How Dubai’s One-Day Court delivers swift justice

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Aymen Mohammed Abdul Hakeem with Fazal Rabbi Mohammed Amir, head Judicial Translator, Dubai Courts, at Al Muraqqabat Police Station. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Thanks to the One-Day Court initiative, swift justice has been dispensed in Dubai with the number of cases dropping to 2,621 last year, compared to 6,191 cases in 2019.

According to Dubai’s Attorney-General Essam Issa Al Humaidan, the initiative cut waiting time at Dubai Courts for misdemeanour cases. “The number of cases dropped last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative enhanced procedures and reduced delivery time,” said Al Humaidan.

During March last year, the number of cases dropped before the court stopped looking into cases in April and May. When it resumed work in June, it only heard 43 cases and the number grew to 140 by December 2020. The majority of cases concerned bad cheques, which went up by 31 per cent, totalling 1,165 cases. This was followed by 653 cases involving illegal stay in the country and 330 cases of people working on a visit visa.

The court saw 305 cases involving consumtion of alcohol in 2020, which constituted eight per cent of the total number of cases. Drink driving cases totalled 177 during this period.

The One-Day Court initiative was officially rolled out in March 2017 to ensure faster justice for cases like bounced cheques, alcohol-related offences, residency and traffic cases.

The initiative’s target was to reduce time required in investigation and prosecution by implementing a verdict in two phases in less than 24 hours for the cases that don’t require hearings by witnesses.

Essam Issa Al Humaidan

It was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, as part of Penal Order Law No 1 of 2017 on March 2017, and extends to all Dubai police stations.

A pilot project of the One-Day Court was tried in 2015 and 2016 involving the Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs, Al Muraqqabat police station, and the Traffic Department.

During its first two years of operations, it heard 5,384 cases but in 2017 the number rose into 25,047 cases. The numbers dropped to 9,949 cases in 2018.

“All offences that were added to the list of charges that can be dealt with through the one-day court were thoroughly studied and filtered,” added Al Humaidan.

The initiative was later adopted by all emirates.

Number of defendants

The total number of defendants in the one-day-court was 10,965 last year, according to official data. “Dubai Public Prosecution is keen to work as per the latest global practices. Dubai Prosecution will not hesitate to update its procedures to speed up the cases in accordance with legal and administrative frames,” he said.

Types of cases handled by the General Directorate of Residency:

Illegal entry into the country

Returning after deportation

Staying in the country illegally

Working after a ban


At the police station:

Possession of alcoholic beverages

Consuming alcoholic beverages (until the end of 2020)

Issuing a cheque with malicious intent

Signing on the back side of the cheque (without sufficient funds)

Failure to pay due fees


Illegal vendors

Traffic prosecution cases:

Involvement in an accident that injured someone

Wrecking properties

Drinking and driving

Attempting to drive under the influence

Possessing alcoholic beverages illegally

Driving a car without a licence