In the UAE Physical assault is also known as battery, which is a criminal offence. It can be defined as intentionally or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person. This can include hitting, punching, pushing, kicking or other physical act that may result in causing harm to someone.

Under the federal law no. 31/2021 on the issuance of crimes and Penalties Law (UAE Penal Code), Physical Assault is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine. The severity of the punishment usually depends on the extent of the harm that has been caused to the victim, as well as the intent of the accused. If the assault causes permanent disability or death, the punishment can be severe, ranging from life imprisonment or even death penalty.

In addition to the criminal proceedings, in the UAE a victim of physical assault may also take recourse to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for the damages resulting from the assault.

Here is the general overview of the process for filing a case for physical assault in UAE courts:

  • Filing a Criminal Complaint: If you have been assaulted in the UAE, the first step is to file a complaint with the local police (Law enforcement officers). You must go to the nearest police station to report the incident and provide as much details and information as possible about the assailant, the location of the incident and witnesses if any. Once you file your complaint as per Article 36 of the Federal Law No. 38/2022 on the issuance of criminal procedure law "The law enforcement officers are to obtain clarifications and conduct the necessary inspection to facilitate the investigation of the facts that are reported to them or that they become aware of in any way, and they shall take all necessary precautionary measures to preserve the crime evidence."
  • Medical Report: You will also need to obtain a medical report from a doctor or a hospital detailing the injuries that you have sustained, as a result of the assault. This may be submitted before the courts during the proceedings to support your case.
  • Legal Representation: If you decide to initiate legal proceedings against the assailant it is recommended that you seek legal representation. You must ensure that you seek legal representation from a UAE licensed lawyer.
  • Court Filing: The lawyer shall prepare a complaint and file it before the prosecution, and the prosecution may then subsequently transfer the matter to the criminal court after completing its investigation.
  • Trial Proceedings: The court will schedule a hearing and during the trial both the parties will be required to submit the evidence (evidence may include medical reports, witness etc..) and arguments to further support and strengthen your case.

If the court finds it in your favor, it may order the assailant to pay compensation for damages or impose a criminal sentence such as imprisonment and fine.

The Penalties in place for criminal offenses such as physical assault widely depend on the nature, intensity, if there was use of any foreign object (weapon, tool, stick etc.), the damage caused and other factors such as if the crime was premeditated or not. The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy against such violent crimes.

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.