UAE legal Q&As: Can I legally hire a private investigator in the UAE?

One reader asks about private investigators while another has a brother who has been arrested in the UAE for possessing marijuana and he wants to know what sort of punishment should be expected.

qDoes the law allow for me to hire a private investigator to follow somebody?

aAppointing a private investigator is illegal in the UAE. Even if you bring them from outside the country, it is against Article No 378 of UAE Criminal Law, which says that a prison sentence will be inflicted on any person who attacks the sanctity of an individual’s private or family life by committing any of the following acts without their consent, except in legally permitted cases: a) Eavesdropping or recording or transmitting by any system any conversation held at a particular place or via the phone. b) Picking up or transmitting by any system a person’s picture. However, if you believe that someone has committed a crime, the law gives you an alternative option - you have the right to request that police investigate and collect evidence for you, as per Article No 30 of the UAE Criminal Procedures Law No 35 of 1992.

My brother is a foreigner who has been arrested in the UAE for carrying a significant amount of marijuana into the country. What should I anticipate as punishment for his offence?

Marijuana possession is illegal under UAE Law No 14 of 1995 and its amendments. The Anti-Narcotic Psychotropic Substances Law states that it should not be “brought, imported, exported, made, extracted, separated, produced, possessed or taken, and all other activities and connections thereof may not be performed”. If, as you say, the amount of the drug is significant, it can be surmised that it is not for personal use but for selling, and this means that the punishment is greater. Article No 46 of the Anti-Narcotic Psychotropic Substances Law says that “the penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than 10 years and not more than 15 years and a fine of not less than Dh20,000 shall be imposed on any person who has managed, prepared or set up a place for the abuse of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances”. On top of this, it is very likely that his sentence will include deportation as well.

Hassan Mohsen Elhais is a legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

If you have a question for Mr Elhais, email with the subject line Know the Law.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

Published: March 25, 2017 04:00 AM


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