Using the ‘F’ word is a criminal offence in the UAE


Someone I know recently used the ‘F’ word against me to insult me. I heard it is a crime in the UAE. Is it true? What action can I take under the law? How can I prove the person used the word against me?

As per the UAE law, using the ‘F’word, or any other verbal abuse, irrespective of the person’s nationality, is a criminal offence.

According to the UAE Federal Penal Code No 3 of 1987 and as amended, chapter six thereof, crimes against reputation (libel and abuse), Article 373 of the Penal Code clearly states: “Detention for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding Dh10.000 shall be imposed upon anyone who, by any means of publicity, disgraces the honour or the modesty of another person without attributing any particular act to the defamed party. Detention for a period not exceeding two years and a fine not exceeding Dh20,000 or either of these two, shall apply if a public official or one who is in charge of a public service has been abused during, because of, or on the occasion of performing his duty or public service, if the abuse affects the honour or injures the reputation of families, or it is noticed that the abuse is intended to achieve an illegal purpose. However, if the abuse is published in any newspaper or printed media, it shall be considered an aggravated case.”

Article 374 of the same code also states: “Punishment by detention for a period not exceeding six months or by a fine not exceeding Dh5,000 shall apply if slander or abuse is transmitted by telephone, or face to face with the victim and in the presence of a third party. Punishment by a fine not exceeding Dh5.000 shall be imposed if slander or abuse occurs face to face with the victim alone without the presence of a third party or is sent to him by a message using any way. It shall be considered an aggravated case, if libel or abuse is committed in any of the cases mentioned in the preceding two paragraphs, against a public official or one who is in charge of a public service during, because of or on the occasion of performing the duty or public service, it affects the honour or injures the reputation of families or if it is noticed that it achieves an illicit purpose.”

Actions that could be taken, must begin at the level of the police and then at the Public Prosecution. A person has the right to complain to the police station within three months after the victim’s knowledge of the crime (Article 10 of the Penal Procedural Code issued by Federal Law No 35 of 1992 and the laws issued in amendment thereof). As the Supreme Court has said, “The right of the Public Prosecution to initiate the case in the crime of insulting, is suspended on the victim’s complaint”.

UAE law requires a witness or a confession if the crime was not public in order to prove it. However, you can claim civil compensation for both material and moral damages, after judgement is passed from the criminal court against the counter party.

Compensation in lieu of notice
My employee has filed a case against me in the labour court over the issue of compensation payable for a notice period. As per the UAE labour law, under what circumstances is the employer obliged to pay for the notice period? Does the employer also have the same right to ask for a notice period compensation from the employee?

As per Federal Labour Law No. 8 of 1980, Article No. 119: “Where an employer or a worker fails to give the party notice of the termination of the contract or reduces the period of notice, the party obliged to give notice shall pay the other party “compensation in lieu of notice”, as a result of such failure or reduction. The compensation shall be equal to the wage of the worker’s remuneration in respect of the entire period of notice or the time by which it was reduced. “Compensation in lieu of notice” shall be calculated on the basis of the remuneration last received, in the case of worker remunerated on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis or in the case of a worker remunerated at piece rates, on the basis of the average daily remuneration referred to in Article 57 of this Law”.

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Metropolitan Consulting began its activity as a company, helping with visas and account openings in the UAE more than eight years ago.

Through knowledge and experience, MC are now in the position to provide the complete spectrum of legal services within the UAE territory, such as; Court proceedings, FIZ and offshore company registration, opening of bank accounts, tax consultation amongst other specialized areas.

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