Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment

  1. Sexual harassment in the U.A.E. has now been expressly outlawed.
  2. For the first time, it is specifically addressed by the new UAE Crime & Punishment Law, which is Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021, and in particular, Article 413.
  3. Under this law, sexual harassment is defined as:
    1. persistent harassment of a victim,
    2. by repetitive 1) acts, 2) words, or 3) gestures,
    3. the purpose of which is to offend their honor,
    4. with the intent of making them act on sexual desires.”
  4. The punishment for sexual harassment can range from 1) a fine of not less than AED 10,000 and/or 2) jail term of not less than 1 year.
  5. The punishment can be increased under certain circumstances, including the age and relationship of the victim.
  6. And it such case, the punishment can range 1) over 2 years in jail and/or 2) a fine of more than AED 50,000.

Employers Forbidden From Holding

Employers Forbidden From Holding

  1. Holding of employees’ passports by employers is against the UAE law.
  2. In particular, this practice is expressly forbidden by, among other things, the U.A.E. Labor Law, No. 33 of 2021
  3. And, specifically, Article 13, subsection 2, which states that “employers shall not seize official documents” of their employees.
  4. Passports are an example of an “official document.”
  5. As well as labor cards, employment contracts and other similar documents.
  6. This is in addition to the U.A.E. Constitution, which also provides that the practice of holding passports is against the country’s laws.

Brokers in Real Estate Transactions

Brokers in Real Estate Transactions

  1. Real Estate brokers’ involvement in property transactions in the UAE is not required by law.
  2. This is unlike what some may insist on.
  3. In other words, there is no law, which requires parties to operate only through real estate brokers.
  4. This means that parties can transact directly and draft their own agreements.
  5. Furthermore, in Dubai, if parties deal without a broker, they do not need to use a template Dubai Land Department (DLD) forms.
  6. As such, they have more freedom and flexibility, not to mention saving on the broker’s commission. 
  7. Importantly, this applies not only for buying and selling properties, but also for renting.

Broker’s Commissions

  1. Commissions for real estate brokers in the U.A.E. are not regulated by law.
  2. This means, among other things, that there is no law requiring a payment of a broker’s commission.
  3. Nor is there a law setting a minimum percentage for the commission.
  4. Therefore, it is entirely for the parties to decide 1) what the commission should be and 2) how it should be calculated. 
  5. For example, it could either be 1) a percentage or 2) a lump sum.
  6. Similarly, the commission could be paid either:
    1. only when the transaction is complete, or
    2. in the event the transactions is not complete, a proportionate compensation for the work conducted by the broker, as of that time.
  7. In practice, in Dubai, brokers tend to charge 2% as their commission, and usually payable by the buyer.
  8. However, as there is no law regulating commissions, there are no specific guidelines as to what brokers can and cannot do, in connection with representing parties and charging their commissions.

Advertising Laws in UAE

Legal Framework of Advertising in UAE.Advertising laws in the UAE are many.  There are federal laws and there are those which apply in individual Emirates.

  1. Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 on Publications and Publishing
  2. Fujairah Law No. 1 of 1994 concerning Promotional Campaigns for Commercial Advertising Purposes in the Emirate of Fujairah
  3. Dubai Local Order No. 11/2003, on Public Health and Safety of the Community in the Emirates of Dubai
  4. Cabinet Decision No. 7 of 2007 on the Health Advertisements Regulations
  5. Ras Al Khaimah Law No. 11 of 2008 on the Control of Advertising
  6. Administrative Decision No. 35 of 2012 on the Standards of Advertisements Content in the Media
  7. Ras Al Khaimah Law No. 5 of 2016 concerning Promotional Campaigns and Special Offers for Commercial Advertising Purposes
  8. Sharjah Executive Council Decision No. 30 of 2019 on the Regulation of Outdoor Advertising in the Emirate of Sharjah
  9. Abu Dhabi Decision No. 37 of 2019 on the Regulation of Health Information and Advertising
  10. UAE Media Content Standards Decision No. 20 of 2019,
  11. Abu Dhabi Decision No. 144 of 2020 on the Regulation of Granting Advertisements and Promotions Permits
  12. Dubai Decree No. 6 of 2020 on the Regulation of Advertising in the Emirate of Dubai
  13. Cybercrime Law No. 34 of 2021
  14. UAE Crime and Punishment Law

Advertising Standards (2020)– to consolidate various principles governing content in relation to advertisement in the UAE, reinforcing a number of fundamental edicts.

  1. religious, cultural and social values in the UAE;
  2. strengthen the freedom of expression of the media;
  3. establish the advertisement sector as one which contributes to the advancement of economic development in the UAE; and
  4. ensure that all advertisement content is:
    1. impartial;
    2. truthful;
    3. respects the privacy of individuals; and 
    4. protects society from harmful influences.
  5. Advertisement Standards set out principles to all: 1) digital and 2) traditional advertisement, broadcast or publishes, through any media corporation and outlet.  Could also be applied more broadly, to include advertisement issued by shops.  

Summary of main Advertising Standards:

  1. Respect for religion and political institutions
  2. Prohibited products/services: explicitly prohibit advertising alcoholic beverages, tobacco, smoking and all banned products or services, including banned narcotics.
  3. Prohibited content:
    1. words and pictures that breach public morals;
    2. prejudice children, women or any other members of society;
    3. provocation of violence, hatred and sectarianism via advertising content.
  4. Privacy:
  5. Misleading news and rumors
  6. Consumer Protection
  7. Health regulations: medicines or pharmaceutical products

Arabic Language. Now required to be in standard Arabic.

