Coronavirus: Dubai court hearings suspended

Cases will be halted as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus

Pedestrians walk past Dubai's courts building during a hearing on April 04, 2010 in the case of a British couple sentenced to a month in jail after being convicted of kissing in public in a restaurant in the Muslim Gulf emirate. The couple's lawyer said the appeals court upheld the one-month prison sentence against the two, named by the British press as Ayman Najafi, 24, a British expat, and tourist Charlotte Lewis, 25. The couple were arrested in November 2009, after they were accused of consuming alcohol and kissing in a restaurant in the trendy Jumeirah Beach Residence neighbourhood.     AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo by AFP)

Court hearings in Dubai are to be suspended as part of efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.

All judicial hearings in the Court of Cassation, the Court of Appeal and the Courts of First Instance held in public will be temporarily halted from Sunday, March 22 until Thursday, April 16.

Hearings at the criminal court will continue to be held but only for cases with detained defendants.

Court officials said some hearings - including those involving defendants who are remanded in custody - will continue to be considered by judges operating remotely.

The move is in line with emirate-wide efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Schools and universities have been closed for a month, many leisure facilities have temporarily shut their doors and some federal workers have been allowed to work from home.

*This story has been updated since publication.