Criminal Order is a new procedural system established by the amendment to the UAE Criminal Procedure Law, which envisages efficient and seamless transition of workflow with the goal to lessen the judicial workload. The system empowers prosecutors, subject to the limits provided in the law, to find the accused guilty of specific misdemeanours and issue a decision of penalty against the convict without referring the matter to the court. The prosecutor is empowered to issue such penal orders in the absence of the accused. Further, the law provides measures for the convict to submit his objections against such penal orders. This new system serves the interest of the accused, as the prosecutor is enabled to dispose minor crimes without detaining his passport as security pending investigation.
In its article 139 the new law indicates the rights of Ministry of Justice to organize the Misdemeanour Department of the Criminal Court to decide in misdemeanour cases within a day. The law provides the Ministry of Justice with the right to organize its procedures and notification process. This Federal law established new criminal procedure system in the name of a criminal order, which is the order issued by a prosecutor in minor cases. Such criminal order can be issued in absence of the accused and without investigating with him the committed crime. The accused shall be given the right to object such order in an applicable period. The law empowers the Attorney General to specify the types of minor crimes which could be subject to the criminal order. Coincidently, the law excluded certain types of cases which can never be a subject to the criminal order rule. One of the most important types of crimes that can never become a subject to the criminal order are any crimes having mandatory deportation sentence as a consequence, or any types of honour or sexual crimes.
Prior to issuing the criminal order, the accused has to be served with a notice. However, if he did not attend a hearing, the decision shall be issued in absentia. Upon the order issuance the accused will be given another notice to be replied within following 7 days from the date of the decision (if in the presence of the accused) or from the date of notifying the accused of the decision (if it was issued in absentia).
If the criminal order was issued against more than one accused in the same case, and if one of them objected the order while others had not, the benefit of such objection will not be extended to other accused, as long as they did not object the order.
The new law indicates that the criminal order could be considered as final, in case the accused declared with due advance that he is not planning to object such order before it was issued. It also indicates that the order could be final if the accused accepted to pay the fine or he did not object the same within the given 7 day-period.
Civil claims in criminal cases
The important questions now arise in our minds: "What will be the position of a victim who filed civil claim in the criminal proceeding?"; "What will be the impact of the criminal order for this victim?". The answer is revealed in the article 341 of the amended law, which states that issuing the criminal order by the Prosecution does not restrict the victim from processing a civil case in the Civil Courts. The law empowers the Attorney General to amend the criminal order issued by the Prosecution within 30 days following the order. For example, the Attorney General may replace the criminal order by communitive service sentence providing that the expected sentence was not more than 6 months of jail or fine.
If the Attorney General decided to replace the criminal order sentence with the communitive service, such replacement shall be final only if it has been executed or it has not been objected within the period for raising the appeal, which is stipulated as 7 days.
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