Federal Law No. 38/2022 on Criminal Procedure (effective from 1 March 2023), as amended by Federal Decree No. 45/2023.

Federal Law No. 38/2022 on Criminal Procedure (effective from 1 March 2023), as amended by Federal Decree No. 45/2023.



Federal Decree-Law No. 38 of 2022 on Criminal Procedure in the UAE (the “New Law”) came into force on 1 March 2023. This law revoked the Federal Law No. 35 of 1992 promulgating the Law of Criminal Procedure, and Federal Law No. 5 of 2017, which addressed the use of remote communication technology in criminal procedures.

The New Law introduced a raft of new, significant amendments which highlights the UAE’s on-going commitment to modernising its legal framework.


Key changes

The New Law ushered in several key changes, including:

·        (Articles 115 to 117): Give the public prosecution the authority to take precautionary measures concerning suspected crime-related assets. These measures include tracing, locating, freezing, and appointing an asset custodian. This enhancement ensures that assets linked to criminal activities are effectively managed and prevented from further misuse. This section also provides that a person can also file grievance against such measure before the criminal court, or the territorial competent court, and the court’s ruling in this regard shall be final.

·       (Articles 360 to 382): Introducing the concept of plea bargains in both misdemeanours and felonies, subject to specific requirements. The public prosecution is now empowered to offer plea bargains to defendants. A plea bargain involves a defendant admitting culpability in exchange for a reduced penalty. This mechanism will expedite trials and encourage defendants to take responsibility for their actions.

·       (Article 99): Implementing the issuing of a travel ban during investigations against the defendant without the need for any kind of bails including the seizure of the passport. 

·       (Article 133): Providing the defendant with the right to appeal the decision of extension of their detention.

·       (Article 140) Introducing a New Minor Felony Court which consists of a single judge who has jurisdiction over felonies punishable by temporary imprisonment.

·       Providing provisions for confidentiality of the Mediation as well as rejection or dismissal of the mediator.

·       (Articles 368 to 375): Introducing provisions for criminal settlement and the penalties that can be imposed in case of settlement. However, in case Qisas, Diya, Crimes against juveniles cannot be settled. And in case of Felonies only the felonies punishable by temporary imprisonment and those that are indiscriminately related to misdemeanour can be settled

·       (Articles 414 to 426): Empowering the use of remote communication technology during Judicial proceedings, crime investigation, and gathering evidence and by both public prosecution and court. It also gives electronic signatures the same binding force as signatures.

It also brought changes to time limitations and the level of fines that could be issued.



The introduction of the New Law is part of a wave of positive legislative reforms in the UAE which seek to align the country ever more with international standards and best practices. It reflects the UAE’s willingness to continuously evolve its legal system in line with changing economic and social needs.


If you have any questions  on the above or if you require advice  please get in touch with the authors below.


Dr. Mohamed Mahrous

Partner, Litigation

+971 506963065


Moataz Elsharaky


+971 565041552


You might also be interested in...
NEWS November 02 2020
Financing An International Trade
NEWS October 04 2020
DIFC’s Data Protection Law
NEWS June 30 2020
Public Prosecution in Dubai
NEWS June 22 2020
Covid-19 & Force Majeure
NEWS June 15 2020
Use of Electronic Signatures
NEWS May 04 2020
Piercing the Corporate Veil
NEWS January 16 2020
Bona Fide Principle Prevails
NEWS September 04 2018
Franchising in the UAE
NEWS November 14 2018
Extradition Requests in the UAE
NEWS April 24 2018
Bankruptcy in the UAE
NEWS February 07 2018
Seminar: UAE Civil Procedures Law
NEWS March 19 2018
Recent Developments at the RDC
NEWS August 01 2018
Charities and Endowments in Dubai
NEWS September 17 2017
Our Litigation Team Award Winners
NEWS December 05 2022
Interest on Late Payments in the UAE
NEWS February 07 2024
Abu Dhabi Welcomes arbitrateAD

For better web experience, please use the website in portrait mode