Those found guilty of minor offences in Dubai such as cursing, defamation and bounced cheques could be fined instead of getting jail time starting December 4.
According to the Dubai Government Media Office, "Dubai Public Prosecution has announced the activation of the penal order system that was established pursuant to Law No. (1) of 2017 issued by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum."
It authorises the Public Prosecution to expedite judicial procedures required for issuing speedy verdicts in the case of minor misdemeanors and offences.
Rebecca Kelly, partner at Morgan Lewis, explains the change in the law.
The Dubai Government Media Office added, "Dubai’s Attorney General Essam Al Humaidan has issued bylaws for ensuring the smooth activation of the penal order system, which cover summoning procedures, the offences and crimes under the purview of the system and verdicts and fines. The prosecution entities authorised to enforce the penal order are Deira Prosecution, Bur Dubai Prosecution, Family and Juvenile Prosecution, Naturalisation and Residency Prosecution and Traffic Prosecution."
Lawyers expect to receive details of the amended law by the end of the month.
Kelly says the announcement by the Dubai Public Prosecution will ease a backlog in cases and free up the courts to focus on more serious crimes.
Kelly also explains how the change in the law will impact cases on bounced cheques.
The new system supports the Dubai Plan 2021 objective of further improving the efficiency of the judicial system.