Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, November 5, 2010

Domestic Violence Approved in the UAE

From the UK's Daily Mail:

Husbands are allowed to beat their wives and children - as long as they don’t leave any physical marks, an Islamic court in the United Arab Emirates has ruled.

The astonishing legal ruling gives all husbands and fathers in the ultra-rich Gulf state the 'right to discipline' female family members if they have first attempted reconciliation.

The judgment was made by one of the UAE’s most senior judges, Chief Justic Falah al Hajeri, who made the ruling in the case of a man fined £85 for slapping his wife and kicking his daughter.

The Emirati man in the case was found guilty of slapping his wife so hard he damaged her bottom lip and teeth.

He also slapped and kicked his 23-year-old daughter so that she suffered bruises on her hand and knee.

While the defendant, who has not been named, initially claimed he hit the two women only by accident, he was found guilty of assault.

However, he appealed, claiming that even if he had intended to strike his wife and daughter, under Shariah law he had the right to do so if he had first exhausted all other ways of resolving the dispute.

Chief Justice Falah al Hajeri said: 'Although the law permits the husband to use his right to discipline, he has to abide by the limits of this right. 

'If the husband abuses this right to discipline, he cannot be exempted from punishment.'

Mr al Hajeri went on to explain that one of the ways of determining whether a man had breached this limit was to look for physical traces of beating.

While the ruling was greeted with anger by many Arab world commentators, others claimed it is a ‘real-life compromise’ between the competing demands of the petro-state’s highly Westernised population and its conservative Muslim heritage.

Read the full article here.

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