Additional Requirements. 

  1. Must be clear and not contain incorrect information. 
  2. No confusion.  Or misleading
  3. No unlawful use of trademarks in advertisements. 
  4. Broadcast or publication of specialized advertisements, i.e. advertisements about medicines or pharmaceutical products, food products and promotions require special permission of the relevant authority prior to issuance. Similarly, advertisements relating to properties, universities and kindergartens must be approved by the relevant authority.

Advertising Media –  traditional (broadcast and publications) and digital

  1. Physical advertising, e.g. billboards
  2. Digital/online advertising
  3. Media – newspapers, magazines, periodicals, websites, radio, television and movie theaters 
  4. Social media

Specific Industries. Certain industries are subject to specific and more stringent regulations, in the interest of public safety.

  1. Health/medicine
  2. Education
  3. Food
  4. Medicine
  5. Food
  6. Universities
  7. Real estate
  8. Special offers
  9. Promotional campaigns; and
  10. drugs

Special categories

  1. Alcohol
  2. Promotional campaigns

Permits – for advertising within individual Emirates, requires permits

Restricted areas, requiring special permits

  1. Houses of worships, tombs,
  2. Traffic signs and boards
  3. Government headquarters
  4. Trees
  5. Military areas
  6. Facades of residential buildings
  7. Parties subject to advertising rules:
  8. Businesses and sellers of product and services (producer)
  9. Advertising/marketing companies
  10. Media

Governing Authorities

  1. Media Regulatory Office (MRO) at the Ministry of Culture and Youth (previously National Media Council) – issuing licenses for media activities, such as “representative office for a print,” “radio or TV broadcasting,” and other “media license for services of a commercial nature.” 
  2. FNC
  3. RTA
  4. DED
  5. Dubai Civil Aviation Authority
  6. Dubai Municipality
  7. Maritime City Authority

Muslim Marriages in the U.A.E

Muslim marriages in the United Arab Emirates (“U.A.E.”) are available for those who are residents in the country.  Notably, it is enough for one of the parties to be a U.A.E. resident. 

A marriage is considered to be a Muslim marriage and, as such, subject to Shariah, if either: 1) both the bride and the groom are Muslim or 2) the groom is Muslim.

Importantly, under the Sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man.  Therefore, if a non-Muslim man wishes to marry a Muslim woman in the U.A.E., the man has to convert in order for the marriage to be valid and registered in the U.A.E.

A number of requirements exist for parties to qualify for a Muslim marriage in the U.A.E. and for that marriage to be registered in the U.A.E.

  1. First, both applicants must be at least 18 years old to marry, which is the legal age for marriage in the U.A.E.
  2. Second, each applicant must submit a pre-martial medical certificate, issued by a qualified medical institution.
  3. Third, there must be two (2) witnesses, preferably male witnesses.
  4. Fourth, the bride must be represented by her male guardian, who is, usually, her father. In certain cases, however, a judge can act as an alternative guardian, when the default guardian is not available, physically or legally.
  5. Also, wherever relevant, parties must present to the court previous divorce certificates or death certificate of a previous spouse.
  6. In some cases, additional approvals and no-objection certificates may be required.

Muslims wishing to get married in the U.A.E. must register their marriage through the U.A.E. Courts.   In other words, Muslim marriages in the U.A.E. should be registered with the U.A.E. Courts to be officially recognized.  This can be done in one of three (3) ways.

Religion Ceremony.  The first option is, for those who wish to get married through a religiousceremony, to have their ceremony officiated by a court-authorized imam, otherwise known as the wedding officiator.  The ceremony can be conducted at the venue selected by the parties, for example, at home or at a hired place.  Prior to the ceremony, the parties must provide the imam with all of the relevant documents, including identification documents and medical certificates.  The imam will conduct the ceremony, in the presence of the witnesses and bride’s guardian, along with his approval.  After the ceremony, the imam will register the marriage with the U.A.E. Courts.  The result will be a marriage certificate, issued by the U.A.E. Courts.

Court Officiation.  The second option is to get married physically before the U.A.E. Courts.  This is done before any public notary, all of whom fall under umbrella of the U.A.E. Courts.  The parties, along with their witnesses and guardian, must visit one of the notary offices, without the need of an appointment.  They should have with them the relevant identification documents, as well as the medical certificate.  They will also need to fill out some additional documents before the notary.  Provided that all of the requirements are met, the resulting document will be a marriage certificate issued at the same time, notarized and registered with the U.A.E. authorities.

Online Application.  The third option for Muslims to get married in the U.A.E. is to do so online.  These days, courts in most emirates offer an online option to apply for a Muslim marriage.  A number of government apps and court websites exist, through which applicants can apply for a Muslim marriage.  In fact, most courts encourage applicants to, at the very least, start the marriage application online.  As in other cases, the same marriage requirements apply for the online option, such as identification documents, medical certificate, guardian and witnesses.  The Courts also hold hearings online, during which the parties, witnesses and guardian appear.  Importantly, all parties must be in the U.A.E. at the time of this online court appearance.  Provided that all requirements have been met, a marriage certificate will be issued shortly after the online appearance.

Noteworthy, purely religious Muslim marriages, those which take place at a mosque or before a regular imam, do not result in an official government marriage certificate.  As such, they are not recognized in most countries.

For more detailed information with regards to this topic, listen to our free legal podcast, Lawgical with LYLAW.