Bahrain’s Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a decision to dismiss a civil servant who had been referred to the criminal court with a charge of receiving a bribe. The civil servant was acquitted of the charge, however, a disciplinary decision was still taken against him. The Supreme Court has said that the decision to acquit the employee in the criminal case did not prevent him from being subject to disciplinary measures and did not lift the suspicion completely. The Supreme Court added disciplinary measures were independent of other cases because each of them had its own legal system. The employee requested the Supreme Court to cancel the decision to dismiss him. He was dismissed because he had requested money from one of the service providers he was working with on some projects for a government ministry.
Bahrain’s King has approved amendments to the country’s Commercial Companies Law. Under Bahrain Law No. 6/2020, Article 284(A) of Bahrain Decree-Law No. 21/2001 will be amended to read as follows ‘Each partner shall have the right to attend the meetings of the general assembly either in person or by his proxy, provided that the proxy shall not be from among the members of the control board, the company’s manager or among the company’s employees. The special proxy shall be in writing and prepared by the company for this purpose. Each partner shall have a number of votes equal to the shares he owns in the company’. The Prime Minister and the Ministers will implement the law. It will come into force the day after it is published in the Official Gazette.
Bahrain’s Cabinet has approved an amendment to the GCC National Real Estate Ownership Law. Bahrain Decree-Law No. 40/1999 regulates the buying and selling of real estate and land in the Kingdom. Under the amendment, GCC owners may dispose of their property through a will or inheritance, providing it has been approved by the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister and in the regions specified by the High Urban Planning Committee. It has now been referred to the Council of Representatives to consider.
The Central Bank of Bahrain has issued a circular to banks and finance companies directing them not to calculate any interest on the postponement of loans for six months starting from March to August 2020. The circular said original loan repayments should be stopped for six months and that no additional interest or fees should be imposed on customers. In addition, interest rates and repayment amounts should remain the same throughout the credit term and as they were before the postponement.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council has referred the amended Bankruptcy Law (Bahrain Law No. 22/2018) to the country’s Cabinet to consider further. Under the amendments, owed amounts could be collected from representatives in Bahrain rather than in the country where the entity is based. In addition, owed amounts could be claimed from inheritors or guardian if the bankrupt party retires or dies. The 2018 Law was rushed through in 15 days as the authorities wanted bankruptcy legislation on the statute book.
Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority have announced labour complaints can now be filed at two new offices. They will be based at the Labour Claims Departments at the Expatriate Protection Centre in Sehla and the Labour Market Regulatory Authority branch in Riffa will register all labour-related disputes, including non-payment of wages. However, the offices will not deal with existing cases. They will be open five days a week from 8am to 4pm. The complainant will be given a case number and a court hearing date as soon as the grievance is recorded. The aim is to speed up the registration of labour disputes.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council has approved a draft law to amend Article 284(A) of Bahrain Decree-Law No. 21/2001 (the Commercial Companies Law). It covers an agent’s attendance at general assembly meetings of joint-stock companies and will allow representatives to attend on behalf of shareholders or partners if they have written authorisation. The Chairman of the Council’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee said the amendment will give powers of attorney to representatives while they attend the assembly. The move is aimed at improving transparency and help avoid conflicts of interest.
Bahrain’s Parliament is considering a draft maritime law, which if approved, will increase penalties for various offences. At 392 articles it is the second longest law to be considered in the Kingdom’s legislative history. Parliament will debate and vote on the draft law within three months.
Among other things, the law states fines of between 1,000 and 10,000 Dinars or jail terms of up too six months will be imposed on those who operate without a license, handle cargo without authorisation or fall short of the safety standards. Ship owners, managers, captains or agents who evade fees or taxes or cheat officials will be jailed for up to six months and/or fined 10,000 Dinars. Vessel owners or operators who cause pollution will be fined between 5,000 and 50,000 Dinars and the ship will be temporarily seized. If they commit the same offence again, the fine will be doubled.
Those who dump oil and chemicals at sea will be jailed for up to five years in jail and fined between 15,000 and 150,000 Dinars. If they commit the same offence again, the fine will be doubled. Captains who don’t report pollution their ships cause will be fined between 1,000 and 3,000 Dinars and captains whose ships carry unauthorised nuclear waste will be fined between 50,000 and 100,000 Dinars.
Bahraini MPs have rejected proposed amendments to the Commercial Registration Law. The amendments were going to allow the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry rather than applicants to follow up on approvals related to commercial registrations. They were also going to double penalties on individuals if they committed the same violation of their commercial registration terms twice rather than having it doubled for a second offence, even if unrelated.
The Head of Bahrain’s Execution Court has announced it is going to expedite procedures in the Court. The Courts have been split to hear different cases and enable them to provide more effective e-services. The number of Execution Court judges have also been increased from six to eight. The changes have been introduced together with the Supreme Judicial Council and the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry. Private firms will also be able to act as legal notaries if they are licensed.