How to file a criminal case in Dubai?

The criminal law of Dubai is based on the religious law and moral code of Islam called the Sharia Law. Sexuality, marriage, crimes, gambling, dress codes, and other cases come under Sharia Law. No matter who breaks the law, be it a foreigner or native, the Sharia law will still be applicable. Therefore, it is best to know the basics of criminal law, especially if you are accused of a crime or if you have filed a petition against someone based on a crime conducted. You should also keep in mind that the criminal law is very strict and the related procedures will take some time to be completed which is why it is advisable to take the assistance of criminal lawyers in Dubai if you want to win your case faster.

In this article, we aim to walk you through the different aspects of criminal law in Dubai and how to deal with a criminal case.

How to file a criminal case in Dubai?

The first act of a victim of criminal activity would be to approach a lawyer in Dubai. According to the lawyer’s advice, the victim will file a complaint against the accused in the police station that’s closest to the location where the crime took place. The complaint must contain all details concerning the incident explained as a series of events. The complaint can be delivered either in a written format or an oral one. It will be recorded by the police officer in Arabic. Later the recorded complaint will be signed by the victim. However, do see to it that you really do register the complaint in the nearest police station. If the case does not fall in the area of jurisdiction of the specific police station, your complaint may not be accepted.

The complainant does not have to pay any sort of legal or court fees to register a complaint in the police station. However, if you are availing the services of a lawyer or law firm in dubai, then you must pay them the attorney fee.

After the registration of the complaint is done, the police will check the complaint and verify it with the provided documents and evidence procured. Only then will they start their investigation. The police will also prepare a report and send it over to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor then conducts an investigation to gauge the credibility of the case and then drafts a report based on his work. If the accused is found guilty even after this investigation, the file will be handed over to the Criminal Court. However, if the case is not found to be true, the complaint will be rejected. All these proceedings pertain to the Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 as per the UAE Penal Code.

Upon receiving the petition, the court can either give an opportunity for the accused to defend themselves or pass the judgment directly. Nevertheless, the accused can approach the best criminal lawyers in Dubai for help.

Should the accused or victim attend the court proceedings?

After the registration is complete and the public prosecutor has accepted it, the victim need not be present at the court proceedings in Dubai. The victim’s lawyer can represent him/her in the court proceedings but the accused cannot do so. He/She should be present during the hearing, especially if a punishment includes imprisonment.

Can an appeal be filed for criminal cases?

Yes, the accused can file an appeal in the Court of Appeal if he/she is not satisfied with the judgment of the Court of First Instance. Yet if the accused is not satisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, he/she can approach the Court of Cassation against the decision. The accused has a time period of 15 days from the date of receiving the judgment from the Court of First Instance to file an appeal in the Court of Appeal and likewise 30 days to file an appeal in the Court of Cassation.

But the victim cannot appeal against the judgment of any lower court. The reason being that after accepting the appeal, the public prosecutor will take the case forward on behalf of the plaintiff. The prosecutor can also file an appeal if he/she is dissatisfied with any decision.


As we mentioned before, the proceedings of a criminal case in Dubai can prolong and prove to be quite tiring. You definitely need to have an overall knowledge of how the procedures associated with criminal law works in Dubai. You should also make sure to take legal help from the lawyers in Dubai. Such a step will help you avoid all the chances of flaws on your part and help find the loopholes in the opponent’s side to receive a favorable judgment.


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