colleagues. Understanding the legal framework governing these decisions is crucial for both employers and employees.

Employer Discretion on Annual Leave

In the UAE, the authority to approve or deny annual leave requests largely rests with the employer. According to Article 29 (4) of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'UAE Employment Law'), employers have the right to set the dates for annual leave based on the needs of the business.

Employers may also rotate leave among employees to ensure smooth operations. This law mandates that employees should be informed of their leave dates at least one month in advance.

Conditions for Leave Denial

Employers are required to grant annual leave at least once every two years. If an employee prefers to carry forward their leave or receive payment in lieu, this must align with the establishment’s bylaws and be specified in the Executive Regulations of the Decree Law. Specifically, Article 29 (8) stipulates that an employer cannot prevent an employee from using their accrued annual leave for more than two years unless the employee consents to carry it forward or receive compensation instead.

Financial Implications for Employees

If an employer initially agrees in writing to grant annual leave and later rescinds this decision, they may be liable for any financial losses incurred by the employee, such as pre-paid travel tickets.

While the UAE Employment Law and subsequent ministerial decrees do not explicitly address remedies for such situations, obtaining written pre-approval for leave is advisable. This helps protect employees from potential financial setbacks.

Best Practices for Employees to Avoid Issues with Annual Leave

  • Always secure written approval for leave requests from your employer before making travel arrangements.
  • Be aware of your company's policies regarding leave rotation and work requirements.
  • Plan vacations well in advance and keep open communication with management to mitigate the risk of leave denial.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Dh400 Fine Awaits Employees Who Fail to Sign Up for UAE Unemployment Insurance Plan

Did you receive a text message asking you to renew your ILOE (Involuntary Loss of Employment) subscription? If you were among the first employees in the UAE to enrol in the unemployment insurance scheme, which commenced on January 1, 2023, and opted for an annual subscription, you might have already received a renewal notification. Early subscribers are now being reminded via text messages to renew their policies.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), over 6.7 million UAE residents have subscribed to the scheme since it took effect. The deadline to enrol ended on October 1.

A Dh400 fine was imposed on workers who failed to sign up. A Dh200 fine applies to subscribers who fail to pay the premiums for more than three months. Employees whose work permits were issued after October 1, 2023 must subscribe to the scheme within four months, failing which they face a Dh400 fine.

Employees who fail to pay their fines within three months from the due date will have the amount deducted from their wages or end-of-service gratuity. New work permits will not be issued until the fines are cleared. 

Emiratis and expatriates working in the federal government and private sectors are required to subscribe to the scheme. Exempted categories include investors, domestic helpers, temporary contract workers, juveniles and retirees who are entitled to a pension.

The ultra-low-cost scheme is divided into two categories:

  • The first covers those with a basic salary of Dh16,000 or below, with an insurance premium set at Dh5 per month (Dh60 annually). The maximum monthly compensation is Dh10,000.
  • The second covers those with a basic salary exceeding Dh16,000, with an insurance premium of Dh10 per month (Dh120 annually). The monthly compensation for this category is capped at Dh20,000.
    The compensation is paid for a maximum of three months from the date of unemployment, provided the employee was not terminated for disciplinary reasons. The amount is calculated at 60 per cent of the average basic salary in the six months before unemployment.

Steps to Renew Your ILOE Subscription

  • Visit the ILOE Website
  • Go to iloe.ae.
  • Click on the ‘Subscribe/Renew here’ option on the homepage.

Subscription Information

  • A pop-up box will appear with details about who can subscribe to the scheme.
  • Click on the ‘Subscribe here’ button.

Select Your Sector

  • You will be redirected to a page with several options.
  • Under the ‘Individual’ option, select your sector: private, federal government, or unregistered under MoHRE.

Enter Your Details

  • Provide your Emirates ID and mobile number.
  • Click on ‘Request OTP’ (One-Time Password).
  • Enter the OTP received via SMS and click ‘Submit’.

Access Your Dashboard

  • You will be taken to your dashboard on the ILOE website.
  • Here, you can view details such as your insurance number, policy start and expiry dates, insurance category and last installment paid.

Renew Your Policy

  • On the right side of the screen, you will see a breakdown of your previous payments and the option to renew.
  • Click on the ‘Pay Now’ button.

Make a Payment

  • You will be directed to a payment gateway.
  • Enter your credit or debit card details and click on the ‘Pay’ button.
  • After a few seconds, you will be redirected back to the ILOE website and receive a notification confirming your payment was successful.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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US Supreme Court Upholds Federal Domestic-Violence Gun Ban: Victory to Biden

The US Supreme Court upheld a federal law that makes it a crime for people under domestic violence restraining orders to have guns, handing a victory to President Joe Biden's administration as the justices opted not to further widen firearms rights after a major expansion in 2022.

The 8-1 ruling, authored by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, overturned a lower court's decision striking down the 1994 law as a violation of the US Constitution's Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms."

The law was challenged by a Texas man who was subject to a restraining order for assaulting his girlfriend in a car park and later threatening to shoot her.

The New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals had concluded that the measure failed the Supreme Court's stringent test set in 2022 that required gun laws to be "consistent with the nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation" to comply with the Second Amendment.

But Roberts wrote that since the nation's founding, firearm laws have targeted people who threaten physical harm to others.

"When a restraining order contains a finding that an individual poses a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner, that individual may -- consistent with the Second Amendment -- be banned from possessing firearms while the order is in effect," Roberts wrote.

Biden's administration defended the law as critical to protect public safety and abuse victims, who often are women.

"No one who has been abused should have to worry about their abuser getting a gun," Biden said, touting his record on gun control. "As a result of (Friday's) ruling, survivors of domestic violence and their families will still be able to count on critical protections, just as they have for the past three decades."

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who authored the 2022 ruling in a case called New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Brue