Enhancing the judicial system
The UAE Government made serious efforts to evolve its judicial system, realising its role in maintaining order and security in the country. Since 1971, the government has set up many courts and public prosecution in all emirates. It has enacted many legislations to accommodate the ever-changing socio-economic needs of the UAE. All the laws issued in the UAE are published in the Official Gazette (with their amendments).
In 2012, the number of personnel in the judiciary reached 287 members from 228 in 2008. By this time, Emiratisation increased by 72 per cent in this sector from 2008.
Further, the number of registered lawyers in Ministry of Justice reached 783 by March 2016 (764 are Emiratis and the rest are GCC nationals).
Spreading legal awareness
The UAE Government is keen to have its community informed about the laws and the judicial system. A number of initiatives were launched to increase the level of legal awareness in the society, which include:
The UAE's Ministry of Justice issues 'Meezan', a monthly issue about the UAE's judicial developments, legislations and awareness campaigns.
Launched by Dubai Courts, Tweeter Visit aims to open new communication channels with various sectors of society in an efficient way. It invites residents to have a tour so they can be introduced to the UAE's legal system. Participants will have the opportunity to meet judges and other court staff and ask them about the nature of their jobs and the challenges they face.
Suhail Voluntary Programme
Suhail Voluntary programme is another initiative by Dubai Courts which aims to promote voluntary work among its employees, with the underlining goal of benefiting the clients. Employees who are part of this programme are required to volunteer for two hours a day during peak times at the Nayef Hall for central services.
Smart Court campaign
Dubai Courts launched a Smart Court campaign that invited Dubai Government staff as well as lawyers, legal experts and students of law to send their suggestions on ways to improve its service through the court's 'Nebras' smartphone application. The move was promoted using the slogan: Your Suggestions Make the Future.
Law Respect Culture Bureau
The UAE's Ministry of Interior established a special department called 'Law Respect Culture Bureau'. This department aims to promote a culture of respecting the law and public order in the society. The Bureau uses the most common languages spoken in the country to inform different sectors in the society about the relevant effective laws.
Establishment of Institute of Training and Judicial Studies (ITJS)
Institute of Training and Judicial Studies (ITJS) was established in 1992 as a federal entity. It has contributed in promoting the competency of the judicial system. The institute prepares and qualifies graduates of Shariah or Law Schools to hold judicial posts in the country.
It organises courses for judiciary members on various legal themes and judicial technicalities, in addition to training courses for preparation and qualification of notaries public, judicial aides and lawyers. It also offers training for government bodies' personnel, whose jobs are related to law and judicial fields, as well as, scientific research and its usage within the law and judicial fields.
In 2012, the number of beneficiaries from such training programmes reached 4,319. This was 2839 in 2008. The number of training programmes in 2012 were 217 as against 126 in 2008.
Raising children's legal knowledge
Juvenile offences make up a significant percentage of all cases examined by prosecutors in the UAE. Studies showed that juveniles tended to carry out crime because of a low level of awareness about the seriousness of such misdemeanours under the law. The offences were often committed on the spur of the moment. By teaching youth about the law at an early age, youngsters will be more likely to turn into responsible adults.
Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) had declared 2015 as 'child's legal knowledge year'. The initiative aimed at teaching youngsters about their legal responsibilities. The campaigns included short videos about wrong actions and their damaging results, like one who fights in school, uses the mobile phone to insult others or causes disturbance.
Providing legal aid and guidance
The UAE believes in providing legal and judicial aid for those who cannot afford the legal fees. In accordance with the UAE's Constitution, everyone must find an easy access to the competent lawyer. The economic and social circumstances must not preclude anyone to get easy access to justice.
Ministry of Justice offers free legal consultations and legal translation of court documents to those individuals who are unable to pay.
ADJD's free legal aid
Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) offers free legal aid to poor/needy people and guide them legally and neutrally to support their right of easy access to justice. Services include advocacy services, settlement of expertise fees and publishing notices in the newspapers. The aid is based on certain eligibility criteria such as the seriousness of the case and the income of the beneficiary of the service.
Read about free legal aid by ADJD.
'Sure' legal advice
Dubai Courts launched 'Sure' (Arabic for consult us) service where authorised law firms offer free voluntary legal consultations to litigants.
Each firm has the right to specify the number of hours for which they can offer consultation per month. The Litigant Guidance division of Dubai Courts supervises the implementation of the programme and brings litigants in touch with the participating law firms.
Legal clinic programme
Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai runs the Legal Clinic programme which provides free legal consultation services to all Dubai residents. Through agreements with CDA, professional lawyers respond to public enquiries received by the authority. The legal clinic aims to raise the community's awareness of their legal rights according to the Child Protection Act and the Personal Status Law.
For more information, you can contact CDA through: