The Largest Legal Reform in UAE History

In November 2021, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa approved the largest legal reform since the country’s founding in 1971.
In line with the nation’s development agenda, the UAE government revised 40 laws ranging from online security, trade, commerce, residency and many other social issues. These legislative changes were made possible by 540 experts from 50 federal and local authorities who worked closely with over 100 private-sector organizations.
The new amendments were put into place this past January, just in time for the UAE’s Golden Jubilee or “Year of the 50th.” They will not only help to strengthen economic and commercial opportunities but promote social stability and the UAE’s progressive vision for the future.
UAE Legal Reform
Here’s a closer look at just a few of the many laws that have been renewed as of January 2, 2022.

Electronic Transactions and Trust Services

In an effort to keep up with technological development, this new amendment gives electronic signatures the same verification as handwritten ones. It has removed the need for a personal witness in order to seal transactions and simplified a number of civil processes including marriage and real estate transactions.

Copyright and Neighbouring Rights

This law has been reinforced in order to guarantee greater protection for people working within the creative sector. The amendment covers a number of pressing issues related to author’s rights and neighbouring rights, and offers special benefits for people of determination who are looking to advance their creative career.

Trade Marks

The federal law surrounding Trade Marks now offers greater protection to 3D, holograms, sound and smell trademarks. Beyond protection, it has allowed companies who identify with a specific location to incorporate the geographical name within their trademark. In addition, it has eliminated the need for Trade licenses and granted small businesses owners temporary protection of trademarks during exhibitions.

Commercial Companies

This law was revised to expand foreign direct investment and to affirm the UAE’s long-standing reputation as a global and regional business hub. As such, it allows investors and entrepreneurs from all walks of life to establish and own onshore companies in the majority of occupational sectors. This will ultimately help the UAE to diversify its economy and maintain its competitive edge in the Middle East.

Online Security

The new law is aimed at better protecting the community from cyber crimes such as bullying, harassment, electronic fraud and fake news. In addition, it will address online false advertising, such as unlicensed trading in crypto-currencies. It is one of the first legal frameworks in the Gulf to address regional threats and concerns related to online technologies and abuse.

Higher Education

This new law has tasked the UAE Ministry of Education with the licensing and accreditation of all higher education institutions in the Emirates. It has set a new legal framework in academia; one that serves to approve curriculums, to ensure effective management of academic establishments, to improve the quality of higher education and to advance scientific research.
As the UAE begins its journey towards the next fifty years, this new legislative framework symbolizes the nation’s evolving culture and values. By expanding personal freedoms, the country has reaffirmed itself as a global hub for tourism, business and infinite possibilities.
For more details on the 40 laws that have been revised, click here.