By Karim Abdulsalam, Senior Associate
Public prosecution in Dubai started enforcement of the law No. 1 of 2017 concerning applying the criminal order (judgments) in which the law provides public prosecutors with the ability to directly issue judgments on defendants by imposing a fine on misdemeanour and minor violations, without needing to refer the matter to the relevant court.
We can define the criminal order (judgment) as:
the judicial decision issued by a member of the Public Prosecution to adjudicate the criminal proceeding with a fine without referring the same to the competent court. The UAE`s legislator aims to ensure speedy adjudication of criminal cases without the violation of fair trial guarantees.
The advantages are to reduce the burden of cases before the court, reducing the number of cases submitted to the same, and responding to practical considerations which requires simplification of litigation procedures and shortening of time, effort and expenses of parties involved in criminal prosecutions.
The necessary executive decisions have been issued to start working in the criminal order system, these decisions regulated the procedures for the collection of fines and method of objecting to the criminal order.
Applying the criminal order system has already started and by which have been addressed some of the issues concerning residency and citizenship. In the Emirate of Dubai, public prosecution is currently in the process of circulating the system to all police stations already. In order to deal quickly and effectively with some minor violations in which visitors from outside the state may fall in, given that their referral to the court for the determination of these violations may delay their travel and obstruct their plans.
The criminal order is applied to crimes of misdemeanours and violations stipulated in the legislation in force in the Emirate of Dubai, which is punishable by fine or by incarceration with a fine.
Does a member of the public prosecutor have the right to amend or cancel the criminal order?
The member of public prosecution who is of a rank not less than a chief prosecutor may amend or revoke the criminal order within 7 days from its date of issue. In the event of cancellation, the criminal order will be considered as if it did not exist and (then, the case will be transferred to the Criminal Courts to be considered (and the public prosecutor has the power to amend or revoke the criminal order within 30 days from the date on which the criminal order have been promogulated or amended or from the date on which the perpetrator has withdrawn his\her objection. In the event of cancellation, the criminal order will be considered as if it did not exist and (then the case will be transferred to the Criminal Courts to be considered).
Challenging the criminal order:
if the criminal order is issued in his/her presence, the perpetrator may challenge the same within 7 days from the date on which the criminal order has been issued or amended in accordance with article 7 of this law, or from the date on which have been declared if the criminal order has been issued in absentia. In the event of cancellation, the criminal order will be considered as if it did not exist and (then, the case will be transferred to the Criminal Courts to be considered).
When does the criminal order become final?
The criminal order becomes final and is not subject to challenge or appeal by any prescribed means of appeal in either of the following cases:
• In case of lapse of objection time.
• Payment of the amount of the fine prescribed under the penal order.
Does the allegation of a civil right preclude the issuance of the penal order?
The allegation of a civil right shall not preclude the issuance of the penal order, and the plaintiff shall have recourse to the competent civil court to claim his rights.
A criminal order issued by the member of public prosecution shall include the following information:
• date of issuance of the criminal order;
• name and personal information of the perpetrator;
• the charges brought against the perpetrator;
• the applicable articles of the law for the criminal acts committed and for the punishments imposed;
• the name of the public prosecutor that issued the criminal order.