Fast-track court will hear cases in one day

A court in Deira Al Muraqabat police station aims to take the strain off a justice system currently buckling under the weight of almost 50,000 criminal cases a year.

DUBAI // Fast-track justice is coming to Dubai with a new court that aims to deal with minor crimes in a single day.

The court in Deira Al Muraqabat police station will hear its first cases next week. It will sit four times a week and expects to handle up to 1,000 cases a month, taking the strain off a justice system currently buckling under the weight of almost 50,000 criminal cases a year.

"This will simplify the judicial process for members of the public and speed it up," said Dr Ahmed bin Hazim, Dubai Courts Director General.

The Dubai Criminal Courts Chief Justice, Ahmed Saif, said the new court would handle cases of petty crime such as bad cheques, illegal alcohol consumption, consensual sex and verbal and physical assault.

"The whole process may be completed in a day," he said. "All the required entities are present at the police station, from the crime registration to the public prosecutor to the judge and even to the penalty execution section."

The number of trials at the Dubai Courts has increased by 60 per cent since 2008. Criminal cases alone increased by 41 per cent between 2008 and 2010, from 32,702 to 46,160.

Cases have therefore taken longer to be heard: the average delay after charges were filed grew from 14 days in 2008 to 23 days in 2010.

Judicial officers and lawyers welcomed the new court as a way to deliver speedy justice.

“The main issue with litigation is the time taken for investigations and court dates,” said Eisa bin Haider of Bin Haider Advocates and Legal Consultants. “If the system is organised, it will save people a lot of time and reduce the waiting period for people held in jail awaiting court dates in lesser crimes.

“The main problem we face are the court dates, and such a court will save people time and reflect the speed that Dubai develops at. This would make it the quickest court system in the country.”

The new court was inaugurated yesterday by Essam al Humaidan, the Dubai Attorney General, Dr bin Hazim and the Muraqabat Police Station Chief, Col Abdel Rahman Obeidallah.

It will handle crimes registered in Deira, and each sitting is expected to deal with up to 60 cases. All cases will be prosecuted by the Deira Public Prosecutors’ office, led by Chief Prosecutor Yousif Foulaz.

Two judges will handle four morning sessions every week. “Judge Mohammed Saad of the misdemeanour court will preside on Sundays and Wednesdays, while Judge Ashraf Mamlook will preside on Mondays and Thursdays,” Chief Justice Saif said.

“The litigation process in a fast-growing and multicultural city like Dubai has to be accurate for justice to be delivered.

“Such an endeavour as this reflects on the development of the judicial process and its speed in parallel with the growth of the city,” Mr al Humaidan said.