Can you put a case or investigation on hold if there is insufficient evidence?

The Federal law no. 35 of 1992 concerning the ‘criminal procedure law’, specifies the procedures for the prosecution of criminal cases in the UAE (‘Criminal procedure code’). The rules and procedures concerning investigation, trial procedure, evidence, judgment, appeal procedures and enforcement measures are stated in the criminal procedure code.

The public prosecution constitutes the judicial authority which is headed by the attorney general and followed by the hierarchy of senior advocate general, advocates general, chief prosecutors and prosecutors. The higher members in the hierarchy have the authority to both monitors and supervise their subordinates. As part of its responsibilities, the public prosecution is responsible for initiating and taking action on criminal cases on behalf of the society members, either by referring the criminal case to the court for trial or by issuing a decision of dismissal. Pursuant to Article 7 of the criminal procedure code, the Public Prosecution has exclusive jurisdiction to initiate and prosecute criminal proceedings. It also has the exclusive authority to track the criminal cases until a final judgement is rendered.

Collection of evidence:

In inspection and collection of evidence, various government departments are assigned with the said authority, including the police department, public prosecution and criminal court. Pursuant to article 30 of the criminal procedure code, the judicial police are tasked with the responsibility to inquire about crimes, search for the perpetrators and collection of necessary information and evidence as part of the criminal investigation. Further, the judicial police are answerable to the public proception office and are also under the direct supervision of the public prosecutor in the performance of their duties (Article 31).

When sufficient evidence exists:

Pursuant to article 45 of the criminal procedure code, when sufficient evidence exists concerning a given criminal complaint:

The judicial police officer may order the arrest of the accused, present and against whom there is enough evidence that he committed a crime, in any of the following instances:

  1. In matter of felonies;
  2. In suspected misdemeanours sanctioned by a penalty other than the fine;
  3. In misdemeanours sanctioned by a penalty other than the fine, if the accused is put under surveillance or there is an apprehension of his escape;
  4. In misdemeanours of theft, deceit, breach of trust, severe transgression, resistance by force to public authority officers, violation of public morals, misdemeanours concerning arms, ammunition, intoxicants and dangerous drugs.

 In other instances:

Insufficient evidence:

If the prosecution office deems that there is no reason to pursue the action further due to lack of evidence or for other reasons, it shall order that the complaint be archived and not be lodged with the court for trial.

Withdrawal of complaint:

The UAE laws allow for withdrawal of the legal action by the complaint in certain types of cases. In the instance wherein the victim dies after submitting a complaint, the right of withdrawal passes to his legal heirs.

Lapse of the criminal action:

Pursuant to article 20 of the criminal procedure code, a criminal case shall be deemed to have ceased or lapsed if the following circumstances as listed below occur. In such instance, the public prosecution may not initiate the said matter further if the following circumstances occur:

  • Death of the accused.
  • Issuance of a final judgment.
  • Submitting a waiver of the case by the party who has the right thereof(As discussed in point (ii) above.
  • General Pardon.
  • Repeal the law which punishes the same act.
  • With the exception of crimes punishable by the Divine ordinance, chastisement law, blood money and crimes punishable by the death penalty or life sentence, the criminal case shall lapse after twenty years.
  • The misdemeanour cases shall lapse after five years, the violations shall lapse after one year, and all the terms mentioned above shall be calculated since the day of the crime been committed.

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