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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

UAE legal Q&As: can a woman be punished for reporting domestic abuse?

A reader asks if a marriage certificate must be attested before moving to the UAE and another asks what the punishment is for a bounced cheque

If an expatriate woman reports domestic abuse to the police, can she fall into trouble with the law or be at fear of deportation?

Absolutely not, the UAE Federal Penal Law, in articles 336 until 343, protects the personal safety of the individual regardless of being a citizen or an expatriate. According to the law, anyone who tries to harm another person will face punishment. Therefor, any person who has been physically harmed or subjected to domestic abuse can approach police and file a criminal claim against the defaulter be it their husband, wife or parent.

Does my marriage have to be officially recognised by the UAE government before moving there with my spouse or is a marriage licence from another country acceptable?

A marriage certificate from the expatriate's country is considered valid in UAE. However, to avoid any inconvenience or delays in visa processing the expatriate should make sure that the marriage certificate is attested by the foreign affairs authorities in their home country and then from their embassy in the UAE. Finally, the certificate should be attested by the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs so it can be used for any transaction in the country.

What happens to an expatriate if a cheque they paid someone bounces?

It all depends upon the beneficiary (holder). The beneficiary may ask the payer to issue another cheque or could file a criminal case with prosecutors. If a case is filed, an arrest warrant will be issued by the prosecutor against the cheque's signer and police will arrest them.

If that happens in Dubai, and the case is taken to court, the outcome of any criminal procedures depends upon the value of the bounced cheque. If it is below Dh200,000, then the prosecutor will fine the defendant. If the value is higher than Dh200,000 then the prosecutor will refer the defendant to the court of law where the defendant will most likely face a fine and a jail sentence.

If you have a question for our lawyer, please email it to newsdesk@thenational.ae with the subject line 'Know the law'.