The New Legislative Reforms in The UAE

08 Jul 2022

The President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved a comprehensive reform in the legal system of the country, aimed at enhancing economic, investment, and trade opportunities, along with capitalizing on social stability, security, and safeguarding the rights of individuals and institutions. According to an official announcement, over 40 laws are included in the draft of new laws and legislative amendments.

The amendment came after active coordination at the local and federal levels, aimed at developing the legislative structure in various areas, including investment, commerce, industry, commercial companies, protection and regulation of industrial property rights, copyrights, trademarks, commercial registration, electronic transactions, fiduciary services, factoring, and residency, additionally to laws relating to society and private security, together with crime and punishment laws, online security laws, and laws governing the production, sale, purchase, and use of drugs and psychotropic substances.

Electronic Transactions and Trust Services:  Changes to the Electronic Transactions and Trust Services Act aimed at keeping pace with technological change and developing the continuing digital revolution. The new law simplifies civil and commercial transactions, including marriage, identity, notary, and real estate facilities such as rentals, purchases, sales, and contract amendments.

Industrial property rights:  The new law aims to protect industrial property rights and governs the procedures for its registration, use, exploitation, and transfer to guarantee the support for knowledge and innovation and to improve the ability to the competitiveness of UAE companies in the areas of industrial property rights while effectively applying international best practices and standards. The Industrial Property Law of the country is devoted to patents, industrial designs, integrated circuits, nondisclosure agreements, and utility certificates. It is applicable throughout the UAE including the free zones in the country.

Copyrights and Neighboring Rights: amendments to the Federal Law on Copyrights and Neighboring Rights capitalize on the influence of the creative industries in the economy of UAE and protect the author’s rights and neighboring rights in case of any infringement of their rights.

Trademarks:  The Federal Law governing Trademarks has been amended to extend the possibility of its protection. The changes pride protections to the 3D trademarks, holograms, audio trademarks like musical sounds related with a business or company which differentiate its products from other products, and smell trademark which creates a special fragrance for a company or brand. The new law also abolished the requirement of a trade license for the registration of the trademark and also granted temporary protection for SME owners to protect the trademark of their products while participating in exhibitions. 

Commercial Register:  The new amendment revised the Commercial Registry Law and hence, the local governments in all emirates can now hold their right to establish and manage commercial accounts along with registration, data monitoring, and change. The new law also defines the registration of business and economic organizations of any kind such as law firms, accountants, and others to safeguard the completeness of the data contained in the commercial register of all economic institutions within the UAE.

Factoring and Transfer of Civil Accounts Receivable:  The Act is the UAE’s first federal regulation specifically addressing the factoring and assignment of receivables. It makes available a new legal framework defining the legal requirements for the assignment and transmission of receivables, their validity, and conditions of completion, as well as the law determining the importance of challenging claims over the designated property. The new law is widely applicable to any transfer of receivables made in the context of a commercial or civil transaction.

Commercial Companies:  The new law allows investors and entrepreneurs to start and own domestic companies in all sectors, except in a few reserved “strategic activities”. The amended law is intended to strengthen the modest benefit of the country as part of the UAE government’s broader program to diversify the economy into an innovation and knowledge-based economy. The new law also aims to strengthen foreign direct investment (FDI) and confirm the position of the UAE as a leading regional and global business hub. The legislation stipulates in more detail the approvals and permits that companies require to conduct business activities within the UAE.

Higher Education Law:  The amended law intended to govern the licensing of higher education institutions in the UAE and establish a legal framework for approving curriculum, and ensure governance and management of the higher education institutions, advance the quality and affordability of higher education in the nation, and inspire scientific research in educational institutions. Except for the institutions working in the free zone, the new law applies to all other higher educational institutions in the UAE. The law applies to all levels of higher education, including diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor’s graduate, masters, and doctoral degrees.

The Crime and Punishment Law:  The UAE has approved an updated Federal Law on Crime and Punishment, a move aimed at further developing and perfecting the UAE’s legislative system. The new law introduces improved protections for women and domestic workers and strengthens public safety provisions, and relaxes restrictions on matters outside of marriage. It will be fully issued from January 2, 2022. The amended law includes the revision of several areas of legislation, including the punishments for a crime for public disorder crimes and the elimination of certain acts, and the prohibition of the use of alcohol in public and unlicensed locations. Under the new law, punishment for the crime of rape is life imprisonment. One of the vital provisions freshly introduced by the Crime and Punishment Law is that the law will be applied to anyone who commits or participates in an intentional murder of a UAE citizen, even if it occurred outside the nation.

Online Security Law:  The law against cybercrimes and online harassment, bullying, and ‘fake news’ will come into effect on 2nd January 2022. It will be one of the global legal frameworks. The law is intended to strengthen public protection against online crimes, the protection of the public sector, websites and databases, electronic fraud, and the privacy and rights of individuals. The new law allows the courts to seize any devices, software, content, or other medium used to prosecute a crime, along with the power to delete such information.

Data Protection Law:  the new law regarding the protection of personal data provides a combined framework to safeguard confidential information and protection of the privacy of the individuals by ensuring appropriate governance for best data management and protection, along with defining the obligations of all parties involved. The amended law applies to the processing of personal data, whether in whole or in part through any electronic modes, within or outside the UAE. Except in some instances, the processing of personal data without the consent of the owner is prohibited under the new law. 

A crew comprising of 540 professionals and experts from the 50 Federal and Local government authorities have worked collectively over the last five months in session with over a hundred private sector administrations to replicate the new legislative changes. If you have any queries reach out to the well-known lawyers in UAE.