1. UAE Bankruptcy Law amendment

The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has through an amendment in 2020 made an effort to help the businesses facing an Emergency Financial Crisis (EFC) because of the spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns. The debtors have been exempted temporarily from the obligatory filing of bankruptcy after 30 days of its inability to pay debts. Debtors are allowed to make mutual arrangements with creditors which allows for a 12 month window to pay back the debts. Courts have been disabled from, accepting applications from creditors for bankruptcy and sealing the business premises of debtors.

  1. UAE Commercial Company Law amendment

Amendments made to the Commercial Company Law in 2020, has removed the requirement of having an Emiratis as 51% owner for registration of an Onshore Company in the UAE. Foreign investments up to 100% are now allowed in all sectors except in ‘Activities of Strategic Effect’. Foreign Companies are no longer required to have UAE nationals as directors in a joint stock company. The Departments of Economic Development in each of the Emirates are given the responsibility to come forward with list of such business activities where 100% foreign ownership is to be allowed.

  1. Equal pay law

With the motive of ensuring equality of wage, the UAE has through Federal Law Decree 6 of 2020 made it mandatory to pay equal wage to both men and women for equal work of equal value. These amendments made to Article 32 of Federal Law No 08 of 1980, is a positive step towards achieving gender equality in the UAE.

  1. Decriminalizing Bounced Cheques

With an aim to discourage criminal complaints with respect to bounced cheques, the cabinet of the UAE has come up with an amendment which enables banks to partially pay the cheque beneficiary from the available funds in the account. Once a person is convicted of the offence of cheque bounce, his cheque book shall be cancelled and he shall be banned from obtaining a new cheque book for five years. Other repercussions include a financial fine, suspension of license of a business for six months, and punishment of dissolution of business license for repeat offenders.

  1. Changes in Inheritance laws

Earlier in the UAE, only a non-Muslim expatriate was allowed to petition the courts to apply laws of his home country to decide on his inheritance. The changes made in 2020 to the inheritance laws have made it obligatory for the courts to mandatorily apply the law of the home country of an expatriate regardless of him being a Muslim or non-Muslim. Muslim expatriates had to previously abide by Sharia law of the UAE in case of inheritance without a Will. 

For more questions, please contact: 

Thomas Paoletti

Fauzia Khan

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