New courts dedicated to family

Privacy is a priority for planned Personal Status Court complex in Dubai

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DUBAI // The Dubai Courts will dedicate a new complex in al Garhoud for dealing with family issues, reconciliation sessions, divorces, marriages and settlements.

The project was designed to ensure that family issues were resolved in the most confidential and private manner, said Dr Ahmed bin Hazim al Suwaidi, the Director General of Dubai Courts.

"We initiated this plan with special attention and care because we believe that personal status and family-related issues are very sensitive and private, and these issues ultimately affect our community," he said.

The Personal Status Courts complex is expected to be up and running in 2013 and will include 15 court chambers, a visitation centre and a large wedding chapel.

"The idea is to separate the different services provided so that people who are coming to get married do not mix with the people who are going to get divorced. The psychological comfort of the visitors is also being taken in to account with the design," said Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the director of the Personal Status Courts.

Child visitations between estranged spouses were usually held at a police station, but the complex would include a special section for them, said Hashim al Hashimi, the director of the public services department at the Dubai Courts.

"The children who are stuck in the middle of these kinds of disputes do not need to spend their early lives in police stations to see one of their parents. That is why we developed a fully equipped visitation centre to be at the new complex," Mr al Hashimi said.

In addition to the visitation centre, parents can access two nurseries.

"Our main goal in family-related issues and cases is to reach a reconciliation, therefore we have designed this complex to provide a relaxing and comforting environment for the public," Mr Abdel Rahman said.

Though the Personal Status Courts have averaged 1,450 legal cases per year, the number of people using court services has jumped from 120,000 in 2009 to 180,000 last year, he said. "Each marriage contract, for example, has to have a representative of the bride, groom, and three witnesses, so one matter that involves two people requires five people - you could only imagine the number [of customers] to increase in the next years," he said.

The new complex will be in Al Garhoud behind the RTA building on Ninth Street, past the intersection of Rabat and Marrakesh Roads.

"We registered the grounds in May 2009 and the designs were approved in the same period for the 40,000-square-foot structure," said Mr al Hashimi. "The separation of departments will include a special entrance for the family reconciliation unit, where people involved in such cases will not have to go through the public areas."