With the new Law in the UAE, the Prosecution Can Allow the Accused and the Victim to Settle Criminal

This significant change in the new law is the acceptance of a settlement in criminal cases between the victim and the accused, regardless of whether this settlement was signed at the court, Prosecution or even at the Notary Public. Such settlement could be either signed by a victim, his attorney or even the heirs. This new amendment introduces a very significant role of settlement in the handling of criminal matters by the prosecution. We believe, in our professional and practical experience, the approach to pursue a settlement in specific criminal offences will have a positive impact on both victims and criminals. The settlement can be achieved Crime in specific cases even after the judgement is passed.

Settlement in criminal cases

In its article 349 the new law gives the Prosecution the right to offer both parties in a criminal case to settle and grants them 15 days for such reconciliation. Nevertheless, it is important that this right was given to a prosecutor to execute at his sole discretion and is not mandatory to be executed. If the settlement was not reached, the prosecutor has the right to extend the grace period once. However, if the period is expired and the victim or his heirs reject to settle, the prosecutor may refer the case to the criminal court to proceed with the criminal charges.

Important question we have to consider here is: “May the settlement in a criminal case be signed under condition or suspended for the certain date?” or, in other words, “May the settlement in a criminal case be subject to any potential conditions for its invalidation or be kept as inactive for uncertain period or until there is a certain date for it to be recognized?”.

The answer is – no. In accordance with article 352 of the amended law, settlement in criminal cases shall be concluded with an immediate effect. It cannot remain pending on subject or date. The law adopted very practical and humanitarian approach, when it allowed a victim to have settlement in a criminal case reserving his right to file his own civil case later. The law indicates, that so long as the settlement in a criminal case does not include a clause “waving the right to claim the civil compensation”, the victim shall remain having this right. In our point of view, this very humanitarian approach simultaneously allows the victim to be compensated and gives him no chance to affect the accused through the criminal charges.

If there is more than one victim in the case and some of them accepted the settlement while others refused, article 353 of the amended law advises that criminal reconciliation of settlement shall not be accepted partially by a number of victims. It has to be agreed by all of them. The law indicated that in the case with more than one accused if the victim decided to drop the claims against (or to reconcile with) one of them, such reconciliation has to be extended to other accused. Settlement in listed types of cases could be reached even after the judgment is considered as final. However, if the reconciliation was done at this stage, its impact will be only to suspend the execution of the sentence, but it does not remove such sentence from the criminal record of the accused.

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