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Basic Laws and Bodies of Legislative Power in the United Arab Emirates – useful facts

The UAE is a federation comprised of seven monarchies: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Historically, these were separate kingdoms under the British Protectorate. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the head of the Emirate is considered to be the President of the whole state. Since Dubai is the most populated Emirate, it is also of high importance – its head is the Prime Minister of the UAE and the Head of the Government.

Religious beliefs and tradition are vital and run deep in all areas of life. The legislation system of the UAE is a mixture of civil law (mainly based on the British law) and Sharia, Islamic laws derived from the holy books of the Quran and the Hadith.

The main legislative body of the country is represented by the Federal National Council and was formed in 1971. It is composed of 40 members half of which are appointed, while the other half elected (8 senators represent Abu Dhabi, 8 senators Dubai, there are 6 senators from Sharjah and Rasal-Khaimah, 4 from Ajman, Fujairah and Umm al-Quwain). One of the main tasks of the Federal National Council is to discuss the budget. It also controls the compliance of the laws with the Constitution.

The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates came into force in 1971. It consists of 10 Parts and 152 Articles which create the framework for the legal and political life of the state.

The Electoral College taking part in the election of the FNC members has increased and now amounts to 224,279 people. As of now, there are eight women among the members of the FNC.

Here is some useful info to those who are planning to move to the UAE – according to Sharia laws, you have to avoid doing a number of things that are considered indecent or impolite:

  • Swearing in public is unacceptable.
  • Every religion has to be respected. Acts of disrespect will be strictly punished.
  • In public places, clothes have to be reserved. Shorts and skirts have to be of appropriate length.
  • Kissing and touching are not welcome.
  • You can’t take picture of other people without asking for their prior permission.
  • Avoid sharing private spaces with the representatives of the opposite sex.

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