Non-fraudulent cases that involve bouncing cheques for amounts not exceeding Dh200,000 will result in a fine to speed up process.


Dubai judge Ayman Abdul Hakam expects the number of cases heard in court to decrease significantly with the introduction of a new system that allows cases to be settled with fines. Courtesy: Judge Ayman Abdul Hakam / One Day Court

The number of criminal cases handled by Dubai's courts is expected to drop significantly after the announcement that a range of minor offences have been downgraded to misdemeanours and will be dealt with by a fine.

From bouncing cheques and failing to pay rent, to sending insults in person or by phone, many offenders will no longer be put through the court system.

The criminal order will come into effect in December after being announced by Dubai Attorney General Essam Al Humaidan.

The decision, which was distributed to chief prosecutors last week, stated that eight offences can be settled outside court.

This includes cases that involve bouncing cheques for amounts not exceeding Dh200,000, the failure to pay fees or costs of not more than Dh50,000 and issuing insults, whether directly, indirectly, in front of others, or related to family honour. The change also means that anyone who has attempted suicide, and failed, would be fined and not prosecuted in court.

Ayman Abdul Hakam, head of Dubai's One Day Court, which was set up to handle minor cases earlier this year, expects far fewer people to go to court, and need to pay to hire a lawyer.

It estimated that 35 to 45 per cent of cheque-related cases will drop in the first month.