Forgery Laws UAE

11 Apr 2022

Forgery is defined as the act of creating, using, changing, or possessing a fraudulent document with the aim to defraud. Forging a signature, an official document, any government document, or even a check could be considered as a felony. In general, the ability to deliver and trade real and reliable records is critical for such documents. In this aspect, fraudulent documents can have real and serious consequences for businesses, individuals and the government. As a result, forgery is regarded as a crime in UAE and most other countries. Forgery is defined under Article 216 of Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 in relation to the Penal Code as altering the original document from its reality in any form or as indicated below to cause any harm with the intent to use the forged document as an original:

  • To tamper with a legitimate instrument by adding, removing or modifying any of its formed parts, numbers, checks, or pictures
  • To sign a document improperly or with a fake seal, or to alter a real mark, seal or engraving
  • To obtain a mark or seal from a person who has not read the report in its entirety by coercion or deception
  • To manufacture an instrument incorrectly or replicate it and attribute it to someone else
  • Filling a clear piece of paper that has been checked, fixed, or marked without the assistance of the person who stamped, fixed, or engraved it
  • To acknowledge the name of another person or to substitute it in an archive that has been precisely maintained to demonstrate that person’s personality
  • A significant change in any composition with a fictitious point, prevents the archive’s genuine expectation of completion.

Fundamentally examining the grounds of reference in cases of forgery, the Court of Cassation has concluded that, under UAE Evidence Law, the burden of proving that act of forgery falls on the complainant to demonstrate the authenticity of the document on which he or she was relying. Simply put, if the accused disputes the forgery claims, the complainant must prove the contrary.

However, the examination for a fake document can begin at any point during the proceedings. To prove the accused’s guilt, the complainant must produce documentation and evidence indicating the act of forgery perpetrated on such document. however, if the complainant’s proof is insufficient, or if the court believes that the matter or the document can be further instigated, the Court may refer the document for additional inquiry to reach final outcomes.

The burden of proof is on the claimant, according to Federal Law Number (10) of 1992 on Evidence in Civil and Commercial Transactions (the Law), which is an established principle and stated in Article 1 of the Law. According to the law, the claimant or person asserting the fact is required to establish his claim, while the defendant has the right to deny it. The official and/or customary documents are the first proofs of evidence to prove the facts. It is also established in law that official or public documents created by public officials are deemed to be proof against all disputants, even what is proven, unless they are falsified using legal ways. A customary document, as a document created by parties, is just a proof between the parties; it is not recognized evidence for others, unless certain circumstances are met. Official documents, for example, may create rights in rem, whereas customary documents may only produce rights in personam


Fines and Penalties

The UAE prosecutors have cautioned that falsifying electronic papers is a felony punishable by a variety of punishments, including imprisonment and a minimum fine of AED 100,000.

According to article 6 of Federal-Decree Number (5) 2012 on combating cybercrime, people convicted of forging an electronic document of federal or local government authorities or local or federal public will face temporary imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED150,000 and not more than AED750,000 shall be imposed on establishments. Prosecutors emphasized the importance of the Federal Decree-Law Number (5) of 2012 in combating cybercrime, emphasizing its usefulness in combating new crimes that emerge as a result of rapid technological advancements.

Prosecutors in the UAE had previously warned residents against accessing websites, electronic information systems, computer networks, or information technology means without authorization, regardless of whether the access is intended to obtain government data or confidential information about a financial, commercial, or economic facility. The prosecutors explained that the foregoing conduct, which are deemed cybercrimes under UAE law, are punishable by temporary imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED250,000 and not more than AED150,0000. If this data or information was deleted, omitted, deteriorated, destructed, divulged, altered, copied, published, or re-published, the penalty is at least 5 years in prison and a fine of not less than AED500,000 and not more than AED2 million.


Type of Forgery

In light of the foregoing, it may be argued that there are two sorts of fraud: material forgery and moral forgery, both of which are discussed further below:

  • Material forgery occurs when the forger makes a material alteration in the document that can be understood by senses such as the eyes, whether it is an addition, deletion, or modification to the existing original document or the creation of a new document.
  • Moral forgery is defined as when a forger alters the meaning, content, or circumstances of an article or statement other than those made by the contractual parties during the editing process, but not in material or form.

Moral forgery, on the other hand, can be difficult to detect and prove, as opposed to material fraud, which might be difficult to detect and show. Any material or moral forgery committed by the forger, whether used or not, can be traced back to the person who forged the paper. Several measures can be used to eliminate the impact of such documents, including denial, which may be sufficient in some situations to eliminate the influence of forged documents, but in other cases, denial may not be totally effective unless a challenge for forgery is also filed. 



In the case of a customary document that may be contested for forgery, mere denial of a person is sufficient, according to Articles 11 and 23 (1) of the Law, while opposing the writing, seal, signature, or fingerprint. As a result, it is the responsibility of the other party depending on the document to prove its legitimacy, and the burden of evidence thus transfers to the person relying on the document. The Court of Cassation held on November 19, 2012, in appeal No. 93 of 2012, that if a person denies what is attributed to him by signing a forfeit legitimate document, the other party must prove the signed document, i.e., the party seeking to rely on it must establish its validity.


Challenge for Forgery

According to the law and the provisions of the Courts of Appeal and Cassation, it may not be sufficient to simply deny for the purpose of excluding the effect of the allegedly forged document, such as official documents, and it must be challenged for forgery in such cases, as it is not permissible for a person in respect of such document to simply deny the document which was attributed to him by handwriting, signature, stamp, or finger-print. If the opponent admitted the evidence of the stamp’s authenticity in an usual document but denied impressing it in the way he did, he was forced to accept the forgery challenge.

Articles 28 to 32 of the Law provide for a challenge for forgery; A forgery challenge might be brought at any point during the case. The challenger must specify the alleged forgery points, his proof, and the investigation procedure that will be used to prove it. All of this must be stated in a memorandum to be presented to the court or in the session’s minutes. If you are a victim of any kind of forgery you can always reach out to the best lawyers at Fotis Law.