Bouncing a Cheque No Longer a Jailable Offence in UAE

Expat Globe

Which Offshore has previously reported extensively on the draconian debt default laws exercised in the United Arab Emirates. Expats had long been the victim of jailing for as innocuous an act as defaulting on a cheque.

However, new policy put in place in the Emirates has seen expatriate debt defaulters released from prison.

Ali Khalfan Al Dhaheri, head of the legal affairs department at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, told The National’s Arabic-language sister paper Al Ittihad, “In line with the directives of Sheikh Khalifa … and in the spirit of fairness and equality, the courts have stopped as of last month accepting collateral cheques presented as a criminal tool against expatriate debt defaulters,”

Judge Jassem Saif Buossaiba, head of the judicial inspection department at the Justice Ministry, also said, "Federal public prosecutions in the country have, indeed, released expatriate detainees as has been the case of their Emirati counterparts who were freed last October."

It is not only the expat community that will benefit with the rules having been relaxed for Emirati citizens in October. The moves come after 20 foreign businessmen in Dubai’s central jail went on hunger strike in April in protest at overly harsh punishments for financial crimes.

Bouncing a cheque was not a rare crime amongst the expat community in Dubai with 20% of Dubai’s jail population resulting from that crime.