The UAE has made huge changes to its legislation…

HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has approved amendments to more than 40 laws in the UAE, the largest legislative reform in its history. Among these changes are laws pertaining to relationships and pregnancies outside of marriage, spreading fake news, alcohol consumption and improving online security.

The new laws will come into effect on January 2, 2022.

The UAE will pass a new law which eases restrictions on extra-marital relationships. The new law effectively decriminalises consensual relationships out of wedlock, providing that any child conceived as a result of the relationship is acknowledged and will be cared for.

This update follows the an amendment made last year which decriminalised unmarried partners living together. Effectively, from January 2 it will no longer be a crime to have relationships, live with your partner outside of marriage, and if a couple falls pregnant then they will not be breaking the law.

The legislation states that ‘Any couple conceiving a child out of wedlock will be required to marry or singly or jointly acknowledge the child and provide identification papers and travel documents in accordance with the laws of the country of which either is a national, considering the applicable laws of that nation. Failing this, a criminal case would introduce a prison term of two years for both correspondents.’

In relation to alcohol, legislation prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in a public place or in unlicensed locations. The law also prohibits the sale, provision or incitement or inducement to consume alcoholic beverages to any person below 21 years of age.

Cyber-bullying, spreading fake news and combatting online harassment is also a focus for the UAE, which has developed a new law to ‘address concerns raised by online technologies and their applications and abuse’.

More details on these legislative updates can be found at

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