United Arab Emirates: Good Samaritan Law

Last Updated: 7 January 2019
Article by STA Law Firm
Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, December 2018

What does it mean and imply when one is called a Good Samaritan? The term is regularly used in the news and by people when relating to stories of do-gooders in action. The name originates from a biblical story in which an individual helped another in need, though many at the time would have considered the act as unexpected. This act of non-profit driven kindness was the original inspiration for what a Good Samaritan is. In more recent times, the world has become more profit-driven with people regularly putting themselves before others. Of course, doing so, especially in times of danger is mostly considered normal, and frankly, the natural response; this is why the performance of such selfless acts is deemed to be exemplary and exceptional.

The world around us is also in a constant shift. Since the time of the original tale of the Good Samaritan, laws have become a critical deciding factor in the actions of people. Generally speaking, we always think before committing to an act, for the iron grip the law holds over us can rarely be evaded. Actions deemed illegal, questionable or even unfamiliar will rarely be committed for fear of repercussions. In some ways, the world around us is deeply invasive, with nothing hidden from the authorities. As such, even when it seems we are alone and clear of prying eyes, there is still caution.

Due to the changes, we also now have a different definition of a Good Samaritan. The description generally describes the same type of person, but in a more legally acceptable way. The current definition is more along the lines of an individual who voluntarily provides aid in an emergency to a sick or injured individual. This act would be outside of their range of work and entirely optional for them.

Around the world, there are 'Good Samaritan Laws' whose jobs it is to place limitations on actions of this kind. This idea may sound bizarre; a law that dictates just how helpful and selfless you can be. Indeed, there will likely never be a politician who would outwardly express this view. However, the primary purpose of the laws that are in place is to help decide where liabilities lie.

When you help someone, in the case that things are made worse, there will lie a liability upon you for the damage caused, and this is what the laws look to establish. There have been cases arising in which this is the very issue. People have been seemingly incorrectly blamed for actions derived through innocent concern for others, and this can and does produce somewhat of a deterrent.

In this article, we shall take a narrower look at the Good Samaritan laws of the UAE, and what the stance is within the country on matters such as these. The rules look to protect those who act in a manner describable as Good Samaritan.

The UAE's Position

The UAE is considered to be at the forefront of Good Samaritan protection laws within the Middle Eastern region. Generally, across many of the other neighboring countries, there are either minimal regulations on the matter or none at all; this is a significant disadvantage, as it gives rise to uncertainty. Should cases of this manner arise, what laws are to be followed to reach verdicts? How would one even begin to tackle this topic?

The UAE is therefore at the forefront in this regard. While the nation does not have its own stand-alone Good Samaritan law, there have been talks of one coming soon. The negotiations began in late 2017, and the code is currently in the draft stage.

While the law is currently yet to finalize, there have been other attempts to convey the information to the public by the government and authorities. There was advice given relatively recently by the authorities in which they stated that, while it is within human nature to help those in need, in the case of accidents, it would just be best to call the police or ambulance (or appropriate authority) to deal with the issue. Doing this would allow one to bypass any liability for damages caused.

Perhaps the biggest worry on the topic is of a death resulting from the attempted help; this could potentially lead to a murder charge or similarly severe ends.

A recent UAE incident which demonstrates this unsureness concerned an 18-year-old Emirati individual who rescued six girls from a car accident. The individual was in fear, however, that they would receive reprimands due to the current nature of the legal landscape.

A case which dealt with this matter, though not occurring in the UAE, took place in the USA. In this case, the defendant was sued by the state after she had attempted to rescue her friend following a car crash. The primary defense utilized was the Emergency Medical Service Act of 1980. However, the California court's verdict, in the end, was that the Good Samaritan would not receive protection under this law as it only applied to medical professionals performing acts of an emergency nature.

Mens Rea

The Mens Rea or mental element of a crime is a vastly important point. The UAE Penal Code (Federal Law Number 3 of 1987) itself is what is currently used to dictate damages caused, including in a case of Good Samaritan action. It issuing was by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, and alongside it, they have also provided a UAE Criminal Law Overview. The Penal Code itself does not consider the concept of Mens Rea, though the overview does. Within it, is stated in Chapter 2 that a Mens Rea is one of the two necessary aspects to any action. The other element is the physical process of performing the act, and then there is the intent. If either of these is missing, liability is not possible.

This concept adds an extra element to the mix. One acting as a Good Samaritan will not have the intention to cause harm, even if that is the eventual outcome. Therefore, the possibility of murder is minimal.

The next possible level of accusation to this is that of manslaughter or some similar crime; this will be a regrettable outcome for both of the parties involved, and the official federal legislation would look to protect the well-meaning party in here.

A rather complicated case arose in Ohio, USA. The Case of Carter v. Reese in which a truck in an accident pinned the plaintiff. The defendant then proceeded to act and provide what assistance they could. However, the plaintiff (the individual assisted) believed the defendant acted negligently and sued. The court though, held that the Defendant worked as a Good Samaritan and so they were innocent of any crime or negligence.

Sharia Law

The UAE and its surrounding Middle Eastern Muslim countries mainly follow Islamic Sharia principles in areas where there are no official laws and regulations; this is also the case within the UAE at this time, and it is more than likely that the future law will at least in part, incorporate Sharia Principles.

The question that then arises is of what the Islamic verdict is regarding this topic. It is straightforward. In the case where an emergency is occurring, it is permissible to intervene to attempt to assist where possible and try to save a life. This verdict is the case regardless of either of the parties' genders or religions. As such, going off of Islamic Sharia Law, a 'Good Samaritan' would be protected.

The New Law

The upcoming Good Samaritan law would look to draw from numerous inspirations. Being a UAE law, it will undoubtedly bring from Sharia Law. Sharia Law as previously covered would be highly essential and also similar such regulations from international jurisdictions would also receive consideration. It helps that the Sharia principles are very much in line with these international laws which will mean that little to no compromise will have to occur in the law.

Conclusion

It is essential to bear in one's mind that one should always try to act reasonably and logically. While it may be seen to be human nature to help those in need, it is the responsibility of every person to think before acting; this is not to say that one should not perform, though instead, actions should take place within the limitations of an individual. If they are untrained to do anything, they should not do it, and caution and clear thoughts still hold value before making any move.

The current levels of protection for Good Samaritans in the UAE are decent and undoubtedly superior to anything else in the region, though the uncertainty of not having a stand-alone law to dictate and layout rights and duties still looms. The future law, while even in its early phases, will put many of these burning questions and concerns to rest, and can only lead to a more favorable environment.

It is essential to remember and bear in mind that while some of these laws may seem harsh and even morally wrong, they are not necessarily so. Instead, as with many rules, they look to maintain the balance within society and ensure social order prevails. People have roles to fill through their professions and jobs, and so a medical professional or police officer should be the only ones to perform those said duties. Of course, the unpredictability of humans and the world we live in is do not allow for stone-set attitudes, and this is recognized. The reason for the newly discussed Good Samaritan Law in the UAE is due to this very base nature of the world around us.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions