Turkish parliament and president passed a law allowing Muslim clerics to conduct civil marriages. The law allows ‘mufti’ marriages which was also published in the country’s official gazette. Previously, only state officers in branches of the family affairs directorate were able to conduct marriages. A requirement has also been added which prohibits individuals who have carried out ‘immoral acts’ before marriage from becoming Turkish citizens. Many people in Turkey, conduct religious ceremonies as well as civil marriages, and see it as a religious obligation. The law does not change the requirements for a legal civil marriage. It has been stated its aim is to make it more convenient for those who wish to have religious marriages.
This week the spotlight is on health and insurance developments in the United Arab Emirates, where the Ministry of Health and Prevention is promising new laws will be issued to stop the unauthorised sale of antibiotics, amidst growing fears that their overuse worldwide could create drug-resistant bacteria. As well as creating a new law, the ministry has stated it will work with local health authorities to more closely supervise and inspect pharmacies across the UAE. There is a particular concern about the estimated 2,400 private pharmacies which operate outside hospital networks, where unauthorised dispensing of prescription drugs is most prevalent. The ministry will also seek to make doctors more aware of the need to prescribe antibiotics only when they needed, and to make sure they give accurate doses and the correct strength.
Elsewhere, the Insurance Authority is preparing a new legal framework to regulate reinsurance activities. Experts in the field have stressed on the importance of intervention by the Authority as a means of setting the necessary standards for the sector. It has been said been said by some that there has been a lack of commitment from some companies to risk management and on the calculation of their percentages.
LexisNexis is pleased to announce that Al Sulaiti Law Firm has accepted to become its Strategic Partner in the state of Qatar.
The aim of this strategic partnership is to support and strengthen the regional and global efforts of promoting and advancing the rule of law as well as to drive a number of key initiatives on innovation, education and training for the legal ecosystem in Qatar.
Weekly Spotlight: ADGM announced that businesses registered with them will also be licenced to operate onshore in Abu Dhabi
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, where they have announced businesses who register to operate with them will also be licenced to operate onshore in Abu Dhabi. It follows an agreement between the Global Market and Abu Dhabi’s Economic Development Department. Under the agreement, entities established in the Global Market will be able to hold dual licences providing they satisfy and fulfil the requirements of each jurisdiction and operate according to their rules and regulations. Entities with dual licences will not have to be physically present in Abu Dhabi. However financial service firms will still be subject to the relevant regulatory obligations and applicable laws, including any licencing requirements which may be imposed by any Federal financial service regulators.
Elsewhere, the Market’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority has launched a consultation on its proposed Remote Membership Framework plus other miscellaneous amendments aimed at boosting its capital market regime. The consultation ends on 2 January 2018. If approved, brokers from outside the Global Market would be able to access the Market’s exchanges and clearing houses. This would expand international investor participation in the Market, facilitates cross-border flows and increase liquidity for the Market’s capital market.
The UAE’s Federal National Council has approved a draft law to regulate and care for mosques. Under the law, employees must be qualified to work in mosques and anyone who belongs to illegal groups or organisations, practices illegal political or organisational activities or preaches without a licence or approval will not be able to issue fatwas or teach the Holy Quran outside mosques. Anyone who violates the Law will be fined between 20,000 and 50,000 AED and/or jailed for up to three months. Anyone who begs at mosques or interferes with the Imam while they are calling worshippers to prayer or whilst they are preaching will be fined 5,000 AED and or jailed for up to three months.
The Economic and Financial Commission of Bahrain’s Shoura Council has approved amendments to the Kingdom’s Commercial Companies Law. The amendments to Bahrain Decree-Law No. 21/2001 are contained in Bahrain Decree No. 57/2017. The Commission has referred the amendments to the Council Office Authority to present to the Council at its next session. The aim of these amendments is to improve the Kingdom’s international business rating.
August 21st 2006, the United Arab Emirates signs the New York Convention without any reservation. It is the first step they take towards turning the UAE into the single most active country in the Middle East on Arbitration Law. The UAE counts three different arbitral regimes: the national regime based on UAE Federal Law, and two free zones with their own English-language common-law courts: the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The UAE is also home to eight different arbitration centres.
No surprise there; the UAE has for the past 30 years distinguished itself as an active actor in the global marketplace and is now building up a reputation as a preferred seat for international arbitration equalling, in the Arab world, legal centres of excellence such as London, Paris and New York.
That said, for the UAE the challenge is even greater, the arbitration system and legislation in place have a number of differences with other countries around the world. For example, in the UAE arbitrators are criminally liable while in Europe arbitrators are only civilly liable.
Join Dr Hassan Arab, Laila El Shentenawi, John Gaffney and Thomas Snider from Al Tamimi in four tailor-made courses on everything you need to know with regard to today’s Arbitration trends and practices in the UAE.
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Weekly Spotlight: Bahrain stipulates the requirements for lawyers regarding anti-money laundering and terrorist financing
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Bahrain, where the Kingdom’s Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister, Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa has issued an Edict stipulating the requirements for lawyers and foreign legal firms regarding anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. The Edict has been issued in line with the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) criteria on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing as well as UN conventions, agreements and UN Security Council Resolutions.
Under Bahrain Edict No. 64/2017, lawyers’ offices, foreign legal offices and firms have to comply with Bahrain Law No. 4/2001 regarding the prohibition and combating of money laundering and terrorist financing to ensure their operations are not used for money laundering or terrorist financing. It makes it mandatory to notify the follow-up and monitoring unit at the Interior Ministry’s Financial Investigation Directorate about any suspicious or abnormal activities, when conducting transactions on behalf of their customers. This includes real estate transactions, fund and asset management and all types of banking. Lawyers’ offices, foreign legal offices and firms have to verify the information provided by their customers as well as clients who demand legal opinions regarding the powers of attorney and write down details in special records accredited by the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry and inform the follow-up unit about any suspicious information.
The Edict defines ‘suspicious’ and ‘abnormal activities’ as ‘operations which are suspected to be linked, directly or indirectly, to the crimes involving money-laundering and terror funding’. Licensed lawyers and foreign firms have to open accounts for professional purposes in a bank accredited by the Central Bank and all payments or funds collected from or on behalf of customers have to be deposited in the bank. Lawyers and foreign firms also have to set up special e-records to register all lawyers’ activities and legal opinions provided to customers. These records have to include the customer’s name and data, the subject of the power of attorney or legal opinion, date of the service provided to customers, the amount of money paid to the firm, the financial transaction serial number, name of the bank and date of the transfer.
Elsewhere, the Chairman of the Kingdom’s Economic and Financial Affairs Committee, Jalal Kathem has announced tobacco and fizzy and energy drinks have been listed on the VAT list. These commodities will be subject to 5% VAT because they are not considered basic commodities. This will see the cost of tobacco packets increase by roughly 60% while energy drinks will increase by 100%.
With immediate effect, the UAE’s General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs has tightened the requirements for employment sponsorship transfer between companies located in the same free trade zone. As a result, all foreign nationals must now undergo a medical examination and obtain a new Emirates ID card. They will be issued a new employment residency permit with a validity of up to three years whereas previously, the visa was issued for the remainder of the initial visa’s validity. Transferee’s dependent’s residency permits are unaffected by this change.
Qatar’s Emir has issued a Decree-Law amending the country’s 2005 Investment Free Zones Law. Qatar Decree-Law No. 21/2017 amends Qatar Law No. 34/2005. It will come into effect on its issued date and will be published in the Official Gazette